Monday, December 27, 2010

Ghost Leg or 阿弥陀籤

Saw this on Metafilter:
"Amidakuji, or "Ghost Leg," is a lottery party game from Japan. At the top of a sheet there are a number of spaces for people to write their names. At the bottom there are prizes. There are an equal number of each. Between them is a map obscured behind a sheet. The map is made of straight vertical lines connecting the names and prizes. Connecting those lines at random intervals are horizontal lines. When it's time to pick winners, the sheet is removed and players can follow the lines to find their prize. You follow the line from your name down until you encounter any horizontal line, which you must follow, then continue down, continuing to follow all horizontal lines you encounter, until you reach your prize. No two horizontal lines can touch."
I'm attracted to the fact that 1) it's simple , using just paper and some kind of writing utensil, 2) it randomizes, 3) it does so in an engaging way-- with participants required to watch as the outcome is revealed. Not sure how I might use it in game, but an interesting tool to keep on the shelf.

Bonus geekery: this is where the old arcade game Amidar came from.


  1. The picture that goes with that is a pretty terrible example. B, C, D, and E all get prize 2. Prizes 3, 4, and 6 aren't even given to anyone!

  2. @Enix18: Actually, B gets 1, D gets 4 and E gets 6. A gets 3 (F gets 5).

    Nice find.

  3. Wow, I think I completely ignored the horizontal lines that were colored over in red. That's rather embarrassing.

  4. Each intersection could be an encounter. and you've got a dungeon that doesn't need a map.

    End points letters could emerge anywhere, even back into the map itself.

  5. No worries, Enix18, I'm still firming up the rules of how you are supposed to draw the lines.

    @Grim: that's great. I was just thinking something like Animal Arena matches with weird critical type outcomes at the bottom, but your idea has me thinking this could also be a simple way to have doors that lead into a maze and exits. Players wouldn't be able to tell which door leads to which exit without using them.