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Checkers has been solved!

It has been mathematically proven that if two extremely skilled players engage in a game of Checkers together and make no mistakes, then the game ends in a tie. This may be underwhelming to some, but this ultimately means that the game of Checkers itself is perfectly balanced. This looks pretty obvious on a superficial level. Players have all of the same pieces and a perfectly mirrored setup. In other words, it is a perfectly symmetrical game.

Except that one player gets to go first. Read the rest of this entry

Munchkin is chaotic good

I discovered Steve Jackson’s Munchkin a few years ago. A friend of mine challenged a group of us to a game of Star Munchkin, the science fiction variant. Immediately striking about these series of games is that they are parodies of their respective genres. Star Munchkin chides the penchant that future tales have for laser blasters by providing several in the game that can connect to one another. Their names include laser, dazer, bobaser, and the dreaded bananafanafofaser. The name of the Star Munchkin expansion? Star Munchkin 2: The Clown Wars.

I moved away shortly after that, and no one I knew played or even mentioned Munchkin. A few months ago, I decided it was time to experience the game again. I picked up the original Munchkin set, which parodies fantasy. A few weeks later I picked up one its six (soon to be seven) expansions, Clerical Errors. Then another (Unnatural Axe). Then another (Demented Dungeons). Soon I found myself picking up another deck – Munchkin Bites, the White Wolf/vampire/werewolf/monster film parody set. Then its sole expansion, Pants Macabre.

I admit that I am a bit hooked on the game, but it wouldn’t have happened without a good gaming group. People convene weekly in my apartment to play a game of Munchkin. One game. Because it’s very unlikely you’ll get through two games in an evening. The game takes at least two hours to play. Not only that, but someone will be frustrated by the end of it. Yeah, it’s that kind of game. Read the rest of this entry

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