Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Factor Friends

Factor Friends is a simple game that can be played by 2 people with pre-made cards, or even 3 pieces of paper. The game uses a skewed list of associations to provide strategic depth, as well as meta-game elements to enhance continuous play.

Factor Friends plays on a 4x4 grid (16 squares) where each player attempts to place as many number cards as possible. Players take turns to place a unique number card in any free square of the grid, however adjacent numbers must have one number being a factor of the other (EG: a number card played adjacent to a 6 could only be a 1,2,3 or 12).

Create 2 different coloured sets of 16 cards (EG: one set blue, one set red) and label them with the numbers 1 through 16. Create a 4x4 grid as a play surface where each square in the grid is slightly larger than the size of a card.

- Players start by choosing 8 number cards from their set of coloured cards. This becomes their "hand" for one round.
- Choose who plays first (or alternate starts if playing multiple rounds)
- The starting player places any card from their hand into a grid square on the play surface
- The second player may then place a card from their hand onto the play surface, while maintaining that adjacent cards need to have one number being a factor of another.
- If an opponent plays a number that you have in your hand, discard it as it is no longer unique
- Play alternates between players, each placing a unique card in a legal position or passing.
- Play continues until both players pass.
- Score the round by counting who has the most number cards in play. In the event of a tie, the player going second wins.
- Continue to play a pre-arranged amount of rounds to find an eventual winner of the match.

- This game is all about controlling space on the board, and predicting what your opponent has in their hand.
- The low numbers have many factor relationships, so they are ideal for leaving toward the end of the game where the available space may be limited from multiple sides. However, leaving a low number card toward the end may expose you to your opponent playing the desired number card before you.
- Playing prime numbers (or numbers with very low factor relationships) can limit the adjacent space available for your opponent to play.
- Construct a hand with cards that can create limited space that only your cards can fill.
- When playing multiple rounds, be observant of what numbers your opponent favours. Either get those number cards and play them before your opponent (thus eliminating a card from their hand), or avoid those numbers so that they do not have an opportunity to clobber your cards.

Factor Friends can also be played with only 3 pieces of paper and 2 different coloured pens. Draw the 4x4 grid on one piece large enough so that a number can be written in each square. Players write down their 8 chosen numbers on their own piece of paper, then mark them off when "playing" them or when they are no longer unique.