# Esoteric tabletop gaming rules review

Players are understood to be sharing a cake. How much cake do you want? Be fair. Anyone who has had the least gets to size the next piece. Don't finish the cake!

Is this plausible ttg rules text? Do you recognize the instructions?

1. [14]
PapaNachos
(edited )
Is it meant to be a dilemma? Is each individual's goal to maximize how much of the cake they get? What does 'fair' mean? If I have N people why can't we just divide the cake evenly into N+1...

Is it meant to be a dilemma? Is each individual's goal to maximize how much of the cake they get? What does 'fair' mean?

If I have N people why can't we just divide the cake evenly into N+1 sections. Or N sections with an infinitesimal remainder? If someone wants a smaller piece, everyone else can have more.

Last time I had a cake it was too big to eat in one sitting, so we just gave everyone what they wanted and then slowly whittled away at it over the next few days. And everyone was happy with that.

Edit: It feels like you're heading in the direction of a game theory problem or logic puzzle, like the rational pirate puzzle, but it's somewhat unstructured to achieve that result. Also your comment about being fair is at odds with that sort of thinking.

Edit 2: What is the actual game part?

1. [7]
Qis
I think most of those scenarios should be negotiably legal given the above phrasing. And I am very attracted to infinitesimal remainders -- I have not seen any truly asymptotic behaviors in a...

I think most of those scenarios should be negotiably legal given the above phrasing. And I am very attracted to infinitesimal remainders -- I have not seen any truly asymptotic behaviors in a modern board game and I think it would be fun and interesting if players were tasked with conceptualizing/notating one.

I may make a note of the phrase "in one sitting", than kyou..

1 vote
1. [6]
PapaNachos
I still don't understand what makes this meaningfully a game rather than just sharing or pretending to share a cake. I guess you could call it roleplaying. But even that feels like a bit of a...

I still don't understand what makes this meaningfully a game rather than just sharing or pretending to share a cake.

I guess you could call it roleplaying. But even that feels like a bit of a stretch.

Using infinitesimals in a physical game would be difficult because most games hide the underlying equations behind discrete, physical pieces or cards. If we have 100 cake tokens to divide among 3 people, we can take 33 with 1 left over. If we try to subdivide that last component, someone is going to need to get the scissors out. And even then that doesn't really capture the infinitesimal

1. [5]
Qis
Psh, I'm sure you could engineer a way to split papa's nachos into more than one hundred parts. I think it is wrong to convince someone that they should hold one hundred cake tokens somewhere in a...

Psh, I'm sure you could engineer a way to split papa's nachos into more than one hundred parts. I think it is wrong to convince someone that they should hold one hundred cake tokens somewhere in a box in their home when you were already given a perfectly functional understanding of fractions. Get out those scissors, I say. Or maybe prepare a larger cake? Cheapass Games had the right idea when they realized they could skip mailing dice and tokens and instead count on players to provide functionally infinite supplies of components.

Yes, this could be described as a somewhat pointless minigame -- such is cake. It does shake out pretty consistently though. We might play a tic-tac-toe game together despite full cognizance that the outcome is likely to be a draw. My project is to cobble together many rules like this into a package which will be playable and decidable.. it is esoteric..

1 vote
1. [4]
PapaNachos
Sure, 100 is excessive, but my point is that physical games still usually come down to discrete components. Even if they're not necessarily included in the box. And most players wouldn't want to...

Sure, 100 is excessive, but my point is that physical games still usually come down to discrete components. Even if they're not necessarily included in the box. And most players wouldn't want to destroy pieces as part of the game, unless it's specifically designed for that like in a legacy game

1 vote
1. [3]
Qis
Maybe I am specifically processing my feelings about legacy games. I have a friend who finds them grotesquely consumeristic. He sees no reason why the cardboard components of a game should dispose...

