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megajester
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Abstract set concept
« on: Feb 14th, 2011, 1:52am »
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I'm trying to find an easy-and-cheap-yet-cool way of making a set and I'd like to run this concept past you all...
 
It's an abstract design using symbols instead of representations of animals. The logic is as follows:
 
Elephant (tusks and trunk)
Camel (hump)
Horse (profile)
Dog (howling)
 
and the Cat and Rabbit should be obvious Smiley
 
I'd especially like to ask how easy it is to tell the relative strenghts of the pieces at a glance, and if you anticipate this could be a problem if I want to teach the game to a beginner using this set.
 
Maybe this could give you an idea of what it might look like on a board.
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ginrunner
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #1 on: Feb 14th, 2011, 2:26am »
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they do this with some chess sets and I have never been impressed with it.
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ChrisB
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #2 on: Feb 14th, 2011, 3:57am »
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on Feb 14th, 2011, 1:52am, megajester wrote:
I'd especially like to ask how easy it is to tell the relative strenghts of the pieces at a glance, and if you anticipate this could be a problem if I want to teach the game to a beginner using this set.

I think your approach of varying the size of the pieces based on their strength is a good one.  In your sample, though, it's not immediately obvious to me which is stronger between the dog and cat since both pieces have the same height, even though the dog has the larger base.  To a lesser extent, I have the same problem between the elephant and camel for the same reason.  Therefore, what would work well for me is to make the elephant a little taller and the cat a little shorter.  
 
Yea, like ginrunner, I haven't had much interest in abstract chess sets.  But I think arimaa has more potential for abstract sets since it has a clear hierarchy of pieces.  
 
Good luck!
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megajester
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #3 on: Feb 14th, 2011, 9:49am »
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Thank you for your helpful responses so far...
 
So does anybody actually like the set? I haven't wasted too much time on it, so you can tell me, I can take it. Smiley
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Fritzlein
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #4 on: Feb 14th, 2011, 9:58am »
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on Feb 14th, 2011, 9:49am, megajester wrote:
So does anybody actually like the set?

You haven't yet told us how cheap.  Wink
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JoeHead
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #5 on: Feb 14th, 2011, 10:23am »
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Thank you for your idea. I have been waiting for something like this for a long time.
You rule! I find this really abstract looking pieces much better than childish animals.  
Keep up a good work. I printed your set.
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SpeedRazor
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #6 on: Feb 14th, 2011, 1:47pm »
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on Feb 14th, 2011, 1:52am, megajester wrote:
I'm trying to find an easy-and-cheap-yet-cool way of making a set and I'd like to run this concept past you all...
 
It's an abstract design using symbols instead of representations of animals. The logic is as follows:
 
Elephant (tusks and trunk)
Camel (hump)
Horse (profile)
Dog (howling)
 
and the Cat and Rabbit should be obvious Smiley
 
I'd especially like to ask how easy it is to tell the relative strengths of the pieces at a glance, and if you anticipate this could be a problem if I want to teach the game to a beginner using this set.
 
Maybe this could give you an idea of what it might look like on a board.

 
 
I really like this idea!  I like that the pieces are clear and succinct, and you can tell them apart.
 
In your representation of the board though, MegaJester, I think that you should also add a comparable, and abstract solution.  Make the playing spaces octagonal!
 
All of Arimaa is orthogonal, never diagonal.  Eliminate diagonal-thinking by making the board look like a raised path of octagons!  Yummy!  No ambiguity; easy to teach.  "If the spaces touch, you can go there - (or the pieces' powers can effect there).  If the spaces don't touch, you can't go or effect it."
 
I DO like your idea for the pieces, though    Grin  
 
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megajester
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #7 on: Feb 14th, 2011, 2:35pm »
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Oh wow! I wasn't expecting such a positive response... Thanks guys.
 
