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Month April 2011


Eleven+ is a game I made on a car trip. It requires no equipment, and so is easy to play on car trips, or in bars or restaurants. It is probably best with 3-5 players.

Eleven+ was inspired by the game Bartok: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartok_(card_game). In Bartok and related games players add rules to the game as it progresses, making it become more and more ornate over time. One of the charms of the game is that it becomes less and less about playing the game and more and more about your capability of following the rules without making a mistake. When Eleven+ was created I thought it might be fun to attach that principle to a simpler game, so I used the game “Eleven” which is a nim-style game. I was surprised that the simplicity and the determinism of the game made it more enjoyable, since the game was more focussed on the unique and fun elements of Bartok; navigating complex rules and adding new rules to the game.

Eleven: Players count from one to eleven, the player that hits eleven is eliminated – and the player to the eliminated player’s left starts the next game. Players can add one two, or three numbers to the count. Each game of Eleven has a loser, when only one player is left that player has won the round.

For example:
Alice: “1, 2″
Bill: “3″
Charlie: “4,5,6″
Alice: “7,8″
Bill: “9,10″
Charlie: “11″
Now Charlie is eliminated and it is Alice’s turn, with only Alice and Bill left.

Eleven+: Play eleven, and after each round the winner adds a new rule. Players are encouraged to identify problems that might come up during play because of the rule at this time; this feedback may lead to the rule maker clarifying the rule or ditching it in favor of another. The winner also begins the next game. In addition to being eliminated for saying “11″ a player is also eliminated for failing to follow the rules.

To illustrate the game I recorded the rules we used in a 4 person game on a recent car trip:

  • Once each game a player can halve an even number as a move (for example: “6, 3, 4″ would be legal provided no other player had used the half rule in the current game.)
  • Numbers on the licence plate in front of the car don’t exist (for example, if the car in front was license 348 YUY a legal move might be “2,5,6″.)
  • Start at 11 and go down to 1, the player that says “zero” loses.
  • Five doesn’t exist.
  • An animal is substituted for “10″. The animal must be different than one used by any player on the car trip.
  • You never say “11″, instead you say any other number that exists.
  • If a player makes only one move the next player must use more than one move.
  • Players must say “Tea for Two” rather than “2″.
  • All players use a second language for numbers.
  • If a player uses 3 moves the next player must say “slow down” before taking his or her turn.
  • If a player uses the “halving” special move listed above, the direction of play reverses. The direction is reset to normal in the next game.
  • If a player has to say “zero” he or she can instead read a word off a road sign. This restarts the current game, but this rule cannot be used in the restarted game.
  • Instead of saying “3″ a player must clap three times.
  • Instead of saying “1″ a player must use the color of the car in front. If there is no car in front “invisible” must be used.

I won’t even attempt to illustrate the above game being played, but rest assured that by the end few games were ending because a player reached 0!


Game Glimpse #11: Classic Game 1

Classic Game 1In the first of a series of Classic Game Reviews, Richard challenges himself and his audience by tackling one of his personal favorite games. Although it’s no secret of this game’s profound effect on Richard’s design career, he continues to champion the recent innovations in its strategies and its relevance in modern culture.
LINKS: Classic Game 1

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