September 15th, 2004


Diary tidbits: Voting; Olin; Board Games

Thanks to everyone who went and voted in the state primary yesterday, especially the locals. The good guys did win, which will hopefully send at least a bit of a message. (Kathy McMenimen finally got lumped squarely into my "bad guys" list when, in her final flyers, she tried to make an issue out of the fact that Tom Stanley was being partly funded by gay rights groups. If she thinks that's a bad thing, then I want her far away from my legislature.)

The main activity of yesterday was the first meeting of the proto-borough at Olin College. My initial reaction was that the meeting was a bit small (about half a dozen people), but that changed later, as discussed below.

I think there's definite potential there. It's never going to be a big borough, but Myndroh has more clue than the average provost and there seem to be at least a couple of people there who really want to get involved. (Including yet another guy who really wants into heavy list. If the fighters make an effort, there's a lot of fresh enthusiasm in the boroughs that they could tap.) And the school appears to have really nice facilities, so it's possible that we might be able to bring some unusual activities there -- for example, he thinks we can probably get a field for archery, which would be cool.

After the meeting, he showed me around for a couple of minutes. He was showing the robotics lab, and I asked how many people they have coming in. He answered 75, much larger than I'd expected for such a specialized department, so I asked how big the student body was. "No, you're missing the point", he replied.

I'd been completely misled by those gorgeous facilities. 75 is the size of the incoming class. The school is brand-new (not through its first graduating class yet), so the total student body is only ~225 so far, and they're shooting for a sustained level of 300. Wow -- that's a lot of school per capita. So as a percentage of the school size, Olin might yet wind up having the largest borough. We'll see...

Got the latest issue of Board Games Studies in the mail. This is the academic journal on the history of board games, and is always interesting. In the latest issue, a cursory glance turns up:
  • An examination of some unusual forms of log dice.

  • A survey (including pictures) of a number of boards carved into the floors of a Renaissance Hindu temple. This is really neat, because it provides firmer period documentation for a number of eastern games that Salamallah has described, that I hadn't been sure of the provenance of. I think we're going to have to have an Indian event one of these years, just to play around in the culture.

  • A description of some just-post-period variant rules for Game of the Goose, showing that Goose has always been subject to house rules. (Which is good, because there are one or two tweaks I want to make, to make the game more fun.) This article is in German, so I'm going to need to find a translator.

  • An article talking about *some* sort of 16th century game I don't recognize, by Thierry DePaulis, in French. I'm certain it's interesting, but there isn't an English abstract, so I think I'll have to get msmemory to give me a summary.