Looney Pyramids FAQ

For games not included in Pyramid Arcade, please check the fan-run pyramid wiki
icehousegames.org for more info, and/or contact the designer of that game.
For additional answers please email us at: FAQ@looneylabs.com

Questions about the current stand-alone box set of Zendo

Q: Are Xeno stashes coming back? When will I be able to get those colors again?

A: Those colors of pyramids (cyan, orange, purple, clear, white) will be available again, but not in that particular set.

When we produced Pyramid Arcade, we switched the primary way we sell pyramids (again!) Since Pyramid Arcade comes with 3 stashes of 10 colors, we plan to make expansion sets at some point, but they will likely be in sets of all ten colors, instead of separate packages of five Rainbow or five Xeno. Also, we changed the design of the pyramids themselves, ever so slightly, so that the tips are a little bit rounder. This was so that we could pass safety testing for EU markets.

As for WHEN we will be producing expansion sets of pyramids, that will be the next time we have a run of Pyramid Arcade printed, which will all depend on how fast we sell through the first print-run.

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Q: How many games in Pyramid Arcade are good for two players?

A: Almost every single game in Pyramid Arcade can be played with 2 players. Only a couple are probably still better with more (or less!), and many are 2-player only.

1-2 or more:
Color Wheel is perhaps best viewed as a solitaire game, but it’s fun to play cooperatively with two, or you can play it competitively by seeing who can solve it in the fewest moves.

2 player only:
Black Ice
Lunar Invaders
Martian Chess
Petal Battle

2 or more, absolutely fine with 2
Launchpad 23
Petri Dish
Twin Win
Volcano (actually better w/ 2 than more)
Zark City

2 or more, but better with more
Give or Take
Looney Ludo
World War 5

more than 2
Pyramid-sham-bo (listed in the book as ok for 2, but that’s a typo. Actually really the more the merrier.)

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Q: In Homeworlds, does one’s starting ship always have to be a large?

…In most cases, this is what someone would do anyway, but there are some cases where starting with a small could be beneficial.

A: It can technically be any size. One way to handicap a stronger player is by making them start with a small ship.

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Q: For Homeworlds, is the size of the Bank always (number of players) +1 = (number of nests of each color)?

…So for two-player Homeworlds it would be three nests of each color, for four-player Homeworlds it would be five nests of each color.

A: That’s an established change to the early versions of the game. In fact, that’s really all that Binary Homeworlds is – playing regular Homeworlds with only two players and the once-new restriction to only 3 stashes.

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Q: In Homeworlds, can a player pass? Can they choose to take only partial benefits from a sacrifice?

A: Yes and yes. Though it’s very rare that anyone would choose to pass, it is an option, as is not taking complete results of a sacrifice (for example sacrificing a large yellow, and choosing to only move two ships.)

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Q: Do you have any extra resources to help new players learn Homeworlds?

A: Yes, we have videos!
Homeworlds Theater is a series of sample games, and we also have tutorials of various games. If the Homeworlds tutorial is not up yet, it will be soon.

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Q: I have seen different versions of the Homeworlds rules about who builds first, and who takes the first turn. What is the official rule?

…The rules I originally saw had Player A building first, and then Player B taking the first turn, but that’s not how it works on SuperDuperGames.

A: The rules you originally saw must have been in the small booklet 3HOUSE. It had originally been simply Player A build, Player B build, Player A goes first. In the 3HOUSE booklet, Andy changed the rule, because it somehow seemed fairer to him at that time… but it turns out that that makes it possible for Player B to execute a two-turn win (in Chess known as a “Fools Mate”) which is inescapable by Player A, unless they specifically design their homeworld to defend against it (severely limiting their options).

If Player B takes both the second build and the first turn, the Fools Mate goes like this:

Player A builds their homeworld and first ship, and no pieces are red. Ex: b3y1 g3
Player B builds their homeworld to deliberately create a “tiny universe” (in which their homeworlds are a single move apart, instead of three as would be more common for better defense of both systems) and their first ship is red. Ex: y2g2 r3
Player B builds r1
Player A builds g1
Player B moves r3 to Player A’s homeworld
Player A is doomed: Moving away doesn’t help, and even changing their large to a red is futile, since Player B has the drop on them to take over all ships at their homeworld.

