Our newest game, ACTOP stands for Ancient Construct Tower of the Philosopher. Japanese game title is 古代建築「賢者の塔」. It is a three dimensional stacking game where players build chimney shaped towers out of poly-cubes. The game is played on an 8 square grid tile board. The game can be enjoyed regardless of how many players are available. ACTOP is fun to play alone as a puzzle, with two players or with several players as a party game. Whether you choose to play competitively or cooperatively, the game requires strategy combined with balance and a nimble touch. To try a more difficult variation, add an element of chance to the game by randomly determining which poly-cube piece must be played on each turn. This is accomplished by starting with the scoring tiles upside down. Each player draws a tile at the beginning of each turn to determine the type of poly-cube they must play. The variety of ways to play ACTOP will keep you coming back for more!
Standard version Components consists of
- 12 wooden poly-cubes composed of 45 cubes 0.7in per cube
- 12 balance stones 0.4in cube per stone
- 12 ceramic score tiles 0.8in square per tile
- a hand-made ceramic game board 3.9in square
- enclosed in a solid card box 460grams
Professional version Components consists of
- 24 wooden poly-cubes composed of 99 cubes 0.7in per cube
- 24 balance stones 0.4in cube per stone
- 24 ceramic score tiles 0.8in square per tile
- a hand-made ceramic game board 3.9in square
- enclosed in a solid card box 800grams
Wooden poly-cubes are intentionally made a little bit uneven. This places a premium on the balance aspect of the game.
- Player : 2, 3, 4 for standard 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 for professional Solo puzzle play available
- Play time : 5 to 20 minutes
- age : over 6 years
Player Turn Rules
Players take alternating turns. One turn consists of two actions. First, the player must place any one poly-cube on the the player board. Then, the player must place a balance stone on any poly-cube already on the board. The type of poly-cube played determines the points awarded to the player. At the end of each turn the player collects the appropriate scoring tile.
- Dicube scores 2 points
- Tricube scores 3 points
- Tetracube scores 4 points
- Pentacube scores 5 points
- Hexacube scores 6 points
- The board lays out 8 squares around the center square. Poly-cubes must be placed only within those 8 squares. No part of the poly-cube may be positioned or overhang outside or inside on the center square. The tower is built like a chimney, with a hollow core.
- Poly-cubes must be placed above the other poly cubes and cannot be placed under other poly-cubes.
- If placing a poly-cube on another poly-cube, it must cover at least 51% of the poly-cube upon which it is placed.
- Poly-cubes may not be placed on a balance stone. Poly-cubes may overhang a balance stone, as long as they aren't directly touching.
- Balance stones may be placed on any of the poly-cubes already placed. Placement is not limited to the poly-cube placed by the player in part 1 or their turn.
- Balance stones may not be placed on another balance stone nor under a poly-cube.
- The placed balance stone may not extend over the edges of the cube it is placed on.
- When choosing a poly-cube from the stack, you must keep your choice once you have touched it.
- Players may never touch or re-arrange the tower being built, or the board.
- 5 seconds after a player finishes his/her turn, the responsibility for keeping the tower standing,shifts to the next player.
Play and winning
Players get a scoring tile which corresponds to the poly-cube used at the conclusion of each turn. These tiles are used to calculate the sum of the scores at the end of game. If a player causes the tower to topple over, he or she loses the game. The game ends when the tower topples over during the players turn or when all of the available poly-cubes have been placed. In the event all cubes are played, the player with the highest total score wins.
Flexible number of players
12 poly-cubes or 24 poly-cubes make the game play fair. Since the number of 12 or 24 is divided evenly by 2,3,4 or 6 (8). All players will get the same number of turns.
Balance stones may be used to block opponent's next play. This brings a strategic element to competitive play.
When playing cooperatively to complete the perfect tower, players must be careful where they choose to place the balance stones. They must think ahead to not adversely affect the next player's actions. Cooperative play helps build good team work. It is good for friends, lovers and fun family get events.
Dexterity and balance
Players need a feel for balance to arrange poly-cube positions and physical skill to keep the pieces stable. Careless actions may topple the tower.
Like chess, in normal competitive play there is no hidden information which means players must think strategically.
Luck / Randomness
An optional chance element can be used to increase difficulty and variety. Score tiles are normally used only for final score-keeping but they can also be used to introduce an element of randomness. This requires from each player an additional layer of spatial reasoning and strategic planning.
To build the chimney tower with poly-cubes is an effective way to study and understand three dimensional structures. Skills learned combine artistic and architectural components. ACTOP is an excellent gift choice as an educational game for children and students.
Physical and mental training
Three dimensional visualization without physical manipulation is an effective mental exercise. Physical placement of pieces is effective for rehabilitation and physical training. The combination of skills required by ACTOP produces an excellent tool for use in schools and in care facilities for seniors and those with physical limitations.
ACTOP can be played in various ways and is flexible both in difficulty and the number of players. For example, you can adjust the difficulty of the game simply by altering the number of balance stones used by each player. Flipping the scoring tiles adds an additional level of challenge and luck to the game. This variety means you will not get bored playing ACTOP.
Solo puzzle, two players or party game with many players
ACTOP can be played regardless of the number of players. You may play solo as a puzzle, with two players as a strategy game or as a party game with many players. You can enjoy it at any time, place and regardless of the size of your party.
Solo puzzle method 1 : complete the perfect cube tower.
As a solo puzzle, you can try to complete a solid 9 × 9 tower.
- 12 poly-cubes composed of 45 cubes can be built into a 9 × 9 five levels high.
- 24 poly-cubes composed of 99 cubes can make a 9 × 9 perfect tower, eleven levels high.
There are several known solutions. Can you figure them out?
