The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Archive for the ‘Linky Love’ Category

RIP Prince Joli Kansil

I just noticed that Joli Kansil (designer of Montage, Marrekesh, Bridgette and others) died last month from a notice on BGG. From my (brief) interactions with him at a convention or two (just sitting around, talking, mostly) Joli was old-school cool. The sort of person who’d galavant around the world, take a European casino for a few thousand pounds, and look incredible doing it. His games were twists on classics. It’s hard to improve Backgammon or Bridge, but even credibly mixing the two (or turning a partnership game like Bridge into a reasonable two player game) are more achievement than most designers get.

It is easy to romanticize the past, but his games have a style that doesn’t really much exist now (except in abstracts and classics) and Kansil gamed and developed with world-class game celebrities, in scenes I imagine from Sean Connery Bond movies. Marrakesh had a small strategy guide by Oswald Jacoby (IIRC). Bridgette’s co-designers were some of the first Life Masters of Bridge (back when there were but a handful).

But there is more to life than games, so check out the Jolie Kansil wikipedia page for more information.

Written by taogaming

April 12, 2023 at 10:41 am

Posted in Bridge, Linky Love

Tagged with

Random Links for Early 2023

And I also posted a geeklist of “Good Games I haven’t played in 5+ years

Written by taogaming

April 10, 2023 at 10:15 am

Posted in Linky Love

Regarding Cyberpunk the RPG and its literary value

Via r/slatestarcodex (of all places), I discovered this fascinating article covering the “unkillable” Cyberpunk Franchise (based on the RPG). I don’t normally talk about RPGs, but I played them back in the day and that included Cyberpunk 2020. It’s a good (long) read, but it has some great points and brought back memories. I’d actually watched several minutes of the new Netflix anime and turned it off as “meh,” but I guess I’ll give it a second go.

Anyway, there are a number of good points the author brings up, including the over-use of orphans as a trope meant to free the story, and how Mike Pondsmith’s rejection of the trope and inclusion of family grounds his setting.

Written by taogaming

December 9, 2022 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Linky Love, TV & Media

Tagged with

A problem with computer Go engines

Ars Technica is reporting on adversarial algorithms that can defeat the (world class) Go Computers …. by exploiting the fact that they don’t really understand the rules and can be tricked into ending the game (via passing) in a position that looks dominant but actually scores against them.


Written by taogaming

November 8, 2022 at 8:07 pm

If you read only one webpage a day …

Then you are done. Log off, or at least shut down your brower.

But if you read more than one, why not try the Onion’s Amicus Brief in support of parody.

Written by taogaming

October 7, 2022 at 1:09 pm

Posted in Linky Love

Tagged with , , ,

July Links

I’ve become quietly addicted to Money Stuff by Matt Levine, which covers stock trading, banking and the shenanigans that rest therein. (Bloomberg appears to embargo them until they are a day or two old, but you can find them copied on other sites, although he took a lot of July off). I was reminded of this when I saw a link that pulled this quote:

If FIFTY BANKERS ever arrive at your office all at once, (1) you have done something terrible but (2) it is absolutely their problem, not yours.

And a bonus quote (from a different day):

I assume that if you go to [the University of] Chicago and you find a way to beat the market by 10% and you publish it, they will not give you your Ph.D. This is Chicago! They have standards to uphold. They’re not gonna let you go out and put $10 bills on the sidewalk.

Money Stuff July 11th (?)

Are you in the mood for some fun scams? Of course you are. The Sting — Cricket Edition.

I’ve previously linked to 17776 and 20020, stories about football in a utopian future. So when I saw a post called Nobody Will Admit the Best Novel of our Generation is About Football, I was intrigued. It isn’t either of the prior stories, but is by the same author — Jon Bois (and predates the other stories). Again, football + weirdness. “Best Novel of our Generation” is an overbid, especially as its more of a web-novella; but I liked it. The Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles.

Railroads with no Engines. I seem to recall that this was also used for barges before RRs existed.

What is Dracula about? Standardizing the time system, obviously.

Crab stamps become collectable due to improbable typography error.

The D&D TV Show sequel as … Brazilian car commercial.

Some crowdsourced data on the all potato diet. (I’ve been following that site’s investigation asking if chemicals in water is the/a cause of the obesity in the last 50 years).

Tom Lehmann wrote a strategy article for Dice Realms.

