I'm happy to report that the Ricochet Robot puzzle was a rather well-received page last month. I had spent a fair bit of time coming up with the graphics for it as well as the actual puzzle itself and so it was quite satisfying to have so many people respond, thanks! (The downside being that it very quickly became apparent that I wouldn't be able to respond individually to each entrant.) As it turns out the solution was two moves less than the one I had intended which simply proves that I'm not as smart as I think I am. In any case I've modified the puzzle slightly so that you can have another crack at it.

Further to this it would seem that there are a number of Ricochet Robot fans out there who are obviously smarter than I. How about coming up with a puzzle and letting your fellow Roboteers give it a shot? I can make the actual graphics for it as long as you send me a basic description. It doesn't need to be limited to the boards in the game either or even the basic rules. If you come up with a clever twist let us know! The gauntlet has been thrown.

As you can also see we've got the rules to a simple trick-taking game this month. I'm not really sure how I feel about including rules here and so this is somewhat of an experiment. If you think its a good idea please let me know. There have been a few other enquiry's about this so it may be that it becomes a semi-regular feature. The "guiding principle" I want The Games Journal to follow is that its content be somewhat unique. I'm unaware of any other sites out there that publish public-domain games so this does fall within this mandate to a degree.

Finally, Taiju Sawada was one of the many respondents to the Ricochet Robot puzzle and as he was the first person I've corresponded with from Japan I pressed him to give us a brief rundown on the state of gaming there. I enjoyed reading his report and think that similar articles from around the world would be a great idea. Particularly interesting would be the venues in which people play these sorts of games as well as the types of shops they buy them in. I'll be moving to Ireland later this month and so I look forward to seeing what the gaming scene there is like. Rest assured you'll hear all about it.

-Greg Aleknevicus

In addition to being fun to play, games can also be attractive and interesting as pieces of modern art. Frank Branham discusses the play properties of a few of these more aesthetically pleasing creations.


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