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Daily puzzle number nine

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johnhattan

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Daily puzzle number nine is nearing readiness. And since there's enough to show off, I'll go ahead and post it.

Countdown Dice

Like Zombie Kitten Attack, this is a bit experimental. Zombie Kitten Attack was an attempt to see if I could make a turn-based puzzle game that gave the impression of being a real-time arcade game.

This one is an attempt to do two things. First, make a solitaire version of one of my all-time favorite dice games, Can't Stop. Also, it's an attempt to see if I can make something that plays the same as something existing, but looks and feels little like it.

I got the idea from a book on game design quite some time ago. They were showing off a simple paper-n-pencil game called "trellis" that was played on a little stick-picture that looked like a rose-trellis. Each player would take turns circling a node where sticks met. If you circled an entire stick, you won.

The thing was, the game was Tic Tac Toe. The play and strategy were exactly the same, but it looked and felt nothing like it. And that always stuck with me -- with a little work, you can make one mechanism look like something entirely new without changing the underlying rules.

Another example would be an old game of mine called Winding Standoff. While it looks like a traditional board-game, a well-kept secret is that this is nothing but a game of nim. The individual stacks of chips are represented by the number of spaces between alternating pieces. Two spaces in winding standoff are equivalent to two chips in a stack.

Unfortunately, this doesn't make a dull game into a good game. And nim, like tic tac toe, is a fairly dull game. And if you completely disguise a game's actual underpinnings (like Winding Standoff does quite well), it doesn't make the game any more interesting. And Winding Standoff is admittedly near the bottom of my list of favorite games I've written.

But. . .Can't Stop is a great game, so hopefully the solitaire-ized version will be good too.

I'll try to post rules ASAP. And then I'll also need to make a playback applet, and build high scores for it. And add trophy bitmaps.

So it's still a few days from live, but it's awfully cute, so give it a look.
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