Reflection Ball

A popular game of skill invented by the Rilanga and later re-discovered by the Rilsu.

History

During the First Civilization

According to the data on the Guardian of Identity, the rules for "Dango Mi Sanlu" were formalized in the year 392 NZR. As the influence of the Rilanga Union grew, the game gained in popularity all over the western half of Mustik Hamesi. It was especially popular among people from academic backgrounds, due to the emphasis on planning, precision and the physical principles behind the movement of the balls.

During the Turn of the Eras

Part of the Rilanga population survived the The Final War by moving to shelters in the Ralenlos Mountains before the last wave of attacks. While the basic elements of the game were passed on by those survivors, none of them had brought any of the necessary equipment along. Recreating such equipment had a very low priority, but attempts at reviving the game became more frequent after the First Harvest in the year 10 VZR.

During the Era of Recovery

The data on the Guardian of Identity was successfully decoded and fully catalogued by the summer of 130 VZR. In the years following this re-discovery of their cultural heritage, the game once again caught people's interest. New variants began to evolve and continue to do so today.

Components and tools

Table

The game is played on an octagonal table with a raised rim. The surface within these boundaries is covered in a smooth silk fabric. A hole in each of the eight corners leads to a second level which can be accessed from two sides.

Balls

Original Version
Dango Mi Sanlu used 20 balls of 4 different colors.
  • 1 white "guide" ball (piva)
  • 3 black "forbidden" balls (rurepubre)
  • 8 yellow balls (gemba)
  • 8 blue balls (tuba)
Modern Versions
The Rilsu developed several variants of the game with a wide range of ball configurations. The colors white and black were kept for the guide and forbidden balls (pifa and rorepupru, respectively), but those for the different players can have pretty much any color.   Computer simulations and especially Virtual Reality later made it possible to move beyond the constraints of the physical world. Consequently, some versions do not use color coding at all and instead mark the balls in other ways.   Some examples are:
  • Romatru ("avoidance") uses 1 guide ball, 17 forbidden balls and 2 distinctly-colored balls.
  • Vilpik ("four-houses") uses 1 guide ball, 3 forbidden balls and 4 distinctly-colored sets of 4 balls each.
  • Ronogmatru ("confusion") uses 1 guide ball, 3 forbidden balls and 2 similar-looking sets of 8 balls each.
  • Pitgusi ("melodic") uses 1 guide ball, 3 forbidden balls and 2 sets of 8 balls each. All of them are distinguished by the sound which they produce upon collision.

Driver Sticks

Each player has a "driver" stick (tundi in both Rilangun and Rile) for hitting the guide ball and knocking it in the direction of the other balls. The stick's appearance usually matches that of the player's ball set, at least in those variants which make use of visual properties.

Rules

Objective

The original incarnation of the game had two players pitted against each other, whereas some modern re-interpretations have more players or teams. Each player has to knock the balls of their own color into the holes in the table's corners. The first player to clear their set off the table wins, unless a player sinks one of the forbidden balls and thereby loses instantly.

Player Actions

Colored balls may only be moved by hitting them with the guide ball, which in turn is set into motion by a hit with the tip of the driver stick. Upon collision, the moving ball transfers its momentum to the next ball it hits, sending it in a direction which depends on the angle and point of contact. Additionally, the balls bounce off the table's inner walls. These chain reactions force the players to plan ahead for the path that any ball will take and aim their hit carefully to achieve the desired result.

Turns

The players take turns in hitting the guide ball. The point at which a turn ends depends on the variant they play. In the original game, it ended when the first ball hit by the guide was of any other color than the current player's set. Some versions played by the Rilsu have the turn end only when one of the forbidden balls is hit, and others have it end whenever a ball falls through one of the holes.
Table of Contents
Alternative name(s)
Tako Zanlupmi (Rile)
Dango Mi Sanlu (Rilangun)
Type
Game/Sport
Regulating organizations
  • Tako Zanlupmi kof Rovulru Sasmi
    World Association for Tako Zanlupmi
    (136 VZR - present)
  • Dango mi Sanlu kofo Tamak lul Rumastare
    Union's Organisation for Dango mi Sanlu
    (392 NZR - 0 VZR)
Major tournaments
  • Notgi Mulubmi Sasmi
    World Master Contest
  • Tundu-Iv lu Notgi Mulubmi
    Tundu-Iv Master Contest
  • Unga-Iv lu Notgi Mulubmi
    Unga-Iv Master Contest
  • Redo-Iv lu Notgi Mulubmi
    Redo-Iv Master Contest
  • Ibla lu Notgi Mulubmi
    Perimeter Master Contest

