Monday, 23 February 2015


If you've been reading long enough you might well remember the old growing a tabletop posts. That's a thinking I've taken in other directions since, but this is a closely related idea, if a bit more general.

It's an underlying rock-paper-scissors system for this brave new world of rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock. I've been thinking about statless rules, the tile-based tabletop game Hive and 40K's Tyranids.

How it works

Two people play rock-paper-scissors as normal, but if either player loses three rounds in a row, that player gets to invent one new sign and create two new relationships involving it, choosing specifically:

  • which of the two signs used in the last round beats the new sign;
  • which of the two signs used in the last round is beaten by the new sign.

Each of the signs used in the last round must be involved in one new relationship, and the player must provide a basis for each relationship, if not obvious. Play then continues.

The second time this happens, and each subsequent time, the winner of the three can then opt to permanently remove one existing sign, one of the two used in the last round.

It's like evolving a new world of symbols, with the challenge of keeping up.

The principle could also be applied to other games. In a wargame for example, three consecutive losses could allow the losing player to modify a single unit type, for example by switching one point of stat or one skill, or an equivalent, for one other. Three successive wins could allow the winner to do the same to a losing unit. Units are being retrained, or tech rejigged, or changes made to composition, possibly as a direct result of the destruction. It's a simple campaign system, a bit like the campaign-like-feel proposal for playing 40K.


SinSynn said...

So my list looks like:


I am not spamming rock.

There's so many people out there who've lived with the old 'Roll a D6' method of solving game issues who would likely suffer from 'Head 'Splosion Syndrome' over stuffs like this.

Porky said...

If rock's that broken, it might need breaking, especially in a paperless system.

After the three tablings, when it's time for a supplement, maybe the game's ready for 'drill' (hand closed as rock, bar extended middle finger) or more subtly - for all the rock being meteor(it)ic or volcanic activity leading to a more aeolian meta - 'wind' (hand open as paper, waggling fingers).

Or, if the celestial bodies are bringing water, or more weirdly the world is getting blood from stone - for an aquatic, marine or iron-hungry sanguinary expansion - maybe 'water' or 'sea' (hand open as paper, undulating) or 'haemoglobin' (fingers pressed against palm).

After that, you could progress an age or two and have 'hive fleet' (hand forming claw) to drain it, but with rock then reasserting itself by representing a barren world.

All to play for.

Oakenhawk said...

Our Highlander league uses a mechanic like this in some respect. The winner of each "season" is required to drop a unit as decided by the seething losers beneath him.

So if I cleaned house with Pask and an Executioner bro, I could be required to re-build my list to not include them.


Porky said...

That's elegantly simple, not least for how it challenges a winner to up the game by adapting to a new composition.

The only proviso might be the need for a pool of toys to draw from, but these days with allies being common again - if we're talking 40K - it's easier.

Plus the larger the group, the more of any given faction that might be present for temporary requisitioning, while the fates realign.

Nurglitch said...

Something I'd been thinking about recently was building in a history. So instead of expanding with more options, or hand-signs, instead having the value of the options depend on their history of use. So, for example, being beaten by another hand-sign would increase their value, and beating some other hand-sign would reduce their value.

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