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


1d
comment How are M:TG cards printed in regards to the rarity of each card?
@Zags Here's a Magic 2015 sheet at 11x11: desertbus.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/… . As far as I know they've never used 10x11; even uncut beta sheets are 11x11 ( product-images.highwire.com/1593929/betasheetuncutsold.jpg ). I suspect the article you saw may have been in error.
1d
comment How are M:TG cards printed in regards to the rarity of each card?
Magic sheets - and there are a lot out there; they show up as prizes at conventions and such - are generally 11x11, with 121 cards on them. (You can see this if you do a google image search for 'Magic uncut sheet'). The sheet in that article is specifically the sheet that the oversized Commander generals were printed on; if you look at the size of the images in comparison to the proofer's hands, they're much larger than normal Magic cards.
Nov
16
comment Do Collectible Card Games without shuffling exist?
While this is an interesting discussion (and a sentiment that I agree with), StackExchange is not a discussion site (from boardgames.stackexchange.com/tour : "This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat.") and this doesn't answer the OP's question.
Nov
16
comment What cards have good potential for a combo with Mayor of Avabruck // Howlpack Alpha?
Note that Master of the Hunt has errata on him so that the tokens he produces are Wolf tokens named Wolves of the Hunt; previously, since they had no specified creature type, their type was the same as their name and they wouldn't have gotten the Alpha's bonus!
Nov
14
comment Sorcery supercedes instant?
I might add a tiny 'you get priority' or the like between 'You cast the sorcery' and 'You pass priority to your opponent' - by the rules of the game, you have priority immediately after casting the sorcery, and someone might read this as saying otherwise. (Though of course the floor rules sort of tweak this a bit)
Nov
7
comment Why would you not move pawn two spaces during first move in chess?
Your magic word is 'Nimzowitsch'. His 'overprotection' is by far not the only approach to chess, but learning about his style and his system will help you to understand the other factors that can be at play in a position.
Oct
30
comment Does a copy of your commander count as your “Commander”?
Tiny nitpickery: Lieutenant isn't a keyword, it's actually an ability word. Think of it as a form of reminder text: the word 'Lieutenant' doesn't carry any rules weight, it just lets you know that something is going on when you control your commander.
Sep
29
comment Statistics on a booster pack (to make my own re-packs)
For what it's worth, if your purpose behind the repacks is to open them to draft with, you should consider building a cube : see starcitygames.com/magic/multiplayer/11755_The_Cube_20.html , for instance. (Some people go to the trouble of 'balancing' their cube packs, but many more folks just shuffle up and let randomness be randomness)
Sep
22
comment Can my opponent and I decide on a victory condition to avoid a draw?
@corsiKa In that one special circumstance yes, but the precise phrasing in the very tournament rules document that you link to is "The result of a match or game may not be randomly or arbitrarily determined through any means other than the normal progress of the game in play. Examples include (but are not limited to) rolling a die, flipping a coin, arm wrestling, or playing any other game." The key phrase is 'normal progress of the game in play'; 'outside the game' doesn't come into it at all.
Sep
20
comment What's the most intuitive way to use a die for a pass/fail test?
If your only concern is to give the players ways of making a 50/50 choice, then I agree with Dave's comment above - simply flip a coin. There's no need to introduce extra parts for this. (P.S. : players will be frustrated at having game-relevant events decided by coin flips. Whether you care about this, or whether you choose to use that frustration for good, is up to you - but you should be aware that it will exist.)
Sep
18
comment How does Rageblood Shaman's ability work?
I'm more disappointed that neither of you picked Hurloon Minotaur!
Sep
2
comment What happens to a creature enchanted with totem armor if both are destroyed at the same time?
The 'basically what happens' revision is completely incorrect. The 'effect' of destroying permanents (i.e., the effect of the resolution of the spell) never goes on the stack, and totem armor isn't a triggered ability; it's a replacement ability. (You can tell it's not a triggered ability because it doesn't follow the templating for triggered ability, and you can tell it's a replacement ability because it follows that templating: 'if... instead...')
Aug
27
comment Is the “snake” turn order for Blokus fairer than the traditional turn order?
@Zach Unfortunately, I don't have a good enough feel for Blokus to understand the specific implications of snaking in the context of this game specifically, which is why I haven't answered. :-) As for Thue-Morse, have a look at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thue–Morse_sequence#Equitable_sequencing for some explanation of why it's considered to make for a 'fair' turn order.
Aug
26
comment Is the “snake” turn order for Blokus fairer than the traditional turn order?
@GendoIkari Short version: rather than taking turns 123412341234 etc., the turn order goes 123443211234 etc. The idea is to even out positions so that moving first isn't the permanent advantage that it often is. (Snake isn't perfect either, but trying to use something like a Thue-Morse sequence to determine play order is going awfully deep.)
Aug
22
comment Settlers Of Catan - discarding cards when rolling 7
+1 for providing reference in an implementation - I haven't played the online versions in a long time and didn't know how they handle it, which is why I left my note as a comment rather than a proper answer.
Aug
22
comment Settlers Of Catan - discarding cards when rolling 7
Amazingly, I can't find any references on the net as to how this should be resolved! I would be inclined to handle it as a simultaneous action; that is, all players set aside (face down) the cards they'll be discarding, and once that's done, players reveal and discard those piles.
Aug
21
comment Are the odds of drawing mythics greater when purchasing individually packaged boosters over booster boxes?
It would be very hard to extract cards from one of WotC's 'individually wrapped' boosters of the sort shown in the photo, re-seal the foil booster wrapper, reseal the cardboard, and return it to Wal-Mart. I can't imagine this is a positive-value proposition.
Aug
17
comment Is there an easy way I can tell if a MTG card is “rare” just by looking at it?
@GendoIkari There's really no such thing as an 'oracle rarity'. Rarity is a property of a printing of a card, not an innate property of the card itself. A couple of formats (e.g. Pauper) may care if a card has ever been printed at common, but AFAIK that's not an "Oracle property" of the card; it's in no way, shape or form part of card text.
Jul
12
comment How Is the Magic Core Set 2015 “Deck Builder's Toolkit” Different From Other Core Set Offerings With Respect To Cards?
This is a little sparse to be a proper answer, but the Deck Builder's Toolkit is substantially less random than the Fat Pack (which is AFAIK just a collection of boosters with some accessories). Wizards calls the Toolkit's contents 'semi-randomized', which I believe means you can expect to get particular combinations of cards out of it. Unfortunately, neither is likely to get you particularly close to a competitive level in and of themselves - it will take quite a bit more to muster that.
Jun
25
comment What's the name of the theory that the player with the most options has the advantage?
This is in fact a well-established theorem in Conbinatorial Game Theory; it's a piece of proving the so-called Simplest Form Theorem. If I remember when I get home I can chase down proper references, but the canonical source is the book Winning Ways For Your Mathematical Plays.