Sunday, November 24, 2013

Clue Variant: Death Clue

Have I mentioned Death Clue before? I feel like I have.

In regular Clue, you set three cards aside at the beginning of the game, and the players try to deduce what those three cards are by figuring out what cards are in each others' hands.

...if you haven't seen the movie...In Death Clue, each player is dealt three cards and the name of ANOTHER player, tries to deduce what THAT player is holding in their hand, and is required to lie (pass) when THAT player asks for clues. Goal is to "kill" THAT player by guessing their hand, but you can also "kill" whoever's hunting you. Everybody (usually) survives to the endgame and the endgame is pretty quick.

"Resistance: Avalon" is my Sunday group's go-to game. It's fast, easy, a little bit of strategy and lots of persuasion. For us (~5 or 6 players) it tends to be one-sided, and I'm pondering how to change that.

Current notion is to hybridize it with Death Clue while preserving the talky/cooperative aspects. (Don't know how. Might not be possible.)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

widgets breaking

Soooo obviously blogspot is having some problems. I should look at the code (what it'll let me) now that I've learned a few things but I really don't want to. Let's wait and see what else breaks first. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Today, I walked into a computer lab, opened a Chrome browser window, and logged into my email. I happened to look at the bookmark toolbar, and what do I see? Bookmarks I'd used at my old job. Bookmarks which represent proprietary information that I'm no longer privileged to - not so serious for my old employer, but this is could be a dangerous breach for other enterprises. (Nevermind political scandal from public officials leaking private habits into their workplaces.)

So I look at the browser's "sync" settings, and everything is synced by default.

Including autofill. 

Y'know, the thing that records everything you type into a browser? How did the fine lads at google look at this and say "yes, let's share everything by default! This does NOT risk the leaking of privileged information!"

This may be actually, actionably, criminally illegal.

What the hell guys.

Friday, October 4, 2013

How valuable is range

After an afternoon of trying to calculate exactly how often two randomly placed 'Mechs would be any given distance from each other, I noticed that the distribution was going to look something like sqrt(x^2 + y^2 - r^2), where x and y are the length and width of a rectangular board, and r is the distance between any two randomly selected points on that board. (The actual equation may feature arcsins, and would have some sort of scaling factor, but I figure this is close enough to fudge the rest.)

Pretty sure it only works this way because the maps have square borders... there are just a ton of ways that you can place two 'Mechs at range 1, and only a little fewer at range 2, but as your range gets longer you start getting trapped going corner-to-corner. There's not many ways to do that, so the curve drops off sharply. It zeroes out when you finally go off the map.

A circular border would have a different distribution (sqrt(xy)-r, maybe?) and the curve for an infinite map might instead march continuously upward.

Of course, this is just the distance between two randomly selected points. In a boardgame, those points won't be random, and the terrain is rarely so perfectly flat and open. For BattleTech, when the scenario prevents kiting, I'd guess that range decreases in usefulness more or less linearly from range 1 and zeroes around range 30. (You could calculate these values exactly, given a known distribution of terrain and combatants and victory conditions, but it'd be hassle because those things change so often.)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gravities * Days^2 = Light Minutes

Hey all, just wanted to say this quick before I forget again:

Suppose you are floating at rest relative to the local star, then accelerate at a constant rate towards a planet, and when you're halfway to that planet you flip end over end and decelerate at that same constant rate, eventually coming to rest above the planet.

If you measure your acceleration in gravities (~9.81 m/s/s) and your time in days (~86400s), then Gravities * Days^2 = the distance you travel in units of 61 light-seconds. That's close enough to light-minutes to make a super easy rule of thumb.

Of course, in a "real" situation you'd want to account for the planet's orbital position and orbital motion, gradually change your acceleration to help passengers transition from the old planetary gravity to the coming planetary gravity, account for relativistic dilation on month+ trips, track fuel use and how the rate of use changes as fuel is expended... probably other things.

But hey! Super easy rule of thumb.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Math Puzzle

I spent way too much time today trying to figure out this math puzzle. The results he wants are equivalent to rolling 1d4 twice and keeping the lowest result:

He wants to use d2s exclusively, and you can reproduce a d4 with two 1d2s easily enough. If you're actually sticking to coins, for instance, you could say "flip a shiny penny, a shiny nickel, a dull penny and a dull nickel. Face-up coins get their full value, tails-up coins get zero value, take the lower value of shiny+shiny and dull+dull." That would give you 6 cents 1/16th of the time, 5 cents 3/16ths of the time, 1 cent 5/16ths of the time, and 0 cents 7/16ths of the time.

The trick is that he wants all d2s to have uniform face values, and because d2s only have two faces, all of those other tricks he mentions are going to come out the same as just adding the dice together. At least, everything else I've tried so far has come out that way, and I'm pretty sure you can't get the 1/3/5/7 ratio just by straight summing the roll.

Okay, [(3d2 - 2)*1d2]/2, round up, seems to work. It's not the friendliest looking thing, but I don't think the solutions can get much better.

Anyways, I was looking at that chart I drew of the 1/3/5/7 ratio, and I thought, hey, that kind of looks like my bullseyes. But, instead of summing two dice like the 2d6 rolls I graphed before, it chooses between two independent rolls! That's more flexible, mechanically; and it's nice to see that the stripes don't thin towards the rim. I guess I'm now hoping to find a 1dX roll that thins evenly and infinitely towards the center. So I can roll two of them for every roll, and allocate them between disconnected aspects of the action.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring Thaw

Been less active online the last few months due to being more active offline - studying towards an Associates degree, and some old circles have been reconvening for videogames or boardgames or RPG or drinks or potlucks. Basically just enough to stay in touch, and to remind me I know zero dances and zero recipes.

An old friend invited me to join him in MechWarrior Online. I've not tried yet; my technology ain't up to par, and I'm not sure I can spare the time it'd take to enjoy it.

Might have a little time again now to dig back into the mechanics of BattleTech gameplay; I'll see which of my shelved half-thoughts are worth dusting off and posting.

Unrelated: I finally saw the Speed Racer movie. Surprisingly fun.