Sunday, May 8, 2011

Next Semester: Combinatorial Games "WittSem"

Another semester draws to a close. Although I missed posting last week, today will be a bonus final post for the semester. There may be a few more comments during the semester as I figure out how to upload videos that my phone thinks are too big, etc. (Patrick and Ernie had an epic FLex battle a few weeks back.)

In addition, I have a bit of research to get done this summer, so there may be some mention of that. One of my big projects is to prepare for my board games "WittSem" class next semester. This will be a first-year-college-students-only class that has the dual purpose of acting as an introduction to university. I will spend time helping to impart good study habits (do I have these?) and instill a love for games and math.

These WittSems must include a multi-disciplinary spin; in addition to the math, I will talk about cultural/historical aspects of games. To this end I can cover many geographic regions with different games, but I'm not sure what the more interesting points I should definitly cover are. Some ideas:

* Follow the evolution of Chess across Asia and Europe.

* Compare rule sets of Go, which are different by country/region.

* Perhaps the same is true of Mancala?

* Look at origins of Konane as well as taboos while playing.

This last one may have a recurring theme. The name of the class is: "How to play board games: Culture and Tactics" (or something along those lines) so I was intending to talk about what was expected socially by players during the game.

Any additional help would be most excellent! If you know something interesting about the culture of games (from anywhere!) I would love to know!


  1. I'd love to sit in as a counter-point for your "social expectations" class...

    I think I provide a VERY different perspective on board games than you do...

  2. Andy,


    What is that different perspective on board games? :)

  3. More in the idea that I come from a liberal-arts background, and am more concerened with social dynamic and player interaction, rather than the math behind the mechanics.

    Obviously, a game like "Dungeon Slam" or "SunnyVale Acres" isn't going to provide much in the way of interest math-wise, but they definitely make for unique takes on PvP-based gameplay.

    It'd be glorious, I'm sure! We'd make your students' heads spin!