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Games and Mathematical Patterns

June 11, 2008

For no apparent reason (which is, by the way, the reason most game designers research stuff), I have been looking at standard mathematical patterns. It started with triangular numbers which are used in a number of games including Notre Dame, and has grown from there.

As if on queue, Yehuda posts this analysis of Solomon’s Stones.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2008 9:20 pm

    A very interesting read. The Solomon’s Stones game reminds me a lot of Tic Tac Toe, with there being a very set way to win and lose. However, because of the scale [the number of stones/the triangle number] it seems there’s room for some sabotage by a player who is set to loose by their turn order. I suppose only after some good play time with that will determine it’s lasting appeal.

  2. June 12, 2008 5:46 am

    All deterministic games (those that lack random and hidden elements) are solvable in some way. Chess and Go are like this too, not just Tic-Tac-Toe.

    The only difference is whether there are enough different choices that it’s not easily solvable by a human at the table.

    So, in this case, a player who plays flawlessly will always win if they are sitting in the correct position, but of course figuring out which position is the winning one (and how to play flawlessly) is an exercise in mathematics, as Yehuda demonstrates.

    Incidentally, I think this is a great example of why math is important to game designers. I run into a lot of students who are interested in game design but have weak math skills, and it’s not always easy to explain why they need to fix that.

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