Maybe I am specifically processing my feelings about legacy games. I have a friend who finds them grotesquely consumeristic. He sees no reason why the cardboard components of a game should dispose of themselves and I mostly agree with him. I was thinking about outsourcing some of those dynamics to a component that you were going to eat anyway -- and experiment with continuous data rather than the rinky dink arithmetic of small discrete numbers.

1 vote
1. [2]
PapaNachos
(edited )
Yeah, I'm not a fan of that part of legacy games. I don't like destroying stuff. But the legacy format does allow you to create unique versions of a game that have emotional weight for your play...

Yeah, I'm not a fan of that part of legacy games. I don't like destroying stuff.

But the legacy format does allow you to create unique versions of a game that have emotional weight for your play group. It's somewhat of a mixed bag and IMO was a neat innovation within the world of board games.

1 vote
1. Qis
I'm with you. It was an exciting and novel moment for games. This is a coincidence, but this week I have finally recycled my completed copies of risk and pandemics legacy seasons 1 and 2. Today I...

I'm with you. It was an exciting and novel moment for games. This is a coincidence, but this week I have finally recycled my completed copies of risk and pandemics legacy seasons 1 and 2. Today I will also finally trade away my unused copy of Seafall. I have however kept my nearly unplayed copy of Friedemann Friese's monstrous 504. My reaction to the first waves of legacy games was probably the driving force in my renewed interest in campaign games like Gloomhaven and the 7th Continent.

(Plz excuse rapidfire series of namedrops, heh..)

1 vote
2. [6]
Qis
Haha, I might have linked this page instead but yeah. And I think a lot about nim games. Maybe you are right and "be fair" is more confusing than it is colloquial. I was just thinking that it...

Maybe you are right and "be fair" is more confusing than it is colloquial. I was just thinking that it would be interesting if something happened when the condition arises that there is not enough cake left to alter which player has had the least.

1 vote
1. [4]
PapaNachos
(edited )
Haha, that makes sense. I wasn't familiar with that one. But it brings up interesting points about unequal priorities. But this gives me an idea about what a physical game could look like. Give me...

Haha, that makes sense. I wasn't familiar with that one. But it brings up interesting points about unequal priorities.

But this gives me an idea about what a physical game could look like. Give me a second to write it up

Edit:
What if it's a co-op game. The goal is to get everyone's scores as close as possible, and as high as possible.

I'm imagining a board filled with all sorts of different squares and tiles. Some will be edge pieces with frosting. Others might have fruit. Different flavors like vanilla or chocolate. Ideally each square would have multiple properties

Each player has their own hidden objectives that score them points. You might like fruit and you get points for each piece of fruit you manage to claim. Another player might be trying to get the biggest piece or maybe the first letter of their name

On their turn players can place between 0 and 3 tokens on the board, representing pieces of the cake they're claiming. Maybe they have to be next to each other on any given turn?

The group collectively scores points equal to the lowest score among players, so you want everyone to do well. If you get above a certain threshold based on difficulty and number of players, you all win. Otherwise you all lose. Or maybe the person with the the highest score loses because they were greedy?

I'm also thinking you would want some mechanism to limit communication. Like, you can only talk on your turn and you can't reveal your goals or score. Or maybe the whole game could be silent.

1 vote
1. [3]
Qis
I hope this makes sense -- Games like the one you have designed here are the dominant archetype. I have dabbled with rules like "whoever is in second-to-last place wins" or "the game ends if any...

I hope this makes sense --

Games like the one you have designed here are the dominant archetype. I have dabbled with rules like "whoever is in second-to-last place wins" or "the game ends if any player's score lags too far behind the others" or "pass your turn to any player except the player who has had the most turns," etc. I noticed that these kinds of conditions give rise to puzzles which progress to completion by eliminating possibilities until only one result remains: a finished game. Secret scoring conditions or limited communication (in my opinion) barely forestall this narrowing of horizons..

