The Transadditional Cylinder

I think it makes the most sense to just pick it up from the middle.  I was pretty much forced into creating this by Nelson when I taught him the wordplay exercise that follows.  As I see it right now, the plan is to, over time, introduce all of the games that have become part of my canon and note the totally unnecessary research that I’ve done in the past.

So, first, the promised game.  This game was in some way conceived from Mr. Coyle’s Transadditional Pyramid, which deserves its own entry and will get one later.  It began as an exercise in chaining five-letter words together: CRASH to SHARD to HARDY and so on.  So you’re allowed to change one letter and rearrange the remaining ones.  There’s no real restriction on making “cheap” changes like PORED to PORES, but I generally attempt to avoid them.  You’re never allowed to repeat a word that’s already appeared in the chain.

What you’ll find when you do this is that it goes on forever.  Which is neat.  But generally uninteresting from a gaming perspective.  So then (maybe it was Mike or Thom that came up with this) we decided that we would force certain words to be in the list.  The idea originally was to create a tug-of-war kind of game, where I would be trying to make one word and my opponent is trying to make another, and we’re using the same chain — but this doesn’t make sense even in theory, because keeping the letters of the opponent’s word out of the chain would be very simple.  To my knowledge a varient of this game that revolves around that concept has never been created.

What we instead have patented is the following process: Before beginning the game, the player decides upon five five-letter words (serious people play with six but I’ll phrase the rules in terms of five).  These words must differ from each other by at least three letters.  So you’re not allowed to use the words PARCH and CHARM as two of your five words.  (This winds up being quite a challenge in itself!)  Four of your words are the goal words; the fifth is your start.  You must create a chain that contains all four of the goal words beginning with your start word.  There is no score for the game; you assess your game when it is over by either deciding victory or otherwise.  I’m sure you could find the shortest path through them if you really wanted to, but that’s not really the point in my mind.  To this end I try to avoid erasing plays unless I see no other way to finish the game.

Here’s the game I played that I showed Nelson (circa 05.12.22).  Hopefully you can pick up on my notation very rapidly.


Why we are here

One day in December, as Adam was telling me about yet another game he had just invented (the Transadditional Cylinder), I realized that these games were too good to be kept to ourselves, to only circulate around our small circle of friends. They deserved to be shared with the universe! They demanded to be published and discussed among avid gamers everywhere! Adam and his friends invent, discover, and play so many awesome games that are not known outside of his social circle — it would be a shame if any of them died out and were forgotten. I suggested to him that he should start a blog, to document his gaming adventures and bring his friends along for the ride, and he was agreeable to the suggestion. I therefore helped him set up this blog, and that’s how we got here.

This blog will serve several purposes:

  • To reach our friends and acquaintances who, whether due to time or space constraints, cannot game with us regularly, but who would like to keep abreast of developments so that they can join in our gaming when they see us. Ideally, they would be able to play the games wherever they are, so they can get in practice before facing the masters, but simply learning the rules ahead of time would suffice. 😉
  • To spread our games to people we have never met, to places that we have never visited. We hope that these games will take on a life of their own, and that they will be played without our personal guidance or encouragement. Personally, I think it would be really cool to walk down a stairway in a city far from my home and discover some random children playing stairball.
  • To save our games for posterity, so that the generations that follow us can continue playing the games that we played, long after we are dead and gone. This may seem a bit ambitious for a piece of emphemeral digital media, but with projects such as the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, we can hope that internet resources will survive into the far future.

But most importantly, we hope that this blog will serve to entertain you, dear reader. Game on!