English
You're trying to bounce off all eight.
— used to tell someone that their goal is too difficult
Rile
Iru abruta sa sil reg kuz keb andiru.
— rohoru kof sia o vosru sil ra lu vog iru hadel uva
Rile
Iru abruta sa sil reg kuz keb andiru.
rohoru kof sia o vosru sil ra lu vog iru hadel uva


Cover image: by Kathrin Janowski

Comments

Author's Notes

This one got far longer than I intended. And now I really wish I could hang out with my colleagues for a few rounds of eight-ball pool. Or bowling, or table tennis, or... anything that is played in the physical reality. Stupid pandemic. -_-   The sidebar looks awfully empty right now - any ideas what you would like to see there?


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3 Dec, 2021 00:29

This is so well and clearly described! I wanna play Romatru :3

Creator, artist and writer of the science fantasy world Kingsmaker
4 Dec, 2021 13:26

Thank you! ^^ Heh, yeah, I imagine it to be an interesting challenge.

creator of the Kaleidoscope System, an alien star system shaped by a colorful radiation source   Mapvember 2021 | WorldEmber 2021 Pledge Document
3 Dec, 2021 08:48

Something you could add to the sidebar; things like in-universe tournaments or leagues of particular import, organizations that oversee rules, infractions, and so on, or players of fame (or infamy)? Superstitions is always another fun one to dig into.   Other than that, great work :D


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
4 Dec, 2021 13:29

Glad you like it, and thank you for all the great suggestions! You gave me a lot to think about.

creator of the Kaleidoscope System, an alien star system shaped by a colorful radiation source   Mapvember 2021 | WorldEmber 2021 Pledge Document
7 Dec, 2021 12:24

I like all the different varients of the game. I particularly like the one with all the forbidden balls. :O For the side bar, maybe a description of a(n) (in)famous game?

9 Dec, 2021 09:45

Thank you very much! Also for the interesting suggestion, I'll definitely think about it.

creator of the Kaleidoscope System, an alien star system shaped by a colorful radiation source   Mapvember 2021 | WorldEmber 2021 Pledge Document
17 Dec, 2021 01:11

So glad the game was revived, 'billiards' is really fun. I want to try romatru now. I really want to hear about what virtual reality can do for the game, play in a 4d space maybe?

Kriltch, arcanities not included.
17 Dec, 2021 09:00

I'm happy that you like it! Heh, seems like romatru is a really popular idea. ^^ Understandable, I'd love to try it, too.   As for virtual reality: 4d is definitely something I thought about - didn't want the article to get too long, but maybe I'll add it after all. I also imagine pitgusi as a VR game because then the sound of the balls does not depend on the physical material and therefore it does not alter the movement. And oh, I just had another idea - teleportation spots in the playing area could add another twist to planning one's move.

creator of the Kaleidoscope System, an alien star system shaped by a colorful radiation source   Mapvember 2021 | WorldEmber 2021 Pledge Document
2 Jan, 2022 20:29

The level of detail in this is awesome. My favorite is probably Pitgusi-- SO cool. Maybe the sidebar could show diagrams of the initial table setups for some of the different variants?

2 Jan, 2022 21:47

Thank you, I'm happy that you like it so much! ^^ Diagrams for the table setups are a great suggestion, I'll gladly add them!

creator of the Kaleidoscope System, an alien star system shaped by a colorful radiation source   Mapvember 2021 | WorldEmber 2021 Pledge Document
Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
16 Jan, 2022 16:40

Really nice work here! I love the combination of carefully described rules and great illustrations of the board/table in the sidebar.

Check out my Roway: The Crowned Jester, my entry for the Bardic Challenge
18 Jan, 2022 11:32

Thank you very much!

creator of the Kaleidoscope System, an alien star system shaped by a colorful radiation source   Mapvember 2021 | WorldEmber 2021 Pledge Document