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The Standard Game

One form of play in particular seems most natural, and it includes head-to-head competition between two code warriors - this is called the standard game of Code World. Do not let this official sounding title deter you from making your own rules and finding new variations. A standard game follows a simple three-step pattern.

1. Flop a card.
2. Solve the puzzle.
3. Distribute the card.

Warriors are free to embellish the game or impose any preferred etiquette, or lack thereof. Code world is a global sport played with universal elements, so we expect and encourage regional flavors and dialects to emerge - symmetry breaking, so to speak. Here are some suggestions for protocol and etiquette in a standard game.

Select a default configuration to set each stone before play. Any configuration is as good as any other, as long as both players start at the same configuration. I suggest starting from Purple of Green-Red in Green-Red. This particular configuration is shown here.

Create a standard way to track configurations and cards during play. It is helpful to be able see the flop card, as well as the last active swap and move cards as a reference during play. I suggest the following organizational system, which is tough to explain but easy to learn.


After the first swap and move card have been flopped there will always be three cards face up on the board during puzzle solving action. They are:

1. The last swap card in its winner’s crib.
2. The last move card in its winner’s crib.
3. The fresh flop card in the center.

The flop card immediately replaces its mate in the active configuration to define a puzzle. If the flop is a swap, then the puzzle configuration becomes the flop plus the move crib; otherwise the flop is a move card and the puzzle becomes the flop plus the swap crib. When a flop card is solved it goes to its appropriate crib and the card in that crib is put face down in its winner’s pile. This is merely a system to keep track of active configurations and remember who owns those cards. The game is a race to find solutions and win cards.

Early in the game, before a swap or move card happens to be flopped, there are less than three cards face up on the board. the default starting configuration is used in the mind’s eye as a reference. Players may chose to select a swap and move card from the deck to start the game and to act as a visual reference, but only code wimps need to do this, and it is a clear sign of weakness. The first flop card in combination with the starting configuration can determine the target configuration and therefore the fresh puzzle to be solved. Here are the steps of a standard game.

1. Warriors set their stones to the same configuration.

2. All cards - swap and move - are shuffled together and stacked face down between the warriors.

3. A warrior flops the first card, and both warriors race to find the solution.

4. The first warrior to declare a correct solution wins the card. The warriors can agree on a word to act as a declare, or an object can be placed between them, like a smelly old sock, to be grabbed quickly as a declare.

5. When a declare is made, the opposing warrior can accept the declare, and continue to transform his stone to the solution, or he can ask the declaring warrior to verify his solution. This means that the declarant must show his stone and verify that he has indeed found the correct configuration. If the solution is incorrect, then the opposing warrior wins. This is called death by brain fart. If the declare is in fact verified, then the winning warrior is permitted to deride and admonish the opponent for doubting his veracity. The most extreme forms of Code World ridicule are justified in this case, and other creative penalties might be imposed at the warriors’ discretion. Once both warriors arrive at the correct solution, the game can proceed to the next flop.

6. The recently won card can be, but does not need to be immediately removed from the board. In fact, it is helpful to keep the active swap and move cards visible for reference. A system of card cribs is useful for keeping track of active cards and their owners (as pictured above).

7. When both warriors have arrived at the active configuration, the winner of the previous card flops the next card.

8. After the final card is flopped and solved, all crib cards are collected and batched by the warriors. The warrior with the largest stack is the winner. Size matters.






At the beginning of the game the deck is face down in the middle of the board. The default configuration is seen only in the mind's eye, as are the crib and flop spaces.


In this hypothetical case the first card flopped is a move card, so the new target configuration becomes the default swap card combined with this move card.


Assume that Player A won the first card. It is placed face up in A's move crib and he flops the next card, which again happens to be a move card.


Assume that Player B won the second card.

  1. Player A puts the card in his Move crib into his winnings pile.
  2. Player B places the new move card face up in his move crib.
  3. Player B flops the next card, which happens to be our first swap flop.


Assume that B wins again.

  1. He puts the swap card he just won in his swap crib.
  2. He flops the next card.


B is kicking A's ass, and wins again.

  1. He puts the card from his move crib into his winnings pile.
  2. He puts the move card that he just won into his move crib.
  3. B flops the next card.


A finally wins another card.

  1. B moves the card in his swap crib into his winnings pile.
  2. A puts the recently won card into his swap crib.
  3. A flops the next card.

Note that the Purple-Red of Green move card came up, because it is not initially removed from the deck to start the game.



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Last updated August 20, 2003 2:19 PM