Sunday, April 08, 2007

Weekend Gaming

Rachel was invited to teach in Beit Shemesh for shabbat. Meanwhile, my parents were away for shabbat. So we stayed in their house.

Naturally, somehow the house experienced an electrical outage, followed by a plumbing leak in the ceiling while we were there, which resulted in my having to explain to my skeptical father that "it just happened" and "we didn't touch anything".

Dinner at friends (the Ehrmans), and lunch at friends (the Fensters).

Team Hearts

I taught Team Hearts to Tal and two of the Fenster children. All had played Hearts before. Team Hearts is like regular Hearts, except that you always pass across to your partner. Shooting the moon is still an individual act, but give points only to your opponents, of course.

Just about any card game is much better when played as a team game. From being able to signal with the pass, to the subtle play of giving bad cards to your opponents rather than to your partner, the tactics of the game are heightened immensely.

Nevertheless, Tal didn't like it because you can't "dump" your bad cards on your partner.

Rules of Card Games

I didn't play any other games, but I saw this delightful book at the Elkins, yet more friends of ours. It is one of those classic books on card games, dating back to the late 1800s. As such, it includes not only rules of play but chapters on organizing card parties, teaching games to children, and card play etiquette.

It is quite amusing.

Children's first card games are, according to the book, at age four, where they learn to pick up the cards and throw them across the house.

When planning parties, if you have four strong Bridge players and four weaker players, sit the strong players together and the weaker players together, but try to avoid explaining to anyone why you did so. Also, don't let couple play together, to avoid arguments.

Apparently, the hostess (sic) decides not only on the games played but also on all the rules of play, so as to avoid the participants getting into any arguments about what to play.

And furthermore, it was as true then as it is today: regardless of how well you know the rules, no one likes to wait around for a slow player mumbling to himself over every play, "Oh, I just don't know what to play." [emphasis the book's]

I didn't get to read more, but I hope to borrow it when my friend is done with it.

Looking for Game Books

By the way, if anyone has any books about games of any sort, I am always interested in acquiring them.

Game News

Singapore's Pitstop Cafe lists five things it likes about board games.

The 15th World Computer-Chess Championship and the 12th Computer Olympiad will be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in conjunction with the Computer Games Workshop 2007 (CGW2007).

Computer programs will compete in the following games:

Chinese Chess
8x8 Checkers
Computational Pool
Dots and Boxes
10x10 Draughts
9x9 Go
Lines of Action
6x7 OCTI
9x9 OCTI

Other notes:
The game of Renju, claimed to be solved, is still welcome since we have not seen a fully-operational program on internet that plays perfectly. Moreover, we are willing to host more games, such as Ataxx, Dvonn, Mediocrity, Onyx, Tamsk, TwixT and Zèrtz but we do not know of the existence of adequately playing programs. We are awaiting suggestions and proposals of programmers before we include them in the official list given above.
Don't Drink & Drive is a game that tries to discourage drunk driving, apparently. At a website called "Drinking Fun".

And in more fallout from the war in Iraq, nightly games of Backgammon by displaced Iraqi refugees give their Egyptian hosts insomnia.


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