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Game involving dropping objects into a container

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ACG
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Hi! I just thought of an idea -- and it seems so obvious someone must have tried it before.

You have a tall, thin, narrow box (maybe 10 inches by 1 inch by 1 inch). The box is empty at the top. There's a line across the middle of the box, 5 inches up. There's a line 1 inch from the top as well.

Finally, there is a pile of pentiminos (maybe 5 or 6 of each type).

The goal is simple. Choose a pentomino (maybe the opponent can choose it, like in Quarto) and drop it into the container. And that's it. The pile of pentominos climbs higher and higher. As soon as a player drops a piece which juts above the 5-inch line, he loses.

This has several things going for it.

1. Manual dexterity. If you don't release the piece the right way, it may spin and not land where you want it.

2. Strategy. Where do you want to put it? If you give opponents a piece, what do you give him?

3. It's the type of game which cleans up after itself, just like backgammon.

What do you think?

ACG

Hambone
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game involving dropping objects into a container

I like it. I would imagine you would want some funky pieces to make the game more enjoyable. You don't want a game where you can determine the winner by who goes first.

ACG
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game involving dropping objects into a container

I was considering randomly choosing a pentomino, but I figured there would be less strategy.

I figured it would be important that all pieces have the same volume. That would make no one piece intrinsically more difficult than any other piece.

I'm open to ideas, though.

ACG

paolo
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Joined: 08/01/2008
Game involving dropping objects into a container

I would try it not with pentominos, but with objects of various shapes and sizes (I'm thinking about Bausack things), dropped into a 1' radius transparent tube. Could it work?

ACG
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game involving dropping objects into a container

If they're of different sizes, you'd have to randomize which piece is chosen. Once the pile gets high, no one will want to choose the pieces which will be too big at that point. Different shapes would be cool though -- that's why I'm thinking pentominos. But stars and other shapes would be fine -- if they all have the same volume.

I wonder what would happen if the pieces were kind of squishy. You wouldn't be able to shake the box that much, but dropping one pieces on the other *could* compress the pile.

ACG

Morast
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game involving dropping objects into a container

no doubt an excellent idea...

Check out "Batik", published by Gigamic

ACG
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game involving dropping objects into a container

Drat -- you're right.

However, this is a 3-D version of it. I'm almost tempted to suggest it to them...

ACG

OutsideLime
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game involving dropping objects into a container

This seems to be a nice tight idea for a game.

You could whip up a prototype fairly quickly with a jigsaw and test it out.

I like it.. I imagine it brightly coloured - basic colours... probably aimed at a children's market. Perhaps the piece-choosing mechanic could be thickened a bit by using a colour die...

Red - choose a red piece for yourself
Blue - choose a blue piece for yourself
Yellow - choose a yellow piece for yourself
Green - choose a green piece for yourself
White - Opponent chooses any piece for you
Black - You choose any piece for yourself

... something like this could make sure that the stockpile of pieces remains nicely varied all the way to the end of the game.

Also I envision the "box" as a cylinder for some reason.

You mentioned a line 1" from the top... what's it for? A starting line?

Cute idea. Could work in a childrens'/educational market.

~Josh

TheReluctantGeneral
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game involving dropping objects into a container

Apologies in advance for my usual propensity to over-complify stuff, but...

...the thing I fail to understand about the game suggested here and batik too, is how the opening and middle portions of games like this are interesting. Surely the game only becomes tense as the watermark is approached? Perhaps I'm missing something about the rules though.

If I'm not under-informed abotu the rules though, then I guess that's an area which you could work on to add new value to the idea.

For example, you could have special pieces such that if two pieces which are forbidden from touching each other (say, same colour) do so before the watermark is reached, the last player to drop looses.

ACG
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game involving dropping objects into a container

Quote:
You mentioned a line 1" from the top... what's it for? A starting line?

No portion of the piece being dropped may extend below the line before it is released. I don't want people to just stick their hands in there -- too easy. The limit line is going to be halfway up the box, so there's room to pack all the pieces in for cleaning up yet there's space for a piece to fall.

Quote:
Also I envision the "box" as a cylinder for some reason.

I was debating a cylinder, but in that case there's too much symmetry -- there aren't any little corners and nooks you can sneak pieces into. If there were a cheap way to do it, I'd have wanted some kind of bizarre-looking container!

Quote:
...the thing I fail to understand about the game suggested here and batik too, is how the opening and middle portions of games like this are interesting. Surely the game only becomes tense as the watermark is approached?

That's a very good point. However, here's the way I see it. The more pieces you put in, the more points you get if you're the last person to successfully drop a piece. In the basic game, there are 96 cubic units of pieces in total. If you get all the pieces but one in before you overflow, the last player to play a piece gets (say) 100 extra points. All the pieces but two gives you 25. All the pieces plus three gives you 10. The number of points you get by "winning" a round depends on the number of pieces put in there. You get 1000 or some astronomical sum if you manage to get all of them in (in the basic game there are between 96-100 units below the limit line). The point is: if you want to get lots of pieces in to get the bonus, you'll have to close-pack the middle as well. That will keep the midgame interesting.

