The past few months I have been working on some basic planning for teaching combinatorial games as a first-year college class. At Wittenberg, we have "WittSem" courses; each incoming freshman must take one. This is finally really coming together, so I will likely teach this course in the fall. Woohoo!
This is a bit of a tricky task. Last semester my course started off as too difficult because we were using a graduate-level math text and I didn't convert the book problems enough for the students. (Not to mention I was learning some of the material only slightly before teaching it.) My next batch of students will have less math background so I'm going to have to be even more careful. I will probably rely more heavily on worksheets and less on the book problems, though Lessons in Play will continue to be an excellent reference for the class.
I still plan on devoting one day per week to playing games and discovering outcome classes/values for different states. Each week we'll try to add some new evaluation tools and I'll look for great game examples of those tools.
All in all, the class will likely look a bit like the last, but without emphasis on proofs and programming. This last bit will be replaced by some discussion of cultural aspects of games throughout history. This is definitely a bigger task than I had last semester, but I'm already looking forward to it!
Once the semester starts, I'll link to the class page. Of course, if you are an incoming Wittenberg student and have any questions about how you can be allowed to play board games during class, please ask me!
A Domino-Covering Problem
2 weeks ago