ANYHOW, when this fatal flaw was discovered, of course Andy abandoned the “player building second takes the first move” rule, and went back to alternating turns from the build, i.e. Player A builds, Player B builds, Player A takes first turn, and so forth. This should be considered the current correct game beginning sequence. This is how it is executed on SuperDuperGames as well.

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Q: In Homeworlds, if I sacrifice a piece, is that piece available immediately in the Bank to use as a result of that action?

… For example, if I sacrifice a small yellow, can I immediately use that small yellow to become a star system being traveled to with that move?

A: Yes, when you sacrifice a ship, it goes immediately into the Bank, and is available to use as a result of the action. In fact, it’s key to several different important game strategies.

In addition to your example above, where the sacrificed yellow is used immediately as a destination star…

One can also sacrifice a green, return it to the Bank, and (if it’s the smallest available) immediately grow that piece back again.

Less common, but still an option: one could sacrifice a blue, and then use it to turn a ship into the blue piece that’s just been sacrificed.

Red is the only power for which this is not relevant, since sacrifice of a red ship does not use up any pieces from the Bank.

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Q: In Petal Battle, what happens when a small tries to squish a small?

A: A small squishes a small to a “zero” i.e. non-existent, and moves in.

See the note in the rules about what happens if a medium is squished when no smalls are available: the medium is destroyed, and the squisher moves in. Imagine there simply isn’t a “zero pip” piece in the bank for the small to shrink to (because there’s not!) and you get the same result: the squished small is destroyed and the squisher moves in.

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Q: In Zark City, are pyramids that are removed from the board by the action Convert/Demolish permanently out of the game?

…If so, would one be able to eliminate opponents from the game?

A: No. Pyramids that are removed from the board for whatever reason go back into that player’s stash to be used again. Players can never be eliminated from the game. Hence the “Hatch” rule which brings players back if they have no pyramids in play.

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Q: In Martian Chess, what happens if players keep moving a potential last piece back and forth over the border so that the end condition cannot be reached?

A: Here’s the ruling on stalemates in Martian Chess: Occasionally, the game can become deadlocked. If 27 moves go by in which neither player captures a piece, the game ends. If the score is tied, then it’s a tie, but if one player has more points, they win.

This has been added to the rules for Pyramid Arcade, but previous iterations of the rules did not include this info.

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Q: In Looney Ludo and Pharaoh, there is no requirement to use all one’s movement points. Must we use ANY movement points?

A: In both of these games you may pass if you don’t want to use any of your movement points.

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Q: Is there a rule in Homeworlds against simply undoing the previous move?

…Each of us kept attacking the same small piece to capture it to our side, and we just kept undoing the previous move. After weeks of analysis, we concluded there was no better move for either of us. Do we just end the game in a stalemate?

A: There is no formal rule barring simply undoing your opponent’s previous move. Sometimes there is some other opportunity to sacrifice a piece somewhere else that could tip things and break the stalemate… but if neither player is willing to change their move, yes, you’ll just have to call it a draw. The good news is that now you get to play another game of Homeworlds!

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Q: In IceDice, the rules say there are times I can choose whether to steal or take from the Bank. Does this mean I could steal any time?

Can you clarify again the rules for stealing. I see that if the piece is not in the bank, you MUST steal from opponent’s vault. But what if the piece is in the opponent’s vault AND in the bank?

A: No, you can’t just steal any time. The rules say “If your roll gives you options, it’s ok to make a choice that will require stealing even if the bank contains the other pyramids you can choose.”

This means if you roll one of the size-option faces of the pyramid die, and you could choose, say, a medium blue OR a small blue, and there’s a medium blue in the bank, but not a small blue, you can choose the small blue, necessitating a steal. If what you really want is a medium blue, however, THAT is available in the bank, and you don’t get to steal it, you have to get it from the bank.

The same would apply if you rolled the Atom to make the color wild. As long as you have not already rolled the color you want to choose, you could choose a color of which that size is not in the bank… but is in your opponent’s Vault, again, necessitating a steal. For example, if you rolled Atom, medium, and there were no medium blue in the Bank, but there were in your opponent’s Vault, you could choose to make the Atom blue, necessitating the steal of their medium blue… as long as you have not already rolled blue for that turn.

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In Pink Hijinks (aka just “Hijinks”) can one only move one space at a time? Can one hop over pieces?

