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Topic: Skip to here: Boardwalk Game Design and Philosophy
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Mark G. Meyers

Posts: 8
From: Fairlee, VT
Registered: 3/20/10
Skip to here: Boardwalk Game Design and Philosophy
Posted: Apr 25, 2010 11:11 AM
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Who is interested in what phenomenon? I now have a philosophy page which describes what I find most (mathematically) interesting about this new genera of game-puzzle.

I'll paste the text right in here...

Boardwalk Philosophy

- On Luck Versus Skill -

The "deal" is defined as the arrangement of cards at the beginning of the game. We will presume any arrangement we consider to be random. The following paragraphs are to be taken collectively as the most profound truths of Boardwalk games.

The number of possible deals is so large, that the odds are very strongly against any one player experiencing the same game twice in a lifetime (or of being able to recollect such an occurrence if it did). Forming a precise, premeditated strategy is not regarded as possible.

In these games, the element of randomness also gives us the element of luck, and luck cannot be removed. Because of this, there is no ultimate law by which the player may know precisely what to do. The only way to know what precisely to do is to develop a strategy by which one performs plays that are in perfect accordance with a random deal. A random strategy is needed to play perfectly. "Vertigo" is used as a Boardwalk term to name the effect produced by the deal?s capacity to disorient the player on strategy.

When playing identical deals in competition, a player who knows what to do may be beaten by another player who skillfully draws upon greater possibilities. But in order to "beat the game" itself, and not just another player, one must first obtain a position whereby they can accurately predict its outcome. Where the game itself has been beaten, its outcome has been made known and it should no longer be regarded as a Boardwalk game. The example of knowing the outcome in any attempt to beat the game is exemplified by a player's ability to win (the given variation) on every attempt.

"Hysteresis" in Boardwalk is a word for saying, ?variability in outcome by luck alone?. It may be possible to produce an argument for beating the game on this basis; that when the player has exercised absolutely every last bit of skill that is possible, only the hysteresis will remain. Where hysteresis is the only variation from a totally predictable outcome, then the variation in outcome has been reduced to being purely the product of luck, and one might consider arguing the variation as no longer being a Boardwalk game. Care needs to be taken when producing the statement that all non-hysteresis has been removed, and to say so surely. Prior to this, the argument should not be honored.

This game offers the player an opportunity to apply great skill, and even to make variations requiring greater skill (such as with a larger deck of cards). My experience as inventor of the games, over the years, is now that the sense of strategy in Boardwalk teases the player into attempting to beat the game itself. Since by its definition it does not appear possible to achieve this result as a player and still call it a Boardwalk game, the game itself is offered as the equivalent of a modern, Buddhist "koan", or as a question which cannot be answered. The difference here is that there may be, but by definition, for a given variation it is never presently known if such a thing can be found.

Certainly if a computer were used to play the game, skill may be conceivably argued as something that could be managed by software, such that only hysteresis would remain and where literally every last bit of potential skill had been applied. Even so, that is not a human player, and more complex variations can be made, such as with a larger deck of cards.

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