Further improvements happen to the air performance program, and a good evening of board games takes place.

Air Performance Program

A nice landmark has occurred with the air performance program, in that all of the reorganisation of using a relationship array to connect different sections of the book to separate formulas. Now that those relations have help to force the formulas out of the code and into their own subsystem, a next step from there is to gradually remove the use of the relations themself.

Interface

Before doing that though, I spent today reorganising the existing interface. Currently it was divided up in to input quantities and output parameters. Because of the intended plan though, everything will be both input and output at the same time, so these two areas have been brought together. To help aid with things in the meantime the information has also been restructured, so that there is a top-down flow. Values that you change result in  only values below changing – none above.

Auto-solve plan

My plan is for the code to take the existing data, look at the available formulas, and automatically solve based on the data it currently has. This can be done at a small level for individual formulas, then brought up in scope to a larger level, until this auto-solve technique is used throughout. When that stage is reached I can then work on making the interface more flexible.

Further improvements

A useful idea for when the auto-solving happens later on might be the ability to move things around, so that you can state a preferred order of solving things. When recalculations occur it may also be useful to specify some values as being fixed, so that you can retain them as being important and have other calculations occur based on those fixed values instead.

Things are still in flux at this stage, but the nice thing is that progress is being made, and I’ll be able to work on the auto-solving side of things a lot better next week now.

Board games night

Tonight it was off to Sam’s in Ilam to enjoy an evening of different and interesting board games.

The Dark Prophecy

First up was a deduction card game called Die Kutschfahrt zur Teufelsburg (Coachride to Devil’s Castle) with an expansion called Die dunkle Prophezeiung (The Dark Prophecy) that in a similar style to werewolf or mafia. Each player belongs to one of two secret organisations and has a certain profession. The aim of the game is to figure out who belong to your organisation, so that together you can collect the items that your particular organisation needs to win. Another way to win is to figure out the other team is and also determine who of their team has the objects that are needed to win, before they announce it themselves.

There are two main mechanics in the game. On your turn you can either trade a card of yours with someone else, or you can challenge someone to a duel. When trading the other person looks at what you have to offer and decides whether to accept it and give you something in return. When you challenge someone to a duel, the other players decide if they support the attack of defense. If it’s a tie then the attacker gets to draw another card. Otherwise, the winner of the challenge gets to look at either all of the players cards, or their association & profession.

A persons profession grants them different type of special power that may become useful in the game. If they want to use their power, they have to reveal their profession. In most cases it’s a use-only-once type of situation, so you want to be strategic about how and when you apply it.

This was an interesting deduction game to play. We had a German version of the game with English written at the bottom of the cards in tiny text, and it would have been nice to have a decent set of English rules to look over to clarify some issues, but given that it was interesting and well worth a look at. I still prefer though Resistance as a party bluffing game though, for its mechanic is very simple yet so effective.

Inkognito

Sam has somehow acquired the new version of Inkognito, which isn’t for sale yet. It’s a deduction board game set in the streets and waterways of Venice, and the new version allows for 5 players where the 5th player is played as the Ambassador. Each player has three pieces of information about themself that is unknown to all the other players. There are four mysterious identities, four body shapes, and lastly four objective codes. Each player has four player pieces of differences body shapes on the board, and your task is to figure out who of the other players is your partner, and together achieve a secret objective before the other players achieve their own.

On each turn you shake the Phantom of Prophecy, which contains several coloured balls that determine what you will be able to do on your turn. Orange for land travel, blue for water, white for either land or water, purple to move someone else, and black to move the ambassador.

When you meet with another person you can interrogate them for details about themself. If you’re interested in their identity, they have to show you two identify cards and a body type, where one of the identities is their correct one, and similar goes for queries about their body type. A person is not allowed to show you the same set of cards each time either – they always have to be different combinations of cards. If you can meet the ambassador then you can ask anyone you like, and they have to show you just two cards on what you’re asking about, one of which is the correct one.

Using a process of elimination you can use a tracking sheet to figure out who each person is. There’s an interesting aspect outside of the game too, where if you’re sneaky enough you can learn information from other players tracking sheets too, so be careful when playing to not divulge too much.

Eventually when you think you know who your partner is, you can show them the true information about your character, including your secret code. That way when you both know each others code you can refer to a lookup table for the player/code combinations and achieve your stated objective, which may be to apprehend someone’s true identity, or to get to the Ambassador, or a range of other types of achievements.

This is an enjoyably challenging game to play, and is still on my top list of ones I want to acquire at some stage when this new version gets released.

Nefarious

The last game of the night was a fun one called Nefarious, where you are to build mad-science inventions until you reach a winning number of victory points. How the game works is that each player picks one of four tasks: speculate, invent, research, or work, which are revealed at the same time.

Speculate lets you use an Igor to guess at what the players on either side of you will be doing on their next turn which gives you money when you’re right. Invent lets you build an invention which comes at a cost but gives you victory points, and commonly has an effect that applies to other players or yourself, which can be to gain or lose things such as cards, money, or Igors. Research is where you draw an invention card from the desk, and work is where you just gain money.

We were playing with an expansion, where different newspaper headings help to change the games mechanics. In this game we were playing where two actions are allowed per turn, and when researching you can draw two cards and discard one of them. THis helped to speed up the game nicely, and resulted in more complex decision-making.

It’s a highly enjoyable game similar in craziness but not quite as intense as Munchkin, but I’ll have to take a serious look at my top-ten list before deciding whether this one belongs there or not.

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