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Diary the Third: Gaming
The other major thing that's been taking up my time has been a *lot* of gaming, mainly with mindways. Besides routine Game Nights, I've also fallen in with the local game-design crowd, doing a lot of playtesting of games that he and others are gradually polishing up to publishable state. I have to say, this is a heck of a lot of fun: while I'm not quite as good a player as the hardcore players who are doing most of the game design, I'm good enough to generally hold my own, and at least periodically win. Overall, it's teaching me a lot about the fine details of game design, which is a hoot...

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I think you would be a good play tester, because you understand game design and you enjoy gaming. You're a theory guy.

I would think there are parallels between game design and program design.

Some, yes, although there are major differences as well. In particular, while program design usually has a ruