Archive for December, 2007

Choices

December 16, 2007

Just in time for Christmas, a card game for two players, using a standard deck of cards, Choices.

I feel it owes quite a lot to Cribbage, with more than a passing nod to the Solomon Draft format from Magic the Gathering.

The toughest part of this game is assigning sensible scores to the sets of cards, as this will drive the strategy that you use to pick and assign cards. I think that I’ve nailed it with the triangular number spread, after trying various other systems (linear, squares and cubes), it gives a boost to playing more cards, but not such a massive swing that the game can be won on a single hand.

As always, let me know if you have any thoughts about it, I’m always happy to get feedback, as it helps me shape future games.

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Random

December 6, 2007

It’s worth reminding yourself that if you are developing a game that makes use of a computer, and you want to generate random numbers, that computers are not very good at random.

They are great at almost-random, looks-random-to-me and might-as-well-be-random, but if it really needs to be totally random, as in a coin flip random, then it’s hard. My Countdown Game implementation doesn’t really need truly random numbers, online poker sites are not so lucky.

If you really need something to be random, and unduplicatable, then it’s possible, Jeff Atwood talks about it in a post on Card Shuffling on his blog.

You won’t often need poker site levels of randomness, just something that is good enough. I want people to just stop and think about what is good enough before you start throwing around Rand functions and taking bets from credit cards.

Classic Boardgames

December 2, 2007

All of the attention in the board game world turns towards the new board games, things like Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico, Ticket to Ride and other modern games. These are all great games, and I love playing them.

As Christmas approaches, I tend to find my thought drawn back to the classic boardgames. I think that these older games should not be forgotten in the rush to the new. They are games that are likely to be known by the whole family, understood and easy to pick up, and generally worth the time to play.

It can be a chore convincing parents, aunt, uncles, cousins or even grandparents to try to learn to play Puerto Rico, even though it is an excellent game. You won’t have this difficulty finding players for a game or Monoploy, or Cluedo.

Looking at all of the classic games I own, you can immediately see that some get played more often than others. Risk always struggles to draw a crowd, as can Cluedo. Monopoly is perpetually popular, but hard to play through to conclusion. I find that Scrabble is well loved, although some might feel it is more a word game than a board game.

If you find yourself playing games with your family over Christmas, give the old favourites a chance, you can always play your latest Spiel des Jahres winner with your friends another day, this time of the year is more about spending time with people that you will all enjoy, rather than winning at the latest hot game, or confusing other players with a hundred pages of rules.