|A game of dexterous strategy for any number of players.|
|Icehouse stashes:||one stack (or one stack per player for the turnless variation)|
|Other equipment:||A smooth surface; one Treehouse tube (or one tube per player for the turnless variation)|
|Setup time:||1 minute|
|Playing time:||5–30 minutes|
|Created in July, 2007|
It’s the mid-1960s, and the Space Race is heating up. You are the launch commander of a mission to land on the Moon and, eventually, to colonize it. But your opponents want to plant their flags there first and claim the high ground as their own!
After determining order of play by whatever means, players take turns1 trying to “launch” a small pyramid into a Treehouse tube that is resting on its side. Each successful “landing” earns points for the launching player. The game ends when a player establishes a “colony” or “cracks” the Moon, intentionally or not.2
Make a tree stack and set it upright on a smooth surface. This stack represents the current player’s two-stage “booster rocket” (large and medium) and “capsule” (small).
Set a tube on its side on the surface, with its open top facing the tree, no closer to the tree than the length of the tube. A player may place the tube further away, if desired, but never closer.3
Using the tip of a finger, gently knock over the tree so that it separates and sends the small—and maybe the medium and possibly the large—sliding and skittering across the surface.
If any part of the small4 enters the tube, that player has Landed on the Moon:
- If the small is flat and still points away from the original site of the tree (even if only by a half a degree) then it is a Crash Landing and is worth 1 point, for the limited scientific gains made before the crew dies from oxygen depletion.
- If the small is flat but now points back towards the original site of the tree (even if only by a half a degree) then it is a Controlled Landing and is worth 2 points, because the crew not only completes scientific objectives but also returns safely to Earth.
- If the small is now upright then it is a Perfect Landing and is worth 3 points, because the crew not only completes scientific objectives and returns safely to Earth but also demonstrates the superiority of its piloting and technology in the world press.
(Note: If there is any doubt about whether the small points away from or towards the original site of the tree, it is considered a Crash Landing and is worth 1 point. Usually, however, players can settle disputes by using a tube top placed on the upper side of the tube as a right-angle gauge.)
If any part of the small enters the tube and any part of the medium5 enters the tube, that player scores point(s) based on the orientation of the small and that player has Colonized the Moon.
(Note: If the medium enters the tube alone, that player has not Colonized the Moon: he or she left the crew in space!)
If any part of the large enters the tube—regardless of any other pyramids entering the tube—that player has Cracked the Moon, destabilizing its orbit and sending it winging off into deep space.
(Note: If a small or medium also enters the tube with the large, that player receives no point(s) nor can Colonize: the Moon is leaving the warmth of Sol behind, and anyone along for the ride is doomed.)
When a player Colonizes the Moon, the player with the most points is the winner, which may or may not be the player that established the Colony! If two or more players are tied with the most points after the Moon is Colonized then the winner is determined as follows:
- If one of those players Colonized the Moon then that player is the winner.
- If none of those players Colonized the Moon then the one among them who most recently Landed is the winner.
If a player Cracks the Moon, the player with the least points at that moment is the winner, which may or may not be the player that Cracked the Moon. If two or more players are tied for the least points when the Moon is Cracked then the winner is determined as follows:
- If one of those players Cracked the Moon then that player is the winner.
- If none of those players Cracked the Moon then the one among them that least recently Landed is the winner.
Players should decide in advance whether any of these game variations are in effect:
- Players that have enough tubes for everyone may elect to play without turns, the better to simulate the original Space Race. In this turnless variation, players may attempt Landings as often as they wish, but another player or an impartial judge must confirm a Landing for it to score. As with the turn-based game, the first Colony ends the game, and the player with the most points at that moment is the winner (or the player that is the first to reach the determined score, if playing the variation below).
- For a quicker game, players may elect to play to an agreed-upon number of points to win (usually around 10 points); Colonizing or Cracking the Moon is irrelevant. This variation, however, eliminates the give and take of playing to Colonize while one has the points lead, then playing to Land (or to Crack!) when one does not: one need only Land repeatedly and consistently to win the game.
- For a really quick game, players may elect to allow the tube to be placed as close or as far away as they want. This variation makes it trivial to get 1-point Landings and even makes it simple to establish a Colony. Basically, this variation can ruin the game… or save it, for folks having a lot of difficulty with control.
- For a longer game, players may require that the entire small be in the tube to count as a Landing.
- For an epic-length game, players may require that the entire small and the entire medium be in the tube to count as a Colony. Good for playing solitaire or for long, rainy days.
This work is distributed by David Carle Artman under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.
|Entered in the Icehouse Game Design Competition, Summer 2007|
|Winner: Pylon 2nd: Subdivision 3rd: Zamboni Wars 4th: Geomancy|
|5th: Penguin Soccer 6th: Moon Shot 7th: Martian Coaster Chaturanga 8th: Trip Away|