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Zendo house rules

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Suggested house rules for playing Zendo on the BlogNomic Slack:

  • Each Koan is constructed from a string of emoji, and marked with a black or white circle "reaction" emoji to represent a response stone.
  • At the start of the game, the Master announces a list of the emoji which are being used for the game.
  • The Master may choose to announce the possibly salient aspects of the emoji ("we are using these four food emoji; the fruit/vegetable aspect and the dominant colour are the only possible significant aspects") or to leave this as something to be worked out by the players ("we are using these five faces; any aspect of the graphic may be significant"). As a baseline, the emoji are simply considered to be distinct symbols. Any named aspects do not have to be used in the rule.
    • In particular, take into notice that Slack does not guarantee Unicode emoji to be rendered with the same art across various implementations, and any details outside the standardized meaning of the emoji may be lost.
  • Any spacing between emoji is irrelevant.
  • The Master maintains a pinned post listing all koans judged so far, and updates it as the game progresses.
  • When a game starts, players may join it by simply playing a move. When the Master announces that the round has ended, the turn order becomes locked in with those players, and repeats for the rest of the game.
  • From round 2 onwards, the channel topic lists the players of the game in turn order, and the number of guessing stones they possess, to be kept updated by the Master.
  • Players may not Mondo during the first round.
  • So that the next player knows whether to take their turn or not: if a player is considering making a guess after their Koan is judged, they must either stay online to respond to it immediately, or announce the possible intention when making the Koan.

Game 1 (WIP)

Available symbols: 🚗🏍️

Master: Zaratustra

Winner: None, game abandoned


Rule: A koan has the Buddha nature if it has more total wheels in the middle than on the ends.

Game 2 (WIP)

Available symbols: 💣🌈🍰

Master: Josh

Winner: Pokes


Rule: A koan has the Buddha nature if it has a 💣 somewhere between two 🌈s.

Game 3 (WIP)

Available symbols: ◀️▶️🔼

Master: Pokes

Winner: Bais


Rule: A koan has the Buddha-nature if there is an overlap between symbols, after each symbol has moved by a unit in the pointed direction. (As guess by Bais) Equivalently: A koan has the Buddha nature if it matches ▶️?◀️ (one of any symbol between arrows).

Game 4 (WIP)

Available symbols: 🟥🔵🟩

Master: NotAJumbleOfNumbers

Winner: Kevan


Rule: A koan must have at least twice as many red as blue, and at least as many blue as green.

Game 5 (WIP)

Available symbols: 💀👨‍🦱🐻🦍🤖

Master: Kevan

Winner: Bais


Rule: A koan has the budda nature unless it contains "X 🤖 X", where X is any non-🤖 symbol.

Game 6 (WIP)

Available symbols: ♣️♠️♥️♦️

Master: Bais

Winner: None, game abandoned


Rule: A koan has the Buddha nature if, after changing one symbol, it is a palindrome.

Game 7

Available symbols: tree, mushroom, sunflower

Master: NotAJumbleOfNumbers