I know that probably there’s little incentive for Mattel (the new owners of Blokus) to do a lot of tinkering with its site, since membership is free & thus there’s no monetary reason to hire a computer tech guy to make it run better… but a guy can’t help wishing, can he?
So here’s what I think would make it a better site.
REALLY EASY FIXES:
- A warning bell for when the timer drops below 1 minute. This would take, like, about 2 minutes of a programmer’s time to add… it’s unbelievable that despite this being frequently requested by players, this never gets added.
- 3D Duo in the Competition room, not just in Training.
- Add grid coordinates along the sides of the board–in duo: A through M on the X axis, 1 through 14 (bottom to top) on the Y. (This could be a toggle button: SHOW COORDINATES/HIDE COORDINATES.)
- Add an option to number pieces according to the move they’re played on, so you can actually figure out the entire sequence of play at a glance at the board. (This could just be a toggle button: SHOW MOVES/HIDE MOVES.)
- Install anti-spam software on the forum. I’ve never come across a more spam-prone online forum — it’s truly embarrassing. They eventually get around to cleaning it up by hand, but there are much better automated ways of ensuring this stuff never gets posted in the first place.
A LITTLE TRICKIER:
- Add an option to permit players — within the Competition room — to choose sides rather than being assigned them randomly. This would obviously require BOTH players to consent (they would each have a button). This would save a lot of headache when players are trying to resume a match (currently, the only solution is to keep quitting & returning, hoping that the other player is not such a schmuck as to penalize).
- Fix the poorly-conceived censorship in chat. (For now, let’s set aside the question of whether there should be censorship.) If it’s going to be done, at least program it competently. First: It should not be triggered by part-words. It’s dumb to turn words like “assuming” or “culminate” into “***uming” and “***minate”: if you want to guarantee that it catches both “fuck” and “fucking” then simply put BOTH words in the blacklist. Second: given that virtually all chat takes place in English, no words should be censored that are innocuous & commonplace in English: e.g. “pot”, “con” and “fan”.
- The best solution to online misbehaviour would be to get rid of the censorship entirely & use a different system: give some trusted players “moderator” status, with the ability to silence unruly players or eject them if necessary.