This will require a rules change: randomized play. The players roll a die to see who goes next. It also allows the players to score points along the way somehow -- so no one will be shut out. But randomized play can make things strategic as well. Suppose you have a choice of playing a piece in a place where you can guarantee no more pieces can be played. You get (say) a 25 point bonus that way. However, consider the following: if you're behind, you may want to play it in a place which leaves room for another piece and hope the randomized play lets you go again to place the final piece and get 100 points instead of 25!

A switch to a points system allows for other ways to score which will keep the midgame interesting (if you don't touch any pieces of that piece's color in a multicolored set you get a bonus, stuff like that)

Other features:

There's a solitaire version as well -- how many pieces can you put in? And the fact that it cleans up after itself is also kind of cool.

I'd say this has a lot going for it.

ACG

ACG
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game involving dropping objects into a container

Quote:
You mentioned a line 1" from the top... what's it for? A starting line?

No portion of the piece being dropped may extend below the line before it is released. I don't want people to just stick their hands in there -- too easy. The limit line is going to be halfway up the box, so there's room to pack all the pieces in for cleaning up yet there's space for a piece to fall.

Quote:
Also I envision the "box" as a cylinder for some reason.

I was debating a cylinder, but in that case there's too much symmetry -- there aren't any little corners and nooks you can sneak pieces into. If there were a cheap way to do it, I'd have wanted some kind of bizarre-looking container!

Quote:
...the thing I fail to understand about the game suggested here and batik too, is how the opening and middle portions of games like this are interesting. Surely the game only becomes tense as the watermark is approached?

That's a very good point. However, here's the way I see it. The more pieces you put in, the more points you get if you're the last person to successfully drop a piece. In the basic game, there are 96 cubic units of pieces in total. If you get all the pieces but one in before you overflow, the last player to play a piece gets (say) 100 extra points. All the pieces but two gives you 25. All the pieces plus three gives you 10. The number of points you get by "winning" a round depends on the number of pieces put in there. You get 1000 or some astronomical sum if you manage to get all of them in (in the basic game there are between 96-100 units below the limit line). The point is: if you want to get lots of pieces in to get the bonus, you'll have to close-pack the middle as well. That will keep the midgame interesting.

This will require a rules change: randomized play. The players roll a die to see who goes next. It also allows the players to score points along the way somehow -- so no one will be shut out. But randomized play can make things strategic as well. Suppose you have a choice of playing a piece in a place where you can guarantee no more pieces can be played. You get (say) a 25 point bonus that way. However, consider the following: if you're behind, you may want to play it in a place which leaves room for another piece and hope the randomized play lets you go again to place the final piece and get 100 points instead of 25!

A switch to a points system allows for other ways to score which will keep the midgame interesting (if you don't touch any pieces of that piece's color in a multicolored set you get a bonus, stuff like that)

Other features:

There's a solitaire version as well -- how many pieces can you put in? And the fact that it cleans up after itself is also kind of cool.

I'd say this has a lot going for it.

ACG

TheReluctantGeneral
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game involving dropping objects into a container

ACG wrote:
Quote:
You mentioned a line 1" from the top... what's it for? A starting line?

This will require a rules change: randomized play. The players roll a die to see who goes next. It also allows the players to score points along the way somehow -- so no one will be shut out. But randomized play can make things strategic as well. Suppose you have a choice of playing a piece in a place where you can guarantee no more pieces can be played. You get (say) a 25 point bonus that way. However, consider the following: if you're behind, you may want to play it in a place which leaves room for another piece and hope the randomized play lets you go again to place the final piece and get 100 points instead of 25!

That seems to detract from the elegant simplicity of the original concept: specifically, introducing the need to roll dice and requiring that multiple rounds be played in order to generate some strategy. It seems to me that you might need quite alot of rounds for this scoring system to work well as a strategic mechanism.

For what its worth, I think you'd be better off with a scheme that allows each single round to be interesting and complete in its own right.

On the randomisation requirement, could you not build this into the game somehow, for example by having each player assigned a colour, and then players picking from a bin, lucky-dip style, with the colour of the withdrawn piece determining who plays it? I know you wanted to have players select exactly the piece they want, but perhaps each bin contains pieces of the same type but different colours (how many different pieces are there?), or a mix of piece shapes such that one piece shape is predominant. This mechanism is probably not what you are looking for, I'm just using to illustrate what I mean by building the randomization into the game.

But overall, I think it's a great concept!!

ACG
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game involving dropping objects into a container

What about the following?

There are multiple lines on the box. As soon as the pile passes a line, the previous player gets one point. That way, the middle of the game will still have some excitement in it, and no one will be shut out during a round.

Perhaps instead of one point, the score will be the number of pieces placed since the last time a line was crossed. That will encourage close packing even further.

Pieces will be drawn out of a bag at random -- especially if there's a way to prevent "brailling" -- feeling for a piece you want. This can be prevented, however, by having little chips with a picture of each piece on it and drawing a chip.

ACG

TheReluctantGeneral
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game involving dropping objects into a container

I reckon that last suggestion could work well. Good luck with further development!

Krakit
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Joined: 11/26/2011
Game involving dropping objects into a container

I suggest that each player be given a duplicate assortment of peices (with only the color being different).

Ala Blokus and Gemblo.

Carl

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