But don't hold back with any constructive criticism Smiley
 
I think I might tweak it by shortening the camel so it's both shorter than the elephant but still obviously taller than the horse. I could do something similar with the cat just by shortening the ears a bit...
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dree12
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #8 on: Feb 14th, 2011, 5:52pm »
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If one were to make an abstract set, wouldn't it be efficient to use cylinders? Make the cylinders different in height, and maybe draw a G or something onto the rabbits. This should remain cheap and be very easy to see strength differences.
 
Of course, this has the "easy-and-cheap" but lacks the "cool".
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megajester
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #9 on: Feb 15th, 2011, 3:05am »
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on Feb 14th, 2011, 5:52pm, dree12 wrote:
If one were to make an abstract set, wouldn't it be efficient to use cylinders? Make the cylinders different in height, and maybe draw a G or something onto the rabbits. This should remain cheap and be very easy to see strength differences.
 
Of course, this has the "easy-and-cheap" but lacks the "cool".

OK I'm thinking I could make the set with a table saw like this guy. Either that or with modelling clay, just taking a slab of that and cutting out the pieces.
 
Making cylinders sounds more difficult Smiley
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #10 on: Feb 15th, 2011, 10:28am »
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I like the idea of an abstract set very much.  I still haven't found a good way to represent the animals abstractly.  Your design appears to be on the right track.  
 
My first shot at an abstract set doesn't focus on the animal characteristics, but once you know why these look the way they do, it's easy to tell what the pieces are, regardless of size.  It still needs some work on the proportions, I think:
 

 
These could be represented in 2D easily, and turned on a lathe (I think) pretty easily too.
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megajester
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #11 on: Feb 15th, 2011, 11:13am »
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on Feb 15th, 2011, 10:28am, ocmiente wrote:
I like the idea of an abstract set very much.  I still haven't found a good way to represent the animals abstractly.  Your design appears to be on the right track.  
 
My first shot at an abstract set doesn't focus on the animal characteristics, but once you know why these look the way they do, it's easy to tell what the pieces are, regardless of size.  It still needs some work on the proportions, I think:
 

 
These could be represented in 2D easily, and turned on a lathe (I think) pretty easily too.

They do look nice!
 
So what is the logic behind their shapes?
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ocmiente
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #12 on: Feb 15th, 2011, 11:40am »
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on Feb 15th, 2011, 11:13am, megajester wrote:

So what is the logic behind their shapes?

 
It's based on various rotations of English letters.  The biggest piece is a rotated 'E'.  The second largest is an 'M' turned sideways and rotated.  The third is an 'H', kind of, more or less using the negative space, The fourth is a 'd' tilted at an angle, rotated, and again taking the negative space.  The fifth is a 'c' from the top down, with the middle filled in, and the last is a rotated 'R'.
 
So, this probably won't make as much sense if you read and write in a language other than English.  You could easily come up with different set designs this way in Chinese, or Russian, etc.
 
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Fritzlein
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #13 on: Feb 15th, 2011, 11:48am »
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on Feb 14th, 2011, 5:52pm, dree12 wrote:
If one were to make an abstract set, wouldn't it be efficient to use cylinders?

Yes, for an abstract set you need only variations in size.  My wife was looking at assembling a set from spheres or doorknobs of various size, and I would happily have played with such a set, but the components from craft stores or hardware stores turned out not to be super-cheap after all.  Cylinders is a better (i.e. cheaper) idea, because if you can find dowels of appropriate radii, all you have to do is cut them to length.
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megajester
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Re: Abstract set concept
« Reply #14 on: Feb 15th, 2011, 11:56am »
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on Feb 15th, 2011, 11:40am, ocmiente wrote:

 
It's based on various rotations of English letters.  The biggest piece is a rotated 'E'.  The second largest is an 'M' turned sideways and rotated.  The third is an 'H', kind of, more or less using the negative space, The fourth is a 'd' tilted at an angle, rotated, and again taking the negative space.  The fifth is a 'c' from the top down, with the middle filled in, and the last is a rotated 'R'.
 

 
Oh wow I'd never have guessed that! Nice job.
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