Solo puzzle method 2 : to complete the tower with the luck option.
You can add a luck element by use of random scoring tiles. You must manage the luck element with careful thought about balance stone placement. You must leave enough places for cubes/stones to be placed by any kind of poly-cubes. This is not easy because there aren't any certain solutions. You must find the best way based on the luck of the draw.
You can make your own version of ACTOP by following the Do-It-Yourself instructions included in the DIY Pledge reward. A larger size game set is good for events and as an outdoor activity. ACTOP has no limitation on materials. All you need to prepare are: 99 cubes, 24 balance stones and a base board. If you need, 24 score cards are useful but they are not necessary.
Good news! I have come up with stretch goals for the project. I hadn't thought too much about stretch goals, but some backers gave me suggestions and ideas. So I thought about it and one good idea hit my head. The idea is ACTOP Labyrinth, a new board variation. I have also designed and finished a prototype of a new ACTOP Labyrinth board. ACTOP Labyrinth is built on a 4 × 4 grid board, larger than the 3 x 3 grid board of the original ACTOP. The larger board size will produce a more complex tower, much like a labyrinth, thus the name. The board pattern is symmetric with 7 white and 9 dark squares. The uneven number of squares of each color creates two levels of difficulty. Towers built using the light squares as a template tend to be more difficult while towers built on the dark squares template tend to be easier. In either case the rules for ACTOP Labyrinth are essentially the same as basic ACTOP.
New Backers Choice Option
As I was creating the new ACTOP Labyrinth board layout, an idea occurred to me for a "Backers Choice" option. "Backers Choice" has been a popular concept among supporters in previous Kickstarter campaigns. This new "Backers Choice" option enables you, as a backer, to design your own original grid pattern in addition to selecting a custom name for your board.
15th July additionally new ACTOP yin-yang twins board released. Yin-yang twins is a board designed specifically for two players. Two separate tower areas are designed on one board. Players must build their own tower on their own area but the catch is that one space is shared. The rules for ACTOP yin-yang twins are essentially the same as basic ACTOP with one key change. Player A selects a score tile which specifies which size poly-cube must be used by Player B. Player B then selects a scoring tile for Player A and so on. We recommend this board for professional reward backers because the game is best played with the 24 poly-cube set.
We will create new rewards for ACTOP Labyrinth which backers can select to upgrade their reward.
- ACTOP Labyrinth board plus $10
- ACTOP Labyrinth backer's original plus $20
- ACTOP yin-yang twins board plus $12
You may receive ACTOP Labyrinth and yin-yang twins boards additionally with your reward to increase pledge price plus $10 or $12 simply. Although the ACTOP yin-yang twins board is larger than the other basic board it is possible to enclose both in one box. If you order two add-on boards together, then the two special boards will be enclosed in a separate box.
About "Backers Choice" option we need to send survey mail to know your order request. So new pledge level is created for "Backers Choice" option. Please change your pledge level.
In addition, we will make two free rewards available to all backers if we reach our stretch goals.
- 1 : If funding reaches $5,000, all backers will receive the ACTOP DIY instructions.
- 2 : If funding reaches $10,000, all backers will receive an ACTOP Labyrinth postcard board.
10th July 2016 LOGY GAMES creator Mitsuo Yamamoto
ACTOP DIY instruction paper with author's signature $5 USD free shipping anywhere in the world
Let's make ACTOP by DIY to refer to instruction paper. All you need to prepare are: 99 cubes, 24 balance stones and a base board. LOGY GAMES statement authorizing you to make your original ACTOP and play anywhere in the world on the paper.
ACTOP standard $38 USD + $12 shipping fee anywhere in the world
12 poly-cubes are perfect for ordinary play.
ACTOP professional $70 USD + $18 shipping fee anywhere in the world
24 poly-cubes make the game very difficult to build the perfect tower. This is for school or skilled players group. But you can easily adjust the game to be suitable for the skill level of your members.
ACTOP standard double discount $72 USD + $20 shipping fee anywhere in the world
ACTOP standard and professional combination discount $100 USD + $25 shipping fee anywhere in the world
The game Ancient Construct was invented as a party game in 2008. Uniquely shaped ceramic stone cubes make it a very attractive balancing game although this game is difficult to mass produce due to the nature of the ceramic stones. The author tried re-designing the game to introduce a strategy element and with different materials in 2015. After several attempts, he was able to accomplish this goal by adding the balance stone element to the game. The game has been transformed into a strategic game, while keeping the fun of the original balancing game. The new game is ACTOP which stands for Ancient Construct Tower of the Philosopher.
We must stop making the original Ancient Construct in July because the component supplier no longer makes the cubes. Sadly, the original game will go Out Of Print shortly. We do have enough bits left to make about 10 copies, if that. You cannot order the original Ancient Construct in this KS campaign. However, it is possible to order it directly from LOGY GAMES. We can accept payment by PayPal. The price is $50 + $16 shipping fee world-wide. Additionally, you may order a set of score tiles for an extra $10. Please send your inquiry by e-mail to email@example.com
Risks and challenges
All games are craft articles made by hand. High demand could possibly delay our reward delivery schedule.
We are sure it is very valuable and unique game despite somewhat expensive international shipping from Japan. You could not get ACTOP from any other place in the world.
All rewards are shipped by Japan Post’s “international E-packet” which is registered as air small packet. You may receive tracking information from Japan Post.
VAT & Tariff
We provide our games by international shipping from Japan, your country may impose VAT and import tariff on the products according to its own policy. Since we are not up to date with the information about VAT/tariff policy of each country, it is recommended that each backer check with their country's policies beforehand. (Usually it is not imposed when the total price is below a certain threshold.) The typical procedure is that the backer pays these fees to the delivery company personnel when receiving the product.
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