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Board Game Studies Colloquium XX in Copenhagen 2017

Posted: Tue May 23, 2017 3:16 pm
by Hagbard
The University of Copenhagen held a most successful BGCXX May 17th-21st 2017. A two-storey auditorum full of amiable board game enthusiasts, mostly high level university people - researchers, PH.D's, professors; about 55 participants from Australia, Europe and USA; much of the time parallel lectures in two auditoriums. I was pleased to meet Fred Horn, Netherlands, Jürgen Stigter, Netherlands, David Parlett, UK, Irving L. Finkell, UK, Bruce Whitehill, USA, Arnold de Voogt, Netherlands, Rolph Haefelfinger, Switzerland, Peter Michaelsen, Denmark, among others.

Some glimpses from the days in the gallery

Re: Board Game Studies Colloquium XX in Copenhagen 2017

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:01 pm
by Hagbard
At the colloquium Dr. Jorge Nuno Silva, Portugal, gave an interesting lecture, and he cited from a book of his, how to tell if an abstract game is a good game.

The authors of the book are:
Dr. João Pedro Neto. B.Sc. in Computer Science; M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence (Machine Learning); Ph.D. in Neural Networks and Theory of Computation. The Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon.
Dr. Jorge Nuno Silva. Mathematician. Professor. Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Lisbon.

An extract from the book with the part cited by Silva:
Dr. Joao Pedro Neto and Jorge Nuno Silva:
"Mathematical Games, Abstract Games", Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York. 2013. 200 pages:
G. H. Hardy, one of the most important mathematicians of the 20th century, said that the only difference between a chess problem and a mathematical theorem lies in their relevance. Abstract games and pure mathematics are the same...
We believe that the practise of good games nurture the intellect. We do not know how this mechanism actually works, but we believe that some good comes from playing interesting board games.

Quality control.

How can we tell a good game from a bad one? How can we access the quality of an abstract game? Which qualities would we like to find in a game so we would spend time with it?
One of the most important elements are depth, or strategic complexity. How specialized can one be in one game? For example, tic-tac-toe has a very low complexity; ... On the opposite side is chess; there are several levels of sophistication at which chess can be played, from beginner to grandmaster.
Clarity is another important issue. Clarity tries to answer the question "How difficult is it to create a good tactic or strategy?" The easier it is to visualize moves in the future, the greater clarity a game has. ... It is nice when our victory is due to wise planning,
Another important quality is drama. A game has drama if it is possible to overcome a difficult situation by surpricing strategic or tactical moves (for instance, sacrifices). Chess is a great example of a dramatic game, ... But, on the other hand, a game should be decisive: there must exist a situation towards which a player conducts the game that ensures him of the victory, ... A game without this characteristic becomes confusing, producing cyclic dramatic events, with no end.
The average time a game takes is also important. A chess game takes about 40 moves. ... nowadays games that take too long are penalized.
Ramification, that is, the number of possible moves a player can play, on average, in each move. It is in some ways the opposite of clarity.
The interaction is also important. This property addresses the level at which the pieces act on each other ... In games with good interaction, it is possible to create complex configurations with the adversary's pieces, improving the quality of the game and increasing the number of relevant tactical moves.

- These parameters of quality go very well with the tafl games!!