Thursday, May 17, 2007

The News in Reviews / Old Puzzler Answer / New Fortnightly Puzzler

A Filler for Fillers?

I just recently learned the Thumbs Up game. Originating in Japan, it's something akin to Rock-Paper-Scissors. Both use simultaneous revelation as the main driving force, but there's something else going on in the Thumbs Up game that I think gamers will enjoy.

Two to three people form a circle (you could add more but it gets a little out of control), and one is elected leader. Like in many Euros, the leader will switch in clockwise fashion.

All players stick out two closed fists in front of them. The goal is to get both hands behind your back during the course of the game.

On a count of "one, two, three," all players, including the leader, stick up two, one, or zero thumbs. The leader, instead of saying "three" will instead guess out loud how many total thumbs will be showing. If the leader is correct, he or she puts one hand behind his or her back. If incorrect, the role of leader goes to the next person clockwise.

One more important rule: if the leader guesses zero and is correct, the leader wins outright.

I've really enjoyed the Thumbs Up game. It usually takes less than a minute to play, and by the end, we're usually chuckling and congratulating the winner. I've tried four players, and that seemed like more than the game could handle. Two and three player games are fun, fast, and harmless. Could this be a filler between fillers?

All players choose between the same three options, so as leader, you're trying to figure out who is more likely to go for all, none, or half of their thumbs. Usually this depends on what moves the other players did last. What kind of player would change? What kind of player will stay the same? You'll never really know when you make your guess, but it's still fun to try.

Usually, simultaneous revelation is so hit-or-miss for me. The choose-your-island mechanic of Pirate's Cove is tiresome, yet the Castillo scoring in El Grande is really exciting. There's got to be some leverage or enough relevant information for the mechanic to work well.

Though simple, I think the Thumbs Up game does a good job with simultaneous revelation. Because you know your own input, it's not quite as random as Rock-Paper-Scissors, but every game is still "anybody's game." While still a fan of a quick "best of five" game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, I think the Thumbs Up game makes for a nice change.


Old Puzzler Q & A

Q: I'm thinking of a game. Drop every double letter (touching or not) from the game's title. You're left with the following letters R, O, and E (in that order). What's the game?


I made a reference to a line of asterisks which equaled the number of letters in the game's name (11). I separated the two in case anyone wanted to try and solve the puzzler without the aid of knowing how many letters.


New Fortnightly Puzzler

Imagine my name SMATT was a cryptogram for the name of a game. Standard rules apply: each letter in my name equals another in the English alphabet.

I can name three different solutions. Can you name more?*

*I appreciate all responses, but please do not post your answers on the blog. If you'd like to respond, please feel free to email Thanks!

1 comment:

Ozvortex said...

Thanks for the info on the 'Thumbs Up' game. I'll have to give it a go. Sounds like it has elements of Spoof