Where the Light Gets In

By DHThomas

Master of all games

artist and maker
of games of all types and themes
up in his garret

We had a great picnic lunch in a small park (where I swear we met Three Billy Goats Gruff's Troll! - see Flickr set) with Philippe on Saturday, then went back to his little room to see his art and play some of his newer games.

I'm really in awe of Philippe's inventiveness.

What you see in Flickr is the matrix for a mold to produce small plaster versions of trompe-l'oeil copies of well-known works, here of course Leonardo's Mona Lisa, but he also has a Van Gogh selfportrait, a Venus de Milo, a Botticelli's Venus, a Marilyn Monroe... He's currently looking for a gallery to represent him.

Regarding games, he's got a big file full of ideas, which he takes out one at a time to develop. His latest is themed around an orchestra, where you have to score points by making the conductor choose options, but also by managing the public and of course, play some actual tunes (metaphorically, no instruments are provided!). It's in the first stages of production, with all cards involved being simple pieces of paper. But he's now going to work on them to make them attractive to a potential games company and, knowing how he made all the others, it will look beautiful when it's finished! We also played another recent game of his called "Hansel and Gretel" shown in the main photo along with its inventor/maker's hand and arm. Each player has three stacks of cards (the very ones in the photo) marked with three types of candy: marshmallow, licorice and jelly beans, with a progression towards the witch's house. In the middle of the table is a pile of tiles marked with the same. The aim of the game is to pick up tiles in the manner of a mikado game (ie picking one without moving any other, as demonstrated by Julie) so as to gain candy in each of the three houses. There are finer points to the rules, but I'll spare you! When one of the players has gone through all the stages and reached one of the witch's houses, that house is closed and no other player can advance in it. When all houses are closed, the game is finished and points are counted: those marked on the house cards (15 if you're the one who closed the house, 11 if you've reached the stage just before etc. until -5 if you haven't advanced one single stage in the house), but also points you might have gained by performing bonus tasks, or just picked up from the jumble, or by candy tiles you've saved to the side (the player with the more extra candy of one type gains extra points).

All this to say: I lost the game we played because I made a tactical mistake which was to pick up no tile in one of the houses, which meant I was stuck with a -5 in that house and therefore was at a great disadvantage! ;-) I'll do better next time!

The last game presented in Flickr is a word game. It's a two-player game where you have to advance towards your opponent's baseline (the first four lines of the grid) by finding words containing all the letters that join two of your rings. The game stops when one of the players has all of their rings in the opponent's baseline... Of course each "side" is the exact mirror of the other, so as to give equal chances to both players. The board has lots of possibilities, as the tiles are squares of 2x2 letters placed at random in one of the sides, and mirrored in the other at the beginning of the game.

On a totally different subject: it's the second (and last!) round of our General Election today. President Macron's movement is sure to gain an overwhelming majority (probably more than 400 of the 577 seats in our Assemblée Nationale (house of commons/representatives). I'm still balancing between voting for the woman who represents him or "none of the above" (which would just mean leaving my ballot envelope empty).

Finally, if anyone is interested in Philippe's tattoos (I'm thinking especially of Al, but maybe other people will wonder), they're representations of constellations. I'm not a keen enough astronomer to tell you what they are, but rest assured they are actual constellations we can see above our heads when the skies are clear (I suppose they're constellations we can only see in the northern hemisphere, but I might be wrong!).

I haven't written at such length here for a very long while... Must be a good sign!

Sign in or get an account to comment.