Tag Archives: Board Games

Life? Don’t talk to me about life! RIP, John Conway

I hope this doesn’t become too frequent, but I had to post something about one of the recent victims of the pandemic. As is being reporting in multiple outlets, John Conway has died at the age of 82.

Photo credit Thane Plambeck/via the Ars Technica article linked.

I know Conway the same way so many people know him: from his game of Life. No, not the family board game with the impressive spinner in the middle of the 3-D board. Conway’s game was abstract and far more mathematical (but it still has spinners!). It was like an endless civilization-building simulation.

I first tried my hand at it using graph paper, but found this to be very manual, so I took to using a Pente board, not realizing Conway himself had used a Go board when he was coming up with the game from the 60s. Thankfully, far cleverer people than I ported it over to the Interwebs, where you can test much vaster combinations much faster than I ever could manually. My favorite is over at Bitstorm.

So, take a moment at some point and play around with it. It’s very absorbing.

A proper sendoff via XKCD https://xkcd.com/2293/

(Note: not being a mathematician, I really can’t comment on what I understand are vast contributions in terms of other areas of mathematics, but I believe there are some links to that and some interviews in the Ars Technica article).

Shall We Play a Game?

While not a secret, I don’t post too much about being a board gamer here, but one of the things I’m most looking forward to during this season of spending time with family and friends is playing a few board games — including some that have not “hit the table” in a while.

I also generally get a game we can play as a family each Christmas (the previous ones, Feuerdrachen and Drachenturm, have been big hits with the kindern). This year, we’ll take a departure from Haba for an adventure game I think the kids will dig.

If you’re toying with the idea of picking up a game or two from your friendly local game store, Ars Technica has what I believe is now their annual board game guide. There’s some solid picks throughout.