2013-05-10 § Leave a Comment
2013-04-19 § 2 Comments
Quite a few people were surprised by my description of Adrift as a “new game” – even though it was very new at the time – because they had seen similar games or puzzles before.
Adrift puzzles are a little bit different, though: they’re on an unusual grid – the surface of half a cube, i.e. three square grids connected at the edges – and also there are rocks, squares you’re not allowed to use.
2013-03-13 § Leave a Comment
There’s a lovely new puzzle game for the iPhone called Adrift. I got it last week when I was in bed with flu, and it’s a fun way to spend a few hours.
The puzzles look like this:
And you solve them by connecting the coloured stars with paths of the same colour:
You can play a few demo levels on the web. This is a very simple example. Some of the more difficult ones are pretty fiendish.
2012-10-27 § Leave a Comment
Richard K Guy on John H Conway, in Mathematical People
I originally posted this to Posterous on 27 October, 2012. Posterous is closing down, so I have migrated it here on 13 March, 2013.
2012-07-23 § 23 Comments
The Prisoners’ Dilemma
The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a game, but a game that seems to bear lessons for the conduct of human affairs more generally, and it has attracted a great deal of attention from men not noted for their frivolity. It was discovered in 1950 at the RAND corporation, a military think-tank established after World War II by the United States Air Force to conduct a “program of study and research on the broad subject of intercontinental warfare”.
So it is a serious game, but a simple one for all that. It requires two players, let’s say you and me. There is only one move. Each of us must make a choice, to “cooperate” or “defect”, without knowing what the other has chosen. Perhaps each of us takes, from a chess board, one black and one white pawn, and as we face each other I put my hands behind my back and proffer a closed fist containing the pawn I have chosen. You make your choice, too, in the same way. Together we open our hands, and reveal what we have chosen. The black pawn represents the black heart of the defector, the white the innocence of the cooperator.
Now, the reckoning. Should we each reveal a white pawn, we have cooperated and each of us wins £20: a fair and happy outcome. If we both are blackhearts with black pawns in our hands, we win nothing. But wickedness is not without its rewards in this game, for if I hold black and you white then I win £40 – and you, looking sadly at the white pawn in your hand, must pay £10 for your naivety. « Read the rest of this entry »
2012-05-18 § Leave a Comment
2012-05-10 § 12 Comments
Editing text is the opposite of handling exceptions; or, to put it another way, editing text is like exception handling but backwards in time. I realise this is an unexpected claim, so I hope you will permit me to explain. Although it has the ring of nonsense, there is a perfectly good sense in which it is just straightforwardly true.
Ah yes, category theory. Our old friend. Elucidating structural connections between apparently disconnected topics since 1945. Let me tell you a story.