Not About Apples: Impossible!

30 July 2009

Yup, there’s a new one up today.

Permalink: Mathematician-speak: Impossible.


BC Comix … Dominion …

28 July 2009

Here’s some exciting news for those of you in my neck of the woods — there’s a comic shop / game store in Fenton!  For the first time since leaving Columbus I have a local game store!  Actually they opened for business on the first of May, I am told, but I first stumbled into the place on Friday.

My wife and were passing by after getting some groceries at VGs when she suggested a drive-by game purchase.  The owners were extremely friendly and helpful; actually the store had been closed for over an hour when I showed up, but he graciously let me in.

On the recommendation of the proprietors, Bob and Chris, I picked up “The Red Dragon Inn”, a game where archetypal RPG characters are drinking and gambling at the local inn.  Run out of gold, and they’ll throw you out.  Drink too much or get too hurt and you’ll pass out.  Last one conscious with gold wins.  Haven’t played it yet, hope to soon, will post a review when I do.  Looks cutthroat and fun without being too complicated.

Heaven knows it’s hard to get a new business going under the best of times, and this isn’t the best of times, so anyone in the Fenton area, head over to BC Comix on Silver Lake Parkway and  buy yourself a comic book or a new game, depending on your lifestyle.  Don’t forget that buying a board game and sitting down with your family or a group of friends — even if you only play it once and then throw it away — is a better value for time and money than going to a movie theater and buying popcorn, candy, and soda.

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Ad Verbum

28 July 2009

I have always been a fan of “interactive fiction”, an old (practically prehistoric nowadays, you might think, but you’d be surprised) genre of computer game, where you interact with the game through short commands like “go north” or “take sword” or “push blue button” or “give blue gem to frog”.  (I prefer the name “interactive fiction”, but these games are sometimes called “adventure games”, after Adventure, an early example of the genre.)

You can get to a bunch of them, most of which I haven’t played yet, through the “iFiction” link.

The game I stumbled on today, Ad Verbum by Nick Montfort, is a gem.

The premise is a spoof on the old cliche: you must collect all the “treasures” (read: “junk”) from a condemned mansion and put them in the “atrophy case”.  The twist?  Wordplay.  The specific words you use are as important as what they mean.  For example, in the western room of the initial *snicker* floor, only words beginning with w are recognized.  There’s an obvious wooden weapon you need to collect, but how to get it? “take weapon” and “get weapon” won’t work.  And once you have it, how will you get out of the room?  Not by typing “east”…  So much originality.

My personal favorite puzzle: disposing of the pile of feed.  But getting the sofa down the stairs is a close runner up.

It’s not a long game (I beat it in a sitting, and my lunchbreaks are short), but it’s brilliant.  Try it.

The Great Peter Pan Fiasco

27 July 2009

At the end of last week, my daughter went to see a local production of Peter Pan.  So I cannot help but think about a certain infamous production of Peter Pan.  Now, I did not see the production personally, but I’m pretty sure that the version my daughter saw was both less disastrous and less entertaining than the one you’ll find if you follow that link.

Not About Apples: Farkle?

27 July 2009

New article at Not About Apples.  This time, we look at the dice game Farkle with the aid of some basic combinatorics.

Permalink: Multinomial Coefficients and Farkle

How many dyslexic lightbulbs does it take to change a person?

24 July 2009

Lately my six-year old daughter has starting telling jokes, mostly knock-knock jokes.  Of course, she doesn’t really grasp all the aesthetic nuances of the form.  A typical joke:

Who’s there?
Gabriel who?
I’m a dinosaur and I’m going to eat you!

That got me thinking about joke forms, like knock-knock jokes, guy walks into a bar jokes, lightbulb jokes, what do you get when you cross jokes, and so forth.

My own favorite knock-knock joke? Maybe this one, which I learned on one of the Prairie Home Companion Joke Shows.
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Not About Apples: Casting Out Nines

23 July 2009

New article at Not About Apples. Inspired by a conversation I had a little way back at my favorite coffeeshop, the Cafe Aroma in Fenton.

Permalink: Casting Out Nines (and Elevens, and Sevens . . .)