The rules are simple. Take the Strange Worlds Arena. Add approximately five thousand randomly placed scoring tubes and approximately five thousand randomly placed Treasure Balls. Dump in one hundred and ninety-four newly minted Zone Pioneers. Simmer for six hours and declare a winning Hexagon.
The devil is in the details. There are three colors of scoring tubes: red, blue, and yellow. There are the same three colors of Treasure Balls. Every time a player puts a Treasure Ball into a scoring tube, they earn one point. There is a one point bonus if a ball is placed in the same color as the tube. There is also a one point bonus if the player places a ball in the tube corresponding to their home tunnel.
Each hollow scoring tube is about three feet high and three inches wide. They stay where they are randomly placed and can't be destroyed. Treasure Balls are about two inches wide and are perfect translucent spheres. They are just as durable as the tubes.
Players enter as teams through a randomly-selected Ready Room door and remain until six hours pass or they are "removed from play" and revived back to their Ready Room. Once "removed from play" the revived players may congregate at will and view the rest of the game, but may not reenter or communicate with anyone remaining in the Arena.
That's pretty much it.
Refer to "Treasure Ball Strategy & Tactics," Volumes One through Eighteen.
"Treasure Ball Strategy & Tactics," Volume Two: No plan survives contact with the enemy.
By Abner Doubleday
Everyone hates doing the math, but geometry is key to success in Treasure Ball.
The Arena is an equilateral triangle with three two thousand yard edges. The Arena area is about 1.7 million square yards. That means on the average there is a treasure ball and a scoring tube in ever 340 square yard "plot." Each of these "plots" is about 18 by 18 yards. In other words (on the average at least) chances are you are always standing within four or five body lengths of a Treasure Ball and a Scoring Tube.
"Treasure Ball Strategy & Tactics," Volume Six: The Futility of Combat
By H.G. Wells
Some of the most exciting moments in the annals of Treasure Ball are combat related. I would even go so far as to say that if the chance of combat were removed, Treasure Ball would enjoy a much smaller base of afficianos.
A thinking man can sit comfortably in his home and say, "but this should not be so." Careful analysis reveals that this is indeed the case -- fighting doesn't pay. A player can almost always win more points by diligently applying strategy combined with hard work (and to be sure a certain amount of luck) than by combat and subsequent theft of Treasure Balls.
Combat results in removal from the Arena -- perhaps not immediately but almost always inevitably. Greater minds than mine have pointed out that a dead player scores no more points.
This view was taken to extremes by a group organized by a philosopher named Hegetorides of Thasos. This Sage reasoned that the Arena was clearly designed not as a place of combat but to test men's ability to cooperate. The routines to set up Treasure Ball appear to have been built into the very fabric of the Arena. What is the ultimate goal of Treasure Ball but to achieve the maximum score?
Hegetorides gathered a team of like-minded followers (one hesitates to call them contestants). Over a period of nearly twenty years they engaged in fund raising, negotiating with Arena stakeholders, and careful planning with one end in mind -- to run a Treasure Ball game with no conflict and the ultimate possible high score. Hegetorides went so far as to claim that if this perfect score was ever obtained, something extraordinary would occur. His statements on just exactly what would happen were somewhat fuzzy. Perhaps the Arena builders would appear. Perhaps the participants would be elevated to some new level of existence. Perhaps both.
Finally the day came when they could afford to rent the Arena for ten hours. Two hundred well-trained followers from all tunnels and many races entered the Arena and carefully collected Treasure Balls. Every Ball was to be placed in the correct Scoring Tube to achieve the maximum three points. No Treasure Ball could be overlooked.
There would be approximately 5,000 Treasure Balls present, so every participant would need to find an average of 25 Treasure Balls, or approximately two and a half balls every hour. This seemed a realistic goal. On the other hand, there would be no way to know when the maximum possible score was achieved. Even as the score climbed above 15,000, who could say how many Treasure Balls remained hidden?
In fact, with minutes left, the score was 15,330. Hegetorides was sure perfection was at hand.
It was not to be. The score unexpectedly advanced to 15,331. In their rush, one of Hegetorides' followers made a mistake.
To date, nobody has thought to duplicate Hegetorides' experiment.
To put his lofty goal into perspective, the average attrition rate for a 'Phase of Doors' Treasure Ball game is just over thirty-five percent. This is typically a consequence of over one hundred combats.
Inefficient? To be certain. The maximum total of points ever scored in a "Phase of Doors" Treasure Ball game was a mere 4,927, a fraction of perfection.
"Treasure Ball Strategy & Tactics," Volume Eight: On Endgames.
By Fletcher Pratt
Students of the game often speculate how Treasure Balls' dynamics would change if players knew their team's score in real time. Most players can keep a running total of their personal scores, but with teammates often scattered across the Arena, how to know the most important metric of all?
This can have a profound impact on the end game. If your team is clearly behind, is it time to switch tactics to something more conservative or more risky? Then there is the fact that a player may not even know whether his teammates are still in play at all.
This becomes especially important in grudge matches or judicial duels, where it is equally important to assure "they lose" as it is to assure "we win."