Posts Tagged ‘groves’


19 May 2014

“If chess were being invented today, it would never get past the test stage,” my brother said at Christmas, in one of those comedy riffs of his that could be original or borrowed from the classics and I’ll never know. “They’d say what is this, it’s got too many different player characters and only one map and the most important piece has no moves and the most powerful piece overwhelms the others and you can even have endings where no one wins.” That’s true; I realize that a lot of the strategy is deciding when to and how to use the queen. And the symmetry/asymmetry of the game is so much of its appeal; somehow it is perfectly balanced through being a tiny bit unbalanced and vice versa.

The International Board Game Studies Association which begins tomorrow at UCS. Years of occasional Carcassonne, Settlers, and Yankee Swap still haven’t prepared me to know what this conference is going to look like. Except I hear there’s going to be a giant chess set.


munich games

28 March 2014


A great joy of visiting other universities is reading their wall junk. (Mine has little wall junk, preferring table litter.) At LMU Munich, there are numerous ads for rooms in shared apartments (Wohngruppe, WGs) and for human experiment subjects. Psychology students are required to serve a certain number of hours as test subjects themselves, so the ads offer for example “one test hour credit and sweeties” instead of the usual token payments or movie tickets. It’s one way to naturalize the doing of social science, which here seems to be so touchy that we are reduced to autoethnography and Twitter studies.