Lame Heron

2 readers, 5 topics

Randomness Does Not Imply Luck In Board Games

I often hear that randomness brings luck (therefore, unfair advantage for a weaker player) in a game. This idea is so strong and deep rooted in a general public that the words «luck», «randomness», «uncertainty» are often treated like interchangeable synonyms in discussions of game properties. Many people consider a game with a randomizer to be a low-grade push-your-luck childish trifle. I want to show you how wrong this judgment is.
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What Would It Look like If The Web Developers Run A Grocery Store

Imagine, you enter a grocery store to buy a loaf of bread.
— Welcome to the Shop & Co!
— Hello. I am looking for…
— Where have you been recently?
— In a hardware store. Why?
— Do you use a car to get to us?
— No, I use a bike.
— Which model?
— XYZ123. Fucking Why?!
— Have you been to our store before? Any receipts?
— Nope.
— Where are you from?
— Me?! From Lithuania.
— Why do you speak English then?
— ...I don't know, I feel like doing so.
— May I speak Lithuanian?
— No way! just give me fucking bread!
— We are so sorry, we do not have Lithuanian bread right now.
— Can you give me any other goddamn bread!!!
— Nope.

This is exactly what happens every time you visit a website.

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A Trap Hidden Deep Within Apache Cordova

During the development of the Cordova application «Siberian Dice» for Android I have encountered a particularly nasty trouble, so very tiny yet absolutely devastating. It was a very well hidden trap, and the experience of falling into this trap was so spectacular and puzzling that I was moved to create a stackoverflow.com account — imagine my frustration! It is a terrible feeling when you find out that the problem you just faced is not googleable, and even stackoverflow has no answer, not even a stupid one. So, I had to investigate it myself. I succeeded and (because I did not want anybody else to lose any more time on investigating the bug I already investigated) posted the solution on stackoverflow. And then I forgot the issue.
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Making A Game: Siberian Dice

I was asked to shed some light on the development process of Siberian Dice. Surprisingly, there are interesting aspects to speak about.

First of all, it was not meant to be a mobile application. It was all started as a purely mathematical endeavour. Initially, we wanted to investigate some properties of the game, once it appeared so elegant and sophisticated to us. At a certain point we decided to develop an AI, in order to produce some «real» games for further investigation, where by «some» I mean an amount orders of magnitude greater than a human can produce simply by playing the game full-time for several years.
So we did.
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A new game in town: Siberian Dice aka 37.6

Lame Heron has released a wonderful board game — embarrassingly simple albeit tremendously rich in strategies. This is an ancient game played by some indigenous tribes of Siberia isolated from the rest of the world for millennia. This marvelous game remained undiscovered until recently. Being invented and developed in nearly complete cultural isolation this game employs mechanisms very alien to a player of «western» origin. Although the mathematical and physical substance of the game is not from the parallel universe — it is still cubical dice and a hexagonal board well known to everybody — the dice are used in a very unorthodox manner, they are randomizers and the moving pieces at the same time. The goal of the game is also surprising, it does not fall in any usual category, it is not a «capture» goal, nor a «advance to» goal, neither is it a «connect» goal, not even a «dominate», yet it is a very simple condition clearly followed from the rules and easily readable on the board.
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