Here we have a robot with a very pointy face. His name is Kaxxt, he lives in outer space. -- Why The Lucky Stiff
_why's concept of a card game to subtly introduce kids to some
basics of programming, including branching, recursion and stack overflows.
He introduced the concept at the end of
his talk at the ART && CODE Symposium.
I've adapted Kaxxt so it can be played using the Icehouse game pieces. They're a good fit, since Kaxxt is about lasers, and involves manipulating tokens to direct the lasers.
Kaxxt on Ice is now open for playtesting.
You will need one Treehouse set of the standard color scheme: 3 pyramids each of red, blue, green, yellow, and black. And a bag they can be drawn out of.
Of course, you'll need a Kaxxt card. Also, it's convenient to have a shield card for each player, and for Kaxxt, to allow easily tracking how many points are left on each shield. Here is a page that contains all the cards for easy printing.
And you'll need one die. If you wanted to get fancy you could color the spots to match the laser beams... nah.
Kaxxt can be played by 2 to 4 players. More players make for a harder game.
Place Kaxxt in the middle of the table. He will spin around to target players and shoot laser beams to attack them.
Each player starts with 30 shield points. Kaxxt also starts with 30 shield points. When your shield reaches 0, you're out. To win, either destroy Kaxxt, or be the last player standing.
Start by choosing who Kaxxt will attack first (oldest player is a good choice), and turn Kaxxt to target that player. It's now that player's turn.
On your turn, you can draw an pyramid at random from a bag. (You're allowed to feel them to pick a size you want! Probably the biggest you can find..) You can then play that pyramid in front of you to try to block Kaxxt's attack. You can also rearrange any other pyramids you have.
- Kaxxt fires a red laser.
- Kaxxt fires a blue laser.
- Kaxxt fires a green laser.
- Kaxxt fires a yellow laser.
- Turn Kaxxt to retarget a different player, and re-roll to attack them!
- Kaxxt directly attacks.
If a laser beam hits you, it does 3 points of damage. Laser beams can be blocked by pyramids. Kaxxt's direct attack cannot be blocked, and does 3 points of damage. And once the supply of pyramids runs out, Kaxxt's attacks do 6 points of damage.
After Kaxxt attacks, he turns clockwise to target the next player, and play passes to them.
When Kaxxt fires a laser at a you, pyramids you've placed directly in between him and you can redirect the beam, so it doesn't hit you. When a laser beam is not completly redirected by the pyramids, it hits you and damages your shield by the number of points of power remaining in the beam.
Red, blue, green, and yellow pyramids redirect laser beams of matching colors. When a laser beam hits a pyramid, from any direction, it is redirected to come out the point of the pyramid.
The size of pyramid (and the number of dots on a side) correspond to how much of a laser beam it can redirect. Large pyramids can redirect all 3 points of the laser beam Kaxxt fires, but smaller pyramids let some of the beam pass by and hit you.
The direction the pyramid points controls where the beam goes.
- A pyramid pointing at Kaxxt redirects the laser back toward him.
- A pyramid pointing to the left or right redirects the laser to the next player in that direction (going around the table if necessary).
- If a pyramid is standing upright, it redirects the laser away from everyone.
- Pyramids can not be pointed diagonally.
Pyramids can be stacked, with a large pyramid on the bottom and a small (or equal sized) pyramid on top. When the bottom pyramid catches a laser beam, it sends it out its tip, and through the other pyramid. This changes the color of the beam to match the color of the second pyramid. The pyramids must nested in a stack for the beam to change color like this. Just pointing one pyramid at another does not change the color of the beam. The size of the pyramid on top does not matter.
Black pyramids recharge your shield. But they can't be put directly in the way of an unfiltered laser beam and have an effect. Instead, they must have beams fed into them by one of your colored pyramids. For example a 2 point black pyramid stacked with a 3 point red pyramid absorbs 2 points of a beam, and uses it to recharge your shield. The rest of the laser beam continues past it.
The above rules also apply when another player redirects a beam to you from the left or the right. But there is a small difference between a beam fired down by Kaxxt and beams redirected from other platers. Kaxxt's laser beam can only be redirected by pyramids directly in a line between Kaxxt and you. Lasers coming at you from the left or right can be redirected by any matching color pyramid in front of you.
When a laser loops around and reaches you three times, you suffer complete annialiation, and the beam stops bouncing.
For example, suppose your opponent has a medium red pyramid pointing at you. You have a large red pyramid pointing back at him.
- Kaxxt fires a red laser at you. The beam bounces to your opponent. One point gets past his pyramid and damages him.
- The rest of the beam bounces back to you, for the second time. It bounces back to your opponent for the second time (damaging him by one point again).
- The now-weak laser beam bounces back to you for the third time. Stack overflow -- you lose!
If in doubt about some hackish pyramid placement, allow it, and apply the spirit of the rules to trace the path of the laser beam.
Consider this advanced example.
- Green lasers from Kaxxt are redirected by the green pyramid into the black pyramid, and recharge you by up to 3 points.
- Blue lasers from Kaxxt are redirected by the large blue pyramid.
The small blue pyramid then intercepts 1 point of that, and feeds it into the black pyramid, gaining you a point.
The other 2 points of blue laser shoot out to the player to your left.
- Red lasers from Kaxxt are redirected by the large red pyramid.
But the yellow pyramid does not catch them; they all continue past it to the player to your left.
- The yellow pyramid does catch laser beams shot at you from the players to your left and right. It redirects one point into the black pyramid, healing you. (You're damanged by the rest of the yellow beam though.)
- If the player to your left shoots a blue laser at you, one point is fed into the black pyramid by the little blue. Then it bounces off the big blue, and the little blue catches another point and feeds it into the black pyramid, so you gain 2 points total. The remaining point bounces back to your left.
- If the player to your left shoots a green laser at you, it passes by the black pyramid. Then it bounces from the green pyramid, and now it can be absored by the black pyramid, gaining you 3 points.
- The three large colored pyramids also redirect lasers approaching from the right, and stop those hurting you either, and feed some of them into the black pyramid.
Keep an eye on what pyramids the other players have. If you're needing protection from red, and the other player has the large red pyramid, then you know you need to draw a smaller pyramid to have any chance of getting a red one.
Don't just worry about blocking Kaxxt's attacks. Also try to arrange your pyramids so they will block attacks from your left or right.
Avoid leaving yourself open to stack overflow attacks!
Whatdayathink? Please vote in the poll, or post your experiences/questions to Discussion.
- Better Kaxxt drawing (trace and make SVG?)
- To be Turing-complete, the Kaxxt-machine should provide a way to self-modify the pyramid placement. Change positions when lasers hit? (Well, it would also technically need an infinite number of pyramids..)
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