Poem of the Month? Moriturus (by Edna St. Vincent Millay)

There are a bunch of jobs that didn’t exist when I was a kid (Twitch Streamer, for example). The latest? Professional Bridesmaid. [H/T Marginal Revolution]

If humans have hundreds of cognitive biases, does that mean that humans have lots of cognitive biases … or that we are adding epicycles to a wrong theory of human decision making?

David Friedmann’s economist jokes.

Flipping the Forer effect (Wikipedia) on it’s head.

AlphaFold has predicted the structure of 200 million proteins …. including all the ones that are inside the human body. In other machine-learning/AI news, someone has used GPT-3 to build regular expressions (for pattern matching) by describing what you want. (I will likely use that at work).

Kareem is on substack? Kareem is on substack!

The composer (and bridge player) Arnold Rosner once complained that “his name appeared in the NY Times more in the bridge column than in the music column.” (I’d never heard of him in either context). Now articles are calling his posthumously published Requiem (composed in ’73!) one of the great Chorale pieces of the last hundred years?! Listen to it on Youtube. (A strange mix of old and new, each track in a different style, religion, and language).

We turned a dead spider into a robot sounds more like decent premise for a horror movie, but is now reality … presumably it will turn into a horror movie soon enough. (Bonus points for labelling the field “Necrobotics”. Have we learned nothing from Chess playing robots that break fingers? I say, let the dead-spider-robot-wookie win.

Written by taogaming

July 29, 2022 at 11:59 am

Posted in Linky Love

May/June Links

A computer science prof from Berkeley gave a lecture about the problems with crypto currency, and was then interviewed by Current Affairs, titled “Why Crypto should die in a fire.” I’d been leaning against Crypto (a comment on BGG: “If crypto is currency, why do they need to advertise?” struck a chord) … now I’m sold. (I did watch the video, but the interview has everything important and is faster). (Via Slashdot)

Software crashes all the time, but software can save disoriented (or unconscious) pilots by taking control to prevent a crash.

Someone on reddit posted a link to Pagat’s rules for Cuttle, calling it the original “Combat card game” (whatever that is). Looks interesting.

I don’t know what I’d use 1 Petabit per second for; I suspect I’d find something.

Wizards of the Coast is hiring a “Senior Design Economist” for Magic.

Neil Gaiman’s anecdote about how he got over imposter syndrome, a little.

How much of the income gains from higher education go to landlords?

How Raymond Smullyan lost a bet involving the Birthday Paradox.

Kramnik on the current Candidates Tournament: “I have never seen so many bad games in a top-level tournament.”

Written by taogaming

June 26, 2022 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Linky Love

Gaming Tease of the Day

The academic in me badly wants to take you all on a quick survey of trick-taking games in poetry and prose from 1712 to 1872, but I’ll restrain myself for now. 

Cole Wehrle

Full context with plenty of words but not those that you really wanted is here.

Written by taogaming

April 19, 2022 at 11:21 am

Posted in Linky Love

A few links

Idol Words — You have to love a short story which starts with the author apologizing to Raymond Smullyan.

Conan O’Brien had Paul Rudd on his Podcast, and you can guess what happened next. (Assuming you know their history).

I had not seen much on Google’s Pathway Language Model before Marginal Revolution posted about it with the great title …. The Chinese Room Thinks.

RIP Bridge legend Eddie Kantar.

A cool sculpture — Mephistopheles and Margaretta.

Wargaming the sinking of the Moskva via the latest Harpoon rules. (H/T Isegoria)

Regarding my earlier post on the “Computers beat world bridge champions” … Kit Woolsey is doing the analysis at Bridge Winners. (Here’s his analysis of Benedicte vs Nook). My personal takeaway …. it’s probably not enough to call it “rigged,” but at the very least Nook had a much, much better insight as to what bad/random plays would cause the defending robots to give away tricks. Nook sometimes found legitimately better lines than the humans, but it won lots of hands by punishing the weak.

This isn’t a question of whether or not Nook is a better declarer than world class experts. We know the answer to that. World class experts better declarers under normal settings — so far.

What we are trying to understand is what problems the program is having, and how these problems can be resolved. The fact that Nook does so well in the game of “exploit WB5” [The defending robot/program — Tao] is truly impressive. Can the same type of learning approach be successful when it comes to training against actual opponents? We shall see.

Kit Woolsey

I’ll put up thoughts on this year’s Gathering in a day or few.

Written by taogaming

April 17, 2022 at 10:01 pm

Posted in Linky Love

Links — Spooky- and Non-

Written by taogaming

October 31, 2021 at 8:30 am

Posted in Linky Love