The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

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Watching AlphaGo

Apparently its much stronger while using only 10% of its CPU. (Echoes of the “humans only use 10% of their brain” myth). The interesting thing is that apparently Ke Jie used some of AlphaGo’s opening moves and there’s a weird grouping in the upper left.  (Even though the game was over, I’m watching a ‘real time’ video with commentary….with some web browsing while waiting for moves)

I’m certainly not good enough to comment, but even with a glancing knowledge you can see how AlphaGo has changed the conventional wisdom about the game…


Written by taogaming

May 23, 2017 at 8:22 pm

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More Factorio, all the time

  1. I watched Anti-Elitz’s new WR speedrun live. Another “Well, I can’t get any geekier” moment come and gone. (I actually went and had lunch during some of the early restarts, but I saw the last 1.5 hours of the WR run). As I said to Mrs. Tao — The difference between this and the rest of the nation’s sports viewing today is that they’ll never actually play college basketball. (Some of A.E.s new designs are clever, although he’s optimizing for fewest keystrokes/mouseclicks instead of other aspects. But optimization is optimization).
  2. I wrote an actual strategy post for Factorio and posted it to reddit. It concerns the use of negative feedback to promote factory resilience. And I say (with all due modesty) that a) that’s a better title and b) more use of control theory than my Master’s Thesis. That would have really depressed me 25 years ago.

Written by taogaming

March 26, 2017 at 7:49 pm

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Factorio Train Debugging

(This post is so that people can help debug my train layout. Nothing to see here unless you are into that).

Update — There is a single rail missing right above the station in the first picture. But you can’t see it because the toolbar blocks it, and the locomotive obscures the view. Thanks to everyone who helped.)

Here’s the layout. The train can go to OilLoading-1 or OilLoading-2 but not back to OilUnloading.

Map Layout


Here’s a look at the OilUnloading Station. I think it says NoPath because … honestly I’m not sure. If I hit “Go to OilLoading-1” it does. Is it trying to go to Unloading even though its there?

Unloading station

Walking to the NW, we can see a junction. The most likely culprit.

Main intersection


Continuing, its a long stretch with a few links just to break things up (for future traffic).

Next links

More links


Finally we get towards the outpost.

Join into loading station

loading station


Ideas appreciated.

Written by taogaming

March 25, 2017 at 5:40 pm

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Bright Lights, Bad Kitty

So, the TaoLing got the new Machi Koro for his birthday. I would have recommended he save his money, because the scuttlebutt was that it was not great value — especially since we already have Machi Koro. But  I was not consulted. So — how does it play?

Bad Kitty has a number of incremental improvements over base game plus harbor:

  1. Instead of having 10 available cards, you have 5 ‘cheap’ (1-6 cost) cards and 5 expensive (7+) cards and two purple cards (which are their own stack). This is a good idea. You could replicate this by sleeving your game with three different colors, or just stacking them. I’ll probably steal this.
  2. The 22 cost development is “Roll three dice, choose 2” which seems better, and is also liftable into the base game.
  3. There are a few new buildings.

The new buildings are decent. The Member’s only club is a red 12-14 that steals all of an opponents money, if they have 3+ developments finished. The french restaurant is a ‘5’ red that steals 5 if they have 2+ developments finished. There is a building that forces you to undevelop one of your developments, but pays $8. And another building that forces you to give up a building to an opponent for $4.

So? My opinion? This is a perfectly fine version of Machi Koro with a few nice improvements, but not worth $30 if you already have it. [I am ignoring the much worse box insert, with which I agree, and complaints about poor card quality, which I did not notice].

Rating — Whatever your rating of Machi Koro is, roughly. For me? Suggest.

Written by taogaming

October 8, 2016 at 12:17 pm

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Bonus Post — Asking again, How many kingdoms are there?

If my math is right, there are now 260 kingdom cards (per the Dominion Wikipedia Page). So a (low) estimate is 260 choose 10. But let’s consider Black Market!

There are 259 choose 9 kingdoms with black market. But each of them has 250 choose 15 possible black market decks. So we need to multiple those numbers together. That gives us almost 5.8e+39.

(We also have the 259 choose 10 kingdoms without black market, but that’s just a rounding error compared to BM options).

For each of those Black Market kingdoms (and the trivially few — roughly 313 quintillion — that don’t have black market) we have to include events! There are 34, and if we limit ourselves to either having none or choosing two, then we have 562 options, so that’s up to 3.24e+42. Discounting the (trivial) number of sets that are all prosperity or dark ages, any kingdom with 1-9 of those cards have two options (with Platinum or without / with estates or with the new dark ages version). So some number of kingdoms are doubled, and some quadrupled.

It may well be that this universe is basically just an elegant kingdom randomizer for Dominion, and once we get the fundamental level of physics, the math will translate to. “Select an atom at random from the universe — it has been shaken well, albeit several billion years ago — and read the instructions on which kingdom layout it represents. Use other atoms to make the components….”

Written by taogaming

September 2, 2016 at 10:53 pm

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Things I could have told you without data

“5000+ games were released last year. Most were mediocre.”

OK, to be fair, I didn’t know about the 5,000 number, and the second half was just my general theory about most things. But still…

Written by taogaming

July 23, 2016 at 1:31 am

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