Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Searching for Games

There is no final exam in my combinatorial games class. Instead, the last four or so weeks will consist of student presentations. Each student is tasked with choosing a combinatorial game (that we haven't covered heavily in class) and researching "something interesting" about that game. Students will then present their findings.

The interesting thing does not need to be something super heavy, but should be non-trivial. So far I have three students who have chosen their games: Flume, Reversi and Hex. Of those three, two students have picked their "interesting things": one will code a playable version of Hex, while the other will describe the first-player winning strategy in Flume. In addition to these sort of options, students could write a program to determine the outcome class of their game, or just describe some interesting property (for example, that Hex cannot end in a tie or that the first player has a winning strategy in Chomp).

Part of my hope here is to learn more combinatorial games myself. I continue to work on expanding this table of games.

The other ten students have yet to choose a game. I have directed them to check out some resources such as Mark Steere's extensive list of creations, as well as the long appendix of games in our text, Lessons in Play.

Do you know of any other places I can point them to to find games? Certainly there is also a degree of procrastination, but it would also be great to give my students more resources. Also, it might come down to the point where I am forcing games upon the students. In that case, suggestions will be very helpful! Perhaps you've developed a game you'd like someone to check out!

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