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Subject: What's all that quantum business ? rss

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Box of Delights
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I was reading a recent interview with Steve Kendall, and one of the opening sentences said something like, "people have said they don't quite get the quantum idea in the game."

So, I considered this for a bit. When I first played the game, it was immediately obvious to me what the idea was, and how the term "quantum" was referring to the "quantum multiverse" idea. But I wonder if this is what hasn't clicked with some people. So, let's see if I can put a spin on it...

The design explores the "quantum multiverse" idea: simply, that more than one universe exists simultaneously. If you ever saw the movie "sliding doors", it's the idea that when presented with a decision in life, and you have multiple choices, your life can, from that point, follow multiple paths; the reality we are experiencing in this world is one of those paths, but any of those other paths might have created a completely different reality, like the butterfly effect, changing our future, and the future of those around us.

But what if we had access to those multiple paths, those multiple universes, and we could live in and influence each of those multiple universes ?

This is the idea that the game is presenting. i.e. we are playing the same game in each of 3 parallel universes (or "worlds" as the game calls them), but in each of those 3 games we can make different decisions and see how they play out. Our reward in the game as a whole, is being able to perform well across all 3 worlds.

That's the notion. But what about the science? Let's see if I can summarise for dimwits (i.e. not Stephen Hawking) like me:

First let's start with the 'leap of faith' from quantum physics...

Quantum Mechanics describes particles with something called a wave function, treating particles as if they were waves. This gives particles a strange property: namely that they can exist in several states at once (more than one place at once). However, this wave function collapses to a single measurable state when observed - so it just looks like it is in a single state when we look at it. The "observation" forces the particle to "choose" one of its many states to be observed in. See, I told you it was a 'leap of faith'! This translates directly into our many worlds theory.

The leap is that all those multiple states are equally real, but we only see one of them in our reality, even though the others still exist. What we don't really know is 'where' those other realities exist, but one argument is that they exist in a parallel universe. This gives us this "many worlds interpretation".

If your brain is hurting, don't worry, so is mine. Instead of worrying about whether there's another YOU, reading another BGG forum in another world where B stands for Bacon and geeks are the only ones getting laid, play a game of Nina and Pinta and see if you can win the same game three times at once...

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