Tag Archives: strategy

Old Man Gauntlet

Image Credit: la vaca vegetariana (Flickr)

I guess I should preface this “post” with another one of my famous “laws.”

Tom’s Law #42
It can be difficult to defeat someone who has totally given up and utterly couldn’t give a shit less.

Pithy as always, eh?

And, bonus, I just found a way to work in today’s random song. Writer’s block has been defeated. It turns out there will be a post today. I win. You lose. Click the jump to suffer further.
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The Game of Poop

Walk carefully and carry a big pointer.

Another one of my amazing talents is “board game designer.”

I’m an old school gamer which means I love dice and hexagons. And I usually don’t like electronic gadgets in board games. An electronic gadget in a board game is a lot like a sound bite in politics. It may be flashy but is usually doesn’t add much to the game.

I’d now like to introduce my latest board game concept. I’m calling it simply: The Game of Poop. (The name “Origin of the Feces” was tossed out of consideration because Type O Negative released an album with that same title.)

The objective of my game is to fling poo at your opponents. Sounds fun already, eh?

Initially all players start on a clean board. Uh oh, I bet I know where this is going.

An early objective will be to gather and consume as much food as you can. After all, you can’t take out your opponents without ammunition.

Once you’ve made your first poo it’s time to go hunting for your enemies. Get as close as you can and fling that poo! Better hurry. Hold on to that poop too long and it might turn on you. Yes, there can be friendly fire in this game.

A player hit with three poops it sent to the Decon Chamber and is out of the game.

However, hit or miss, a square where poop lands will be turned brown. As the game progresses the danger level will increase. (This is where the electronic game board kicks in. The game board itself will keep track of the brown squares.) In this game time is of the essence!

Just like Monopoly, cards will be used to introduce random events into the game. The most coveted card will most likely be “Mexican Restaurant.” The most dreaded? “Know Your Enema.” A player receiving this card will be sent to the nearest medical facility and will lose valuable time as they attempt to roll doubles in order to be treated with a colonic.

The winning player, if lucky enough, will successfully take out all of the other players. However… if the game goes on too long brown squares could lead to contamination of food sources on the board. Or, landing in a concentration of brown spaces could result in an outbreak of deadly diseases, like cholera. If that happens, the game isn’t over, but the object for victory changes. The winner becomes the one who can stay alive the longest.

OK, be honest. I can take it. Would you buy this game and who wants to attend game night at my house???


Click image to view more Scrabble at Scariest Places

My wife and I love to engage in a rousing game of Scrabble. Perhaps, however, not quite as rousing as the image above.

She claims I’m a little competitive. Ha!

We started with Scrabble early on in our relationship. She would routinely skewer my tushy and hand it back to me on a platter. I didn’t like that much. So I decided to teach her the game of backgammon. I considered myself quite accomplished at that particular game. I stomped her in backgammon for quite some time. But then something rather untoward happened.

It seems she had downloaded a little program called JellyFish which plays a very mean game of backgammon. She grappled with that thing with a stubborn fierceness. And she learned from that grappling. And she improved. Soon our matches were increasingly close, often decided by only one point. Then the tables turned and she started coming out on top on a routine basis! And the margins of her victory grew decisive.


It was time to give Scrabble another try. 🙂

She still creams me but lately I’ve made some progress. I’ve won the last two games in a row. I do believe that is some sort of record.

Recently a bit of controversy has erupted and we seem to have lost our copy of the rules. In a nutshell, the quandary is this: Do you have to know the meaning of a word to play it in Scrabble? She claims you should be able to define the word. I claim it doesn’t matter. If you know it isn’t a word, feel free to challenge!

What’s the strategy here? It’s part spelling and part bluffing with a bit of Balderdash thrown in.

Me: F-L-I-B-B-I-N. That’s 18, plus a double word score. Ah, 36 points!
Her: What the hell is a flibbin?
Me: You know. A flibbin!
Her: Use it in a sentence.
Me: “My feelings for my wife are decidedly flibbin.”
Her: That’s bullshit.
Me: Are you sure? Go ahead and challenge.
Her: How many points did you get off that again?
Me: What difference does that make?
Her: Fine. Whatever, asshole.
Me: So that’s an official un-challenge?
Her: Yeah, hand me the fucking dictionary.

And no, don’t even tell me about any urban dictionary meaning. We’re innocent people and any similarity to a word on that web site is purely coincidental.

Then one day I played the word “kingside.” BINGO! Now I’ll admit. I had absolutely no idea if this was a word. In fact, I highly doubted it. But I played it with supreme confidence. For those kind of points it’s worth a little risk. I got challenged. We looked it up.

kingside: the side of a chessboard containing the file on which the king sits at the beginning of the game

Seriously. Why do women get so angry sometimes? 🙂

I call this sort of thing the “metagame.” Bluffing. Misdirection. Reverse psychology bluffing. You know – keeping your opponent totally off guard. What is metagaming? As always, Wikipedia rides in to the rescue:

Metagaming is a broad term usually used to define any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself.

Here’s an example of how it works – in my opinion. You’re playing a against someone you’ve played before. You know this person almost always employs a certain strategy. So you decide to employ a strategy that is the best against what you expect your opponent will do. You are making decisions based on information external to the rules and environment of the game.

But wait. You know that your opponent knows that you know his favorite strategy. So he might expect you to base your strategy based on that knowledge. Based on that, he might choose to do the opposite of what you expect. Now your strategy is the wrong one.

So knowing that, what do you do? LOL! See what I mean? This is where the real fun starts.

Me? Competitive? Naw. I don’t know what in the world you’re talking about! 🙂

I’ll knock your Blokus off

Every once in a while you come across a truly unique game that captures your imagination. For my wife and myself, Blokus is such a game.

Back in February I blogged about my harrowing re-introduction to the board game Risk. That post told the tale of taking our Blokus game to the local library for game night and how I ended up playing Risk instead.

I first discovered the game one night late last year when my wife and I had gone shopping at the local Barnes and Nobel. While lamenting how shopping at the bookstore had changed, I happened upon the game of Blokus and it immediately caught my eye.

The game is devilish in its simplicity. The basic version consists of a square game board and four sets of brightly colored plastic pieces that fit on the board. The pieces are shaped like Tetris pieces varying in size from one block to various shapes consisting of five blocks. All players have their own sets of identical pieces and no two pieces within each set are the same. It only takes about one minute to learn the rules.

The game is turn-based and consists of each player adding pieces to the board until someone has placed all of their pieces or everyone is blocked. The player who covers the most squares on the board wins. The game game is hard and I’ve yet to ever successfully place all of my pieces. No one has at our home game.

There is also a two-player version called Blokus Duo (with two colors) that we also picked up. It has a smaller game board. Versions we have yet to try include Blokus 3D and Blokus Trigon that comes with triangular pieces. I’m sure that version will melt my brain.

You can play the game for free online at http://www.blokus.com. If you like it be sure to pick up the real thing.