I think my goal is to capture some of the energy of the set-up stages. I like the anarchic aspects of deciding who gets to play with which color of pieces, and rules that require some interpretation and negotiation and trust (e.g. "The youngest player goes first." We ask: who is the youngest player? How do you know? Discuss. I would include a card that suggests that anyone who has brought a birth certificate to the table has ironclad evidence; then I would include a card that suggests how someone might forge a fake birth certificate using only a hand of poker cards; then I would include a card which incentivizes other players to turn a blind eye to blatant counterfeits; then I would try to build a contest between the supporters of contradicting sets of counterfeit documents..

1 vote
1. [2]
PapaNachos
I'm still not entirely sure what you're looking for. It feels like you're playing with the idea of what makes a game a game. Which is a long and divisive question that I don't think you will be...

I'm still not entirely sure what you're looking for. It feels like you're playing with the idea of what makes a game a game. Which is a long and divisive question that I don't think you will be able to get a single answer to. It's a philosophical and linguistic question.

What you've described sounds more like playing Calvinball. Which could be interesting, but at that point you're not really playing a single recognizable game, rather I would think about it as an entire class of activities that vary wildly, with the core theme of unstructured debate. That's not a bad thing, but when you talk to people about games, it comes with certain connotations attached that I personally believe you're outside of.

The closest thing I can think of are some of the rules-lite rpgs such as Invincible Sword Princess that are deeply abstract and theater of the mind. But even then you still usually use some form of dice or something.

1 vote
1. Qis
Calvinball was an extremely formative example! I am ambitious and brilliant and will tackle that divisive philosophical and linguistic question in the cleverest and most obscure and arcane way I...

Calvinball was an extremely formative example! I am ambitious and brilliant and will tackle that divisive philosophical and linguistic question in the cleverest and most obscure and arcane way I can imagine!

I will check Invincible Sword Princess, I do like unique and abstract rpgs.

1 vote
2. psi
On Nim games, I'd recommend John Conway's Winning Ways for Your Mathematical Plays, assuming you aren't familiar with the reference already. Combinatorial game theory was my favorite course I took...

On Nim games, I'd recommend John Conway's Winning Ways for Your Mathematical Plays, assuming you aren't familiar with the reference already. Combinatorial game theory was my favorite course I took in college.

1 vote
2. [2]
archevel
I might be missing some context. Is ttg an acronym for table top gaming? I assume so, bit maybe there's a more specific meaning? Anyway I recognized the general problem from a Numberphile video...

I might be missing some context. Is ttg an acronym for table top gaming? I assume so, bit maybe there's a more specific meaning? Anyway I recognized the general problem from a Numberphile video where they show a fair solution for three people. They mention a generalisation of the method described in this paper.

The rules as written aren't super clear. In particular:

Don't finish the cake!

Should the players divide the cake but make sure there is always some left?

Anyone who has had the least gets to size the next piece.

What about ties in "leastness"? Should they just randomly pick (or maybe a more thematic rule would be to pick the one that haven't had cake in the longest time)?

Is there a winning condition? Everyone who gets cake is of course, by definition, winning at life in general!

1. Qis
(edited )
No context is missing -- this is as fragmentary as it appears -- yes ttg is my preferred abbreviation for games.tabletop. I think this gives a workable policy for managing a cake. I am hoping that...

No context is missing -- this is as fragmentary as it appears -- yes ttg is my preferred abbreviation for games.tabletop. I think this gives a workable policy for managing a cake. I am hoping that another part of this game could make reliable references to how much cake yet remains such that whatever number that generates could never be Zero.

I am also hoping that it is sufficient instructions for playing a game with these rules but no cakes. If I sent you a game in the mail with no cakes included, perhaps you could still follow these instructions by just imagining a cake?

edit: someone has tagged this as a "ttrpg" thread but I really do mean just a euro-y tabletop game like catan or canasta rather than a roleplaying game.

1 vote
3. [4]
pycrust
How do you win the game?

How do you win the game?

1. [3]
Qis
I don't know yet.. would you like some cake? We have one cake and you can have some of it but do not finish it.

I don't know yet.. would you like some cake? We have one cake and you can have some of it but do not finish it.

1 vote
1. [2]
pycrust