The Genesis of Adomoc
Around the world, and for a significant part of human history, games like Go or Chess have fascinated players. They’re fun. They energize our minds; sometimes we gain perspective into other situations in our lives. Sometimes these perspectives are simple, like a route through busy traffic, other times they’re more abstract—a post-dinner debate between buddies, or colleagues in the workplace meeting on a course of action. But what has our present era introduced in terms of an equally fun and fascinating form of play? What modern game could push our perspectives into the next millenium? Conceiving Adomoc in 02001, I hoped it would answer those questions.
How does Adomoc work?
The organizing principle in Adomoc is transcendence. Rather than, for example, focusing on the viability or death of a Chess opponent’s king. Adomoc players struggle toward reaching the same goal and might even collaborate to obtain it. (If you’d like more about how the principles in Adomoc differ from Chess, read this).
In Adomoc, a player must transcend his or her origin to a new space, the first player to do so is the winner. A player needs to organize strategies in ways that both defend and enable the paths from a piece’s origin while simultaneously changing the course of the other player’s efforts at the same task. Small ripples in Adomoc play create continuing effects in the overall play.
Adomoc has two sets of fifteen pieces. The pieces are grouped in trios rather than couples. Trios initiate plurality–that is, many facets to problems. This applies more generally to modes of thinking and breaking the habit of polarizing.
Although Adomoc has fewer pieces in both number and variety than some other abstract strategy games (e.g. Chess), Adomoc pieces have a greater variety of possible behaviours. When developing the game, this was a concern to mediate. While the ideas the game enables are important, Adomoc should be no greater in complexity than other abstract strategy board games. Sometimes the simpler something is, the more profound; the game of Go, for example.
By nature, Adomoc is different from other games and learning anything new may seem difficult at first. Learning Chess, for example, is difficult, confusing, and not at all intuitive in the beginning. But the more a person plays, the more simple the rules seem, and the more the real, interesting complexities of the game become rewarding. I wouldn’t accept Adomoc as a successful game until it exhibited those characteristics. I hoped it would reward players with the pleasure of playing together and add something valuable to their lives.
Although I wrote the initial set of rules and designed the first prototype for Adomoc in 02001, initial conceptions of a game are generally flawed and require much testing, feedback, adjustments, and polish. I began playing it with lifelong friend and collaborator, Mike Keigher. He was instrumental because through regularly playing together we identified problems and evolved the rules, in particular Mike’s greatly improved, unique artwork for the board became the official game board used today.
We introduced Adomoc to other friends and family members and received more feedback. Ian Lanphier contributed critical play testing, helping us to further refine the rules, and he went on to develop the first electronic version of the game.
In playing Adomoc with a variety of people over a decade, we solidified the rules and design so that everything worked cohesively, without logical hiccoughs, and most importantly, was fun. In playing it, new strategies unique to Adomoc, rise to the surface. New patterns of play reveal themselves. And as players, we get excited to recognize these patterns, which would be totally foreign and impossible in other games. I hope to see people I’ve never met, in cafés, having fun with the game.
– Joshua Chalifour