Scrabble and other games have overvalued points

Check out this article from the Wall Street Journal: Price Drop: Stocks, Homes, Now Triple-Word Scores. The subtitle “Scrabble and Other Games — on Boards, Fields, Courts and Ice — Have Overvalued Points; Vermont Avenue Is a Steal” sums it up pretty well. This article illustrates the difficulty of designing a game that is fair, challenging and interesting to players of all levels, and maintaining those qualities as time marches on and the world and the players change around you. If your game becomes genuinely popular and “professional players” appear, they will begin to exploit any flaws in your rules, and then you must either change the rules or accept these exploits as part of the game.

Back after a very long hiatus

As you may have noticed, this site was down for a little more than a year. We lost control of the domain name to a cybersquatter because I forgot to renew the registration. However, we procrastinated for so long in choosing a new domain name that the cybersquatter’s registration expired, and we were able to register stairball.org again. Procrastination is not always a bad thing, I guess!

I don’t know how regularly we’ll be posting here in the future, but rest assured we still play weird and wonderful games whenever we get the chance, and I hope that you do too.

Why we are here

One day in December, as Adam was telling me about yet another game he had just invented (the Transadditional Cylinder), I realized that these games were too good to be kept to ourselves, to only circulate around our small circle of friends. They deserved to be shared with the universe! They demanded to be published and discussed among avid gamers everywhere! Adam and his friends invent, discover, and play so many awesome games that are not known outside of his social circle — it would be a shame if any of them died out and were forgotten. I suggested to him that he should start a blog, to document his gaming adventures and bring his friends along for the ride, and he was agreeable to the suggestion. I therefore helped him set up this blog, and that’s how we got here.

This blog will serve several purposes:

* To reach our friends and acquaintances who, whether due to time or space constraints, cannot game with us regularly, but who would like to keep abreast of developments so that they can join in our gaming when they see us. Ideally, they would be able to play the games wherever they are, so they can get in practice before facing the masters, but simply learning the rules ahead of time would suffice. 😉

* To spread our games to people we have never met, to places that we have never visited. We hope that these games will take on a life of their own, and that they will be played without our personal guidance or encouragement. Personally, I think it would be really cool to walk down a stairway in a city far from my home and discover some random children playing stairball.

* To save our games for posterity, so that the generations that follow us can continue playing the games that we played, long after we are dead and gone. This may seem a bit ambitious for a piece of emphemeral digital media, but with projects such as the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, we can hope that internet resources will survive into the far future.

But most importantly, we hope that this blog will serve to entertain you, dear reader. Game on!