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Links: Unintuitive AI, Clinical Game-Playing, and Kickstarter Addiction

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Pax Pamir: Second Edition
• On Polygon, Charlie Hall argues that "[t]abletop creators are trapped in a boom and bust crowdfunding cycle", using Wyrmwood Gaming's failed Kickstarter for a modular desk as (the sole) example.

As for why this has happened, Hall interviews William Michael Cunningham, author of The JOBS Act: Crowdfunding Guide to Small Businesses and Startups, who explains that due to consolidation among banks, funding for tiny businesses is much harder to come by.

In a Twitter thread, designer Cole Wehrle responds by noting that in its ideal form crowdfunding allows people the opportunity to fund projects that they want to see exist:


Board Game: Flamecraft
• If you're curious to see what was played at BGG.CON 2022, you can explore the BGG Library check-out stats. Plenty of people brought games of their own to play, of course, but this provides a sampling of what hit the tables.

• On Ars Technica, Benj Edwards explains how a weak AI with an unexpected playing style can defeat higher-level AIs in Go, despite humans being able to beat that weak AI. An excerpt:
Quote:
"The research shows that AI systems that seem to perform at a human level are often doing so in a very alien way, and so can fail in ways that are surprising to humans," explains [Adam] Gleave[, who co-authored a paper on this project]. "This result is entertaining in Go, but similar failures in safety-critical systems could be dangerous."
Board Game: Rummikub
• The 11th Rummikub World Championships, which are abbreviated as WRC, will be held on October 20-23, 2023 in Gdansk, Poland. The event normally takes place every three years, but due to Covid the 2021 event was skipped, with the most recent event taking place in Israel in 2018.

• In an October 2022 article on Wired, Kam Burns explains how therapists are using tabletop games to help people. An excerpt:
Quote:
Role-playing can be especially helpful for people who've experienced trauma and oppression. Cassie Walker, a clinical social worker and trauma specialist, sees games and role-playing as a valuable way to connect with clients and demonstrate that therapy doesn’t have to be serious or painful.

"Trauma disconnects us from ourselves, and one of the first things we get disconnected from is our imagination and creativity," Walker says. Tabletop games allow their clients to reconnect with their imaginations, as the structure of the games provide some comfort and encourage people to start thinking about what could be rather than what is.
• Speaking of role-playing, after an election in Berlin in September 2021 marred by errors such as "long lines, polling place glitches, shortages of paper ballots, voters receiving incorrect ballots, and other issues", the German daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel "has built an immersive, in-person game with the hopes that players walk away with an understanding of how their local governments work (and possibly pique their interest in participating in the real thing)", Hanaa' Tameez writes in a Nov. 2022 article on NiemanLab. An excerpt:
Quote:
Tagesspiegel developed BVV-Planspiel, which translates to "experimental game," in partnership with the German game design agency Planpolitik. The project is managed and funded by the city's public libraries and, after an initial pilot phase, the partners plan to fully launch the game in the spring of 2023...

Planspiel centers around the made-up Berlin district of Biberfelde. The game requires at least 10 players to serve as members of the district's assembly and discuss a range of local issues. Each player is assigned to a fictional political party that's loosely based on a real one. They get a short description of who they are, what kind of values and ideas they hold, and who their character represents.

At the end of 90 minutes, the players have to come to a resolution on the issue that serves the interest of the district's residents. Hosting the game at public libraries — there's one in each of the 12 districts — makes it accessible to all residents for free.
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