Barcelona 2002 Colloquium

--{ Barcelona 2002 }--

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Board Games in Academia V


Adrian Seville

Statistical characteristics of enjoyable race games

The paper discusses why some race games are more enjoyable than others are. All the games discussed are unicursal dice games, without player choice - i.e. all moves are strictly determined by the throw of the dice. This category includes the famous and popular games of Goose (Jeu de l'Oie) and Snakes and Ladders. These games are analysed and compared with others using both Monte-Carlo simulation and Markov probability techniques. The results show that certain of the statistical characteristics of these two games have much in common, but are very different from those of simpler games. One interesting characteristic is the statistical distribution of the number of rounds to win. Another is the extent to which the average occupancy of the various positions on the board differs from uniformity. These characteristics have evident relevance to how enjoyable the game is, in terms of excitement as to who will win and the variety of experiences on the board.

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