The Singularity Piecepack
The Piecepack is an open source game system that was invented by James Kyle in 2001. It is often described as being “to board games what a standard deck of playing cards is to card games.”
The Singularity Piecepack is my own version of the Piecepack that uses the Singularity Deck Suits along with a few additional tiles that I feel really expand on the original design. Check out the design notes below for a full run down.
Singularity Piecepack 2: Earth Suits
Singularity Piecepack 2: Cosmos Suits
Singularity Piecepack Design Notes
I wanted to design my own version of the Piecepack for a couple of reasons: 1. I wanted a version that overlapped with the Singularity Deck both in terms of iconography and design aesthetic 2. The standard Piecepack has some quirky design aspects that I wanted to streamline.
The standard Piecepack has 4 suits: red suns, black moons, yellow crowns, blue arms (represented by the fleur-de-lis). Swapping these out for "standard french suits" really opens up the design space allowing for games that use both sets of components. I'm hardly the first person to think of this as there are a good number of piecepacks available that use french suits. There are even some decks of cards that use the piecepack suits. The Singularity Piecepack has 6 suits: the 4 french suits and 2 additional suits, triangles and ovals (same suits as the Singularity Deck Earth Set).
Each suit in the standard piecepack includes 6 tiles ranked 0, Ace, 2-5. This is where the standard Piecepack starts to get a little strange. On the tiles there is an ace and on the tokens there is a spiral. This does add some flexibility for game designers because there are occasionally games that reference these icons as having special abilities, however for the vast majority of what I've seen they just represent the number 1. This just adds to the cognitive load of having to remember multiple symbols that represent something other than what they say.
The standard Piecepack also contains dice. Having such unusual ranks requires the need for custom dice.
In my opinion, the ideal design would have just used ranks 1-6, which would have allowed for the use of a normal D6 and not required messing around with nulls, aces and spirals.
The Singularity Piecepack contains the best of both worlds in this regard. The tiles include 8 ranks for each suit: 0-6 and Ace. Likewise the tokens include ranks 0-6, and spiral. Given the pricing structure of the Game Crafter, it actually cost about the same to include the extra ranks. This means that the set includes a standard Piecepack with additional suits and tiles for ranks 1 and 6. This syncs the ranks up with the dice on the Singularity Deck and allows the use of standard dice.
Grided Front and Back
Each tile has a grid on the back, which makes the Piecepack a nice modular board for many abstract games. One of the design features that sets this version apart from other Piecepacks is that the grid is on both the back and the front of the tiles. The standard Piecepack tiles have fronts that take up the whole tile. The highlighted corner of each tile is for games, such as Alien City, that use the orientation of the tiles as a gameplay element.
Dice & Pawns
The dice and pawns can be purchased separately from the tiles and tokens. The custom dice add to the cost considerably and many Piecepack games don't even use them. The pawns are separate because it's very easy to grab pawns from other games or use Looney Pyramids. That said the dice do look pretty cool.
Another unique feature of this set is that each piece of information on a tile can be independently covered with a token. While no games exist that use this feature it does open up some cool game design space where the rank of a tile can change during the game.