The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

But you know that I know…

The Rueful Rabbit — for all of his flaws — does quite well at bridge. Mostly due to his amazing luck, but also because he knows an important fact: what is good for declarer must be bad for the defender.

If you throw in R.R. to let him cash his winners (for a suicide squeeze), he declines to cash them. “After all,” he’ll later say, “Papa seemed quite keen for me to win my tricks, and he’s quite a good player you know. So while I couldn’t quite work out exactly why, it seemed right to not do it.”

And then the Hog will chortle about Greek Gifts.

To imagine that I never heard the story about why the Soviet Union built a space shuttle (tip of the hat to S.S.C.). (Actually I had no idea they built one at all).

The short answer — the Soviets figured that NASA was grossly wrong about the cost-benefit analysis and assumed that there must be a really cool (military) use that they couldn’t figure out. So — in order to not be caught flat footed —  they figured they’d build a copy just to be ready.

(Of course the actual answer was that NASA was just engaged in routine overbidding).

Vhojha Moi!


Also of interest (albeit technical), a model of how increasing competition can lead to reduced merit of outcomes (but also on how pool sizes matter). One of the more meta-game-theory things I’ve read recently. This also had a link to the Blotto game, which I have played (in some forms) but never knew had a name. And — bonus! — the author is a boardgamer (who sadly rarely writes about such things).

But I did read his (spoiler-ific) review of The Three Body Problem trilogy, which I read last year, and which contains the following worthwhile advice, which brings us back full circle to his Ruefulness.

If your opponent is doing something that makes no sense, whose purpose you can’t understand, which you have no explanation for why they might do it, assume it is highly dangerous. They are the enemy. They have a reasons they chose to take this action. That might be ‘they are an idiot who is flailing around and doesn’t know anything better to do.’ Maybe. Be skeptical.

 

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Written by taogaming

February 2, 2019 at 9:13 pm

Posted in Linky Love, Non-Gaming

One Response

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  1. Thanks for the link to the Three Body Problem review. I read all three books last year and found them interesting but inscrutable (esp. in terms of character motivations and actions; I’m not qualified to speak to the plausibility of the physics, but the little research I did left me more skeptical than convinced).

    The review makes a lot of compelling points about Cixin Liu’s troubling cynicism.

    Jon Waddington

    February 5, 2019 at 10:54 am


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