Game Icehouse: Zendo

Played 2009XXXX Mark (Master) John Me. ? first. John won.
Played 20091225 Me (Master) Crystal [C's]Michael. Crystal first. Crystal won.
Played 20091227 Me (Master) Kevin Steve Michael. Kevin first. Kevin won.
Played 20091229 Me (Master) Josh Steve Phuong Michael JonWest Stephanie Young.
Josh first. Michael won.
Played 20100326 Me (Master) Ashley Adam Sam Caroline. Ashley first. Sam won.
Played 20100326 Me (Master) Ashley Adam Sam Caroline. Ashley first. Caroline won.
Icehouse: Zendo
Icehouse: Zendo page @ here
Icehouse: Zendo page @ here
Icehouse: Zendo Original Rules here (Rules and Further Reading. Should definitely check out Details and Clarifications.)
Rule randomizer @
A Selection of Named Koans @
Rating Zendo Rules @

Rule: It was either a multiple of three pieces touch the ground, or an odd number of pieces touch the ground, or perhaps one of those two rules but for large pieces, i.e. a multiple of three large pieces touch the ground, or an odd number of large pieces touch the ground.

[20091226 1:12 PM]
Rule: A medium and large piece are touching. I might have made my rule too hard for a first game. But Michael was close and Crystal got it. Though I could have made my counter-examples to their guessing stones in such a way that the game could have taken one or two more rounds.

In the future, I will advise before the game starts, that things can get fairly specific, such as when you say on top of, what do you mean as on top of... stacked means in a tree or nest. On top of and bottom of make sense for trees or nest. But there can be different ways to use on top of. Give some examples.

Though I did tell Crystal and Michael that color can come into play, sometimes it was still needed to be clarified. Though I handled this well, saying it could, but it doesn't have to be. I think after playing the first time, this is clear.

It was fun, we used black and white chess pieces for marking and for mondo. We used horses from a Vietnamese game (similar to Parcheesi) as guessing stones.

Rule: The total pip count is 6. I started out with a tree. And a tree with a three in place of a two. The second koan having the same color scheme as the first. Koans built at first mainly tackled the order and touching. Most ideas revolved around one of each small, medium, and large. The students were surprised after a guess to see a koan with three mediums.

Rule: The pip count of the blue and red pieces sum to 4. I started out with a blue large, something medium (not red or blue), and red small tree as one model. And a yellow small on top of a yellow large as the other. At first, ideas tackled red and blue being at extremes. Stephanie built a pretty significant koan, blue medium, something medium, and red medium. Phuong built a significant one too, small red, medium yellow, small blue. Note: I might have the red and blues reverse, but by that time, they must have known red and blue weren't significant. There was some hang up on what makes 1, 2, or more rules, but I emphasized, as an example, that what I can state in 1 rule can have an equivalent statement using 2 rules. So its best not to think of it that way. Merely, when making your guess, using as many
"and"'s or "or"'s as you feel is necessary.

To accommodate for a large number of people we modified the guessing privileges to the following: If a player uses a guessing stone, then any other player who has a guessing stone may choose to use his/her guessing stone, in turn order. Though the situation didn't come up, but I should elaborate in saying that the person guessing should be able to use as many as he or she wants, before the circle of guessing begins. When the circle of guessing begins, each person who chooses to use a guessing stone gets one guess at a time going clockwise, including the person whose turn it was. Example: A has 5 guessing stones, B has 4, C has 0, D has 5, E has 2. A's turn. A uses 2 guesses. Says he's done for now. D wants to guess. Suddenly B wants to guess to. B has priority, since he's next in clockwise order. B uses 1 guess. Note: B can't guess more until waiting for D, E, and A; C can't guess. D might not want to use a guess after B made his/her guess. D uses 1 guess. E passes. A uses a guess. B uses a guess. D passes. E uses a guess. A uses a guess. Everybody passes. Now it's B's turn.

However, the above is sort of a moot point, because it seemed the consensus was that the game shouldn't be done with more than 4 students. I was afraid of ruining the game for those who didn't play already, however, it seemed that most if not all players who hadn't played before liked the game, and would play again if it was with 2, 3, or 4 students. Note: On SDG (, Zendo is supported for 3-6 players, i.e., 2-5 students.

Two variations which were in my head, are listed among four variations on Speed Zendo and Dharma duel. The other two variations are Zendo-Tao and Ikkozendo.

I didn't do this well enough:

If, when building a new koan, the pieces you’d like to use are not available, tell everyone which pieces you’re looking for. The Master must decide which koan or koans to break down, if any, taking into account the input of all of the Students as much as possible. If all of the Students agree to allow a certain koan to be broken down, the Master should always do so. If, when building a counter-example koan, the Master wants to use pieces that are not available, the Master will tell everyone which pieces are needed, and will decide which koan or koans to break down, taking into account the input of all of the Students as much as possible.

When Phuong built the important structure, I wanted to have it kept, but in any case, everybody studied it long enough.

Lol, so I decided to skim the page with the rating of Zendo rules, and the rule I chose on 20091229 was rated a 6 (out of 10). Similar to 20091227 was "it has exactly 8 pips" was rated a 4. I didn't see anything like 20091225, but "it has a piece touching a piece of its own size" got a 3 and "it has a large piece which touches, but does not point at, a medium piece" got a 5.

It's good to read the other convenient terminology:

previous game (Treehouse):next game ()
Rule: Exactly 1 red and 1 yellow touch the floor (i.e. playing surface).

It was a while since I played, so I almost messed up several times, but nothing that ruined the game. One of my main errors was almost forgetting my own rule and accepting a student's answer.

Rule: An even number of pieces touch the ground.

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