3,646 reputation
825
bio website
location Seattle, WA
age 44
visits member for 2 years, 11 months
seen 21 hours ago

Software engineer and long-time dabbler in mathematics; 11th in the Putnams forever ago but I've long since atrophied.


Dec
4
awarded  Nice Answer
Dec
3
comment Do the destination tickets in Ticket To Ride require that the player completes the routes, or only that the tickets are completed?
While your question has already been excellently answered, I wanted to note that if you're interested in a rail game that's 'track-agnostic' you might want to have a look at TransAmerica: boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2842/transamerica
Dec
1
comment Are Summon - [insert-creature-type-here] cards creatures?
A bit of nitpickery: while these permanents can be destroyed by 'destroy target creature'-type spells, there's actually a salient difference between a creature, a creature card and a creature spell. Doom Blade can't 'destroy' e.g. a non-black creature card in your graveyard, but it can destroy a green Beast token like the ones created by various instances of Garruk.
Nov
30
comment What is this game with pegs in holes, jumping and capturing each other?
As a small matter of pedantry, this isn't so much a game as a puzzle; you can find more information on the triangular version specifically (a version with a square grid is more common) at arxiv.org/abs/math.CO/0703865 .
Nov
24
awarded  Enlightened
Nov
24
awarded  Nice Answer
Nov
19
comment For Scrabble, Is there a most common phonies list anywhere?
I would argue that the reason it's 'neglected' is because it plays a relatively miniscule part of most Scrabble games - for various reasons, phonies just aren't a major part of most club play. That's not to say that they don't show up from time to time, but I would only start worrying about phonies after you have, e.g., not just all the twos but all of their extensions to threes pretty well in-hand.
Nov
19
comment Phage the Untouchable as a Commander?
In Black, there's always Withering Boon available to counter her too...
Nov
15
comment What chance do I have of my foil being a rare or mythic?
Thinking about it, the ratio of foil mythics to foil rares essentially has to be the same as the ratio of regular mythics to regular rares, because the sheet layout is identical - there's just a 'rares and mythics' sheet, in regular and foil versions, and whenever a rare/mythic is needed a card from this sheet is slotted in.
Nov
12
awarded  Yearling
Nov
4
comment Where can I practice MTG draft online and actually play against my opponents for free?
At the risk of offering an unpopular opinion, this question is effectively asking 'is there a way for me to pirate the draft experience?' - whether you're a fan of their choice or not, Wizards has chosen to make the draft experience a 'pay' one. While there aren't great online options for it (there are some, but not great ones), you could always cube live if you want the draft experience without the draft costs...
Nov
4
comment Why do the opposing sides of a D20 generally add up to 21
This explains the scattershot distribution, but it's orthogonal to the specific 'opposites add up to N+1' question; you could easily put 11-20 on one hemisphere and 1-10 on the other and still satisfy the opposites adding constraint (in fact, a lot of older spindowns do this).
Nov
1
comment How do cards like Brainstorm affect the probability of drawing an out?
Magic addendum to this answer: these calculations are correct for Brainstorm and Preordain where the net effect is 'dig just one card deeper' (in the case of Preordain, by bottoming the two that you put back and then drawing blind), but Ponder is a little more complicated since you get two chances to hit (because of the shuffle effect), but with slightly different probabilities. It doesn't affect these calculations by much more than an epsilon, though.
Oct
29
comment Are some MTG sets statistically more likely to yield more valuable cards?
Actually, mathematically there's no added complication to be had - since each uncommon is still equally likely, the 'decrease' in EV from not being able to have e.g. multiple Wastelands in a pack is precisely made up for by an 'increase' in EV from not being able to have multiple Excavators. You can still just take (average price of an uncommon) x (number of uncommons).
Oct
28
answered Why did devotion decks dominate PT Theros?
Oct
28
comment Why did devotion decks dominate PT Theros?
I'll have a better answer later, but I'll offer my short answer in a comment: Nykthos, Shrine To Nix is the most powerful thing you can be doing in the format at the moment - mana accelerants have always been among the most powerful things - and the 'cost' for doing that powerful thing is the devotion to devotion.
Oct
24
comment In bridge, what opening bid(s) should be made with a high card point in “no man's land”?
Can you be specific about the hand? While the general question isn't a bad one, a question of 'How do I bid hand X?' is IMHO likely to generate much better answers.
Oct
22
comment What's the most efficient way of determine individual card values for my collection?
Note that your link for 'expensive commons and uncommons' is very much online-specific; OTOH, there's a very similar article for offline play (the prices are slightly out of date but still fairly close) at starcitygames.com/php/news/print.php?Article=25391 , sorted by set.
Oct
21
comment How does Blood Scrivener work if I “draw 2 cards”?
(Also also, I was skeptical that you would lose another life for the second card draw of Divination, but this is correct: "120.6a An effect that replaces a card draw is applied even if no cards could be drawn because there are no cards in the affected player's library. ". But this only happens if there were zero cards in your library, not just less than two; if there were one, you'd draw it and then the Blood Scrivener replacement ability wouldn't kick in for the second Divination draw.)
Oct
21
comment How does Blood Scrivener work if I “draw 2 cards”?
Also, important to note: Blood Scrivener's replacement effect also effectively reads 'Draw one card. Draw one card.' What keeps it from recursing forever is Rule 614.5: "A replacement effect doesn't invoke itself repeatedly; it gets only one opportunity to affect an event or any modified events that may replace it."