A: Yes, you can only move one space at a time. Since you might be carrying pieces on top of the one you’re moving, you might be moving more than one piece at a time, but the movement itself is just one space.

So if there is a piece in the space you wish to move into, but it’s not the same size or larger, then you just can’t move into that space. You can’t jump over it.

Also remember all movement is orthogonal, which is to say, no diagonal movement.

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Q: In Pharaoh, where do pieces go when they are removed from the board?

A: They just go back into your opponent’s waiting area off of the board. They will have to use movement points to move the piece onto the board like they did at the beginning of the game.

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Q: In Looney Ludo (Martian Coasters) which of the Treehouse die actions are required, and which are optional?

A: Actually ALL of the Treehouse die actions are optional. It says so at the end of the Notes section: “Your Treehouse Action is optional.”

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Q: What size are the decks of cards in Pyramid Arcade?

A: There are three different decks in Pyramid Arcade, each a very different size.

The Zark City deck is like a regular deck of playing cards, except that it has five suits and the cards are square. Measurement (roughly, using a ruler) is: 2 & 5/8″ (7 cm) on a side.

The Pyramid Arcade deck, which has a card for each game in the set, has more familiar dimensions. I believe they would be called “poker sized” (wider than “bridge sized”). These are 3 & 7/16″ (8.75 cm) tall by 2 & 15/32″ (6.3 cm) wide.

The Twin Win deck has miniature-sized playing cards which measure 2 & 11/32” (6 cm) tall by 1 & 9/16 (3.95 cm) wide.

See also: What size are Fluxx cards (or any of your other games?)

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Q: When we play Looney Ludo (Martian Coasters) with five tiles, do the “arms” of the X shape connect in any way?

A: No, spaces only connect to spaces that touch directly orthogonally, so, yes, at the beginning of the game, the center tile is well connected, but the others are a bit isolated. Remember, however, that because the tiles will be moving around during the game, the whole board will end up in different configurations, so the connection imbalance is only temporary.

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Q In Looney Ludo (Martian Coasters) are we allowed to move the tiles to a non-square shape?

A: Yes, the tiles can settle in any configuration as long as every tile connects to the rest of the group by a full side. Corners touching does not count as a connection, since pieces could not get onto or off of a tile thus isolated.

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Q: In Launchpad 23 can you move any piece out of a stack, or does it have to be on top?

A: You can move any piece out of a stack. It does not have to be the top piece.

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Q: Hey, do you still have any more of those tubes that pyramids used to be sold in?

A: We regret to tell you we are long since out of the tubes. We had some left over for quite a while after we switched, and kept them up for sale for folks who liked them, even though we found that they were actually kind of sub-optimal (or years in storage had made them so). They were quite tight in the corners, and the pyramids would stick. Even with all that, and how slowly they sold, we’re completely out of them.

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Q: We think we broke the game. Are we doing it wrong?

See this answer in a video!
Little Answers

A: A good rule of thumb for any game is that if you find that you have several possible interpretations of a rule, the one that breaks the game is probably NOT the correct way to play.

See also: Does the total effect of playing a card…

Note that if you only see ONE way to play a card, and it seems broken, please do search our FAQ for known errata or clarifications*, or contact us. It could be a typo, or a new interaction that we have not considered.

*The fastest way is to search on the name of the card you’re having a problem with.

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Q: In Treehouse, can a small Dig under a large, creating a stack where the pyramids don’t touch?

When doing a swap it shows that this final position with a “gap” is illegal.

A: It’s not that that position is illegal in any way, it’s just that from the Swap example shown, a Swap does not result in that configuration. It’s perfectly allowable to have the small under the large creating a non-touching stack in this manner. It could also happen if the large Hops on top of the small.

The Swap example is meant to show that from that particular starting position (small on medium on large) moving the small to the bottom so that the arrangement is medium on large on small (with the medium on top) does not constitute a swap. It’s not that the “gap” is illegal, it’s just that, with three pyramids in this position, a swap does not result in the medium on large on small arrangement.

Think of it this way – if you have three pyramids stacked, and you swap two of them, the one you’re not swapping is going to stay in the same place, so if you swap the small for the large, the medium will stay in the middle, and the resulting stack will be large on medium on small (no “gap” in this case). This is what that example was meant to illustrate.

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