Duo to the Death

Blokus has taken over my life

Archive for the ‘misc’ Category

Blokus wishes for the New Year

Posted by nand on December 17, 2009

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”.

MORE AMBITIOUS:

  • 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.
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Posted in misc | 6 Comments »

Prospectus/prolusion

Posted by nand on May 23, 2009

This is a place for me to discuss strategy in Blokus Duo (and other forms of Blokus, too, if I ever get any good at them). If you haven’t already played it, it’s a pure-strategy boardgame with exceedingly simple rules; there is an online version at this link where I go by the handle “nand” (usually ranked in the top 1 to 3 players in Blokus Duo, unless I’m slipping). There used to be a forum on that site, but, while it is still there, it seems to be rather buried ever since Sekkoia (the original game company that marketed Blokus) sold the rights to Mattel, who don’t seem to have a very clear idea of what to do with the game or the site. So it seems a better idea to place my notes on the game here.

Discussion is welcome, and if any avid Duo fans want to create their own posts & threads, please drop me a line & I might (if I’m nice!) create multiple usernames for this blog.

Posted in misc | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »