I'm going to shift a discussion here from Board Game Geek, just to make sure the greater Looney Pyramid community can be involved.


From Andy, June 2013:


Without completely repeating everything from the BGG thread here, I will give a brief summary:

I think it's a mistake to replace the Zen theme from Zendo with the Xendo "cluster analyzer" theme.  Yes, the Zen theme may be offputting to some, but I'm convinced the Xendo theme would be just as bad, especially if it adds some ceremonial terminology to support it.  "A cluster is positively charged iff ___," is just as bad as, "A koan has the buddha nature iff ___."

My suggestion for rereleasing Zendo:

Call it Zendo. Describe the rules in a completely theme-free way. e.g. "A group of pyramids is marked white iff ___." Describe the Zendo Zen theme, the Xendo cluster analyzer, the software debugging theme and any others that might apply in the introduction or an addendum to the rules. Heck, you could even include additional themes specifically tailored to special interest groups. Christian Zendo anyone? "A congregation is going to heaven iff ___."

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And I'll mention here my point that changing the title to "Xendo" will be bad for player searching info on the web; there are a lot of useful good webpages about "Zendo" which won't be found searching for "Xendo".

Agree completely (and, I've played a lot of Zendo with different groups of people). Light on the theme, already. And, I don't think a name change is appropriate. Pyramid stuff is hard enough to find/explain/market as it is. Now, maybe if there were a sequel with different rules...  Of course, even with a variant, I'd still call it "Zendo II" or whatever, for all the reasons Russ W mentioned.

I've tried both and the only new term I really like is "clusters" instead of "koans," because it solves the "cone" problem I have when introducing people to the pyramids via Zendo. Other than that, I think the science theme actually undermines the teacher-student roles... it's important to me that the players think of me as a guide who they can freely ask clarifying questions of, not a mere true/false dispenser.

Ha ha, I was wondering what the "cone" problem was until I muttered out loud to myself "the cone problem?!" :)

"Koan" has 2 syllables... I don't think I've had people confuse it with "cone".

> "Koan" has 2 syllables... I don't think I've had people confuse it with "cone".

Must be nice. :) We often played Zendo at lunch at my previous job and had one occasional player that still had the cone problem after maybe two years.

I fFeel like I'm rally late to the conversation here.  I wasn't aware this was a conversation in transit.  My thoughts are thus.

Zendo is a well known game which has a great deal of awareness.  Casual strangers may not be fFamiliar with the Zen component, but people seem to respond to the name, know what it is, know how to play it.  When I play with pyramids in public, I can depend on having to explain at least once "no no, we're not playing Zendo, although it's a great game and you can play that with these pieces, too.  No, we're playing ..."

And, of people who do know the theme and are fFamiliar with the basic notion, it seems to resonate with a stoic search fFor truth.  I will fForever have the image of the Zendo tournament judges, at the big experiment, in very smart looking robes.

Changing the spelling to Xendo seems a bit ... meh.  I don't think I understand the motivation there.  But maybe there is some value to publishing something slightly unique.  But, as Kell mentioned, you lose the ability to google "Zendo."

Perhaps, if you just want to rename it a bit, you could go fFor some munging like "Zendo, the computer mastermind" or the like.

I suppose this is all a lot of words amounting to a plaintive, unsolicited opinion.  And I don't really play much Zendo at all, so I can't claim personal interest.  I guess what I'm saying is, themes don't really need to match gameplay.  Ask Reiner Knizia about that.

I vote the keep "Zendo."

Another vote for Zendo; it's an interesting theme that fits the contemplative nature of the game.



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