Thursday, May 19, 2011

ZoxSo: Duality in Motion

Why is it called "ZoxSo?"

This morning I had intended to start writing my second post; this time about the development of ZoxSo from its earliest inception and structure until the final, completed and published form of the game.  However, it suddenly occurred to me that there's a bit of confusion about the name itself, and that I should first address why I chose the name ZoxSo and what it means to me.

This topic is a more straightforward one to cover -- and considerably shorter -- than my first post in this blog; a fact you will all no doubt be grateful for. 

Anyway, here's the thing about the name ZoxSo:

It's a bit like a Yin-Yang kind of thing, with each of the two words (Zox and So) representing one side of the dual nature of the pieces.

The Zox side:
I like to think of the word "Zox" -- my overall designation for the symbol-side, or rather the glyph side/personality of each piece -- as being the grunt, pawn, or soldier incarnation of that piece (one might even think of it as a kind of checker piece).

There are three different glyphs on the Zox side of the pieces:
1) One glyph representing the Xing (or emperor/monarch);
2) One glyph representing the Ma (or Three-Headed Horse);
3) One glyph representing the Dao (or Dagger);

Each glyph represents the Zox side aspect of the piece it is on, and may only exist, move, and capture on the "Pearls" of the ZoxSo board.  Most importantly, each of these three glyphs, though different from each other, are there only to indicate which picture (or rather, colored image) is on the reverse side (or "So" side) of that particular piece.  This is so that players may plan which piece to flip and move during the game, otherwise those glyphs might just as well be dots on that side of the pieces, or some other symbol common to all of them.

The So side:

I like to think of the word "So" (which is the name of the picture, or rather the colored-image side/personality of each piece), as being the soul of the piece.

There are three different colored-images on the So side of the pieces:
1) One colored-image displaying the Xing (or emperor/monarch);
2) One colored-image displaying the Ma (or Three-Headed Horse);
3) One colored-image displaying the Dao (or Dagger);

One might think of each So side image as a kind of elevated potential embodied in the duality of that piece.  When discussing this duality strictly in the context of the game itself, the So side personalities comprise the patterns of movement possible when a particular piece is existing, moving, and capturing on the "Stones" of the ZoxSo board.

Any single ZoxSo piece has the ability, on its turn, to make a move if it is on a Pearl, or to instead "flip" over onto an adjacent unoccupied Stone displaying the image on its other side, then remain on that Stone or make a move according to the So side movement ability of that piece.  It is important to note here that the reverse is also true:  Any single piece, on its turn, may make a move if it is on a Stone, or it may instead "flip" over onto an adjacent unoccupied Pearl displaying the glyph on its other side, and remain on that Pearl or make a move according to the Zox side movement patterns.

In ZoxSo, the game-mechanic of flipping is simply the ability to change the environment that the piece exists in, before one makes a move with that piece.

The concept of flipping however, may also be viewed as a kind of at-will promotion and demotion ability that is inherent in the piece.

In my next post(s) about ZoxSo, I will most likely be tracing the development of the game from inception to publication.

In the meantime, thank you for joining me once again.

-- deMarcus


  1. I'd like to know more about zoxso. It sounds like a cool game. The art on the pieces is awesome. Tell us more!
    A Fan

  2. Hi there, A Fan,

    If you'd like to know more about ZoxSo, for example: how to play, where to get it, or if you are interested in starting a ZoxSo game group or club, or running a ZoxSo event, etc., feel free to email me at the address below the post, ZoxSo: The Origin of a Game.

    You might also want to check out ZoxSo at or on my own web store at:

    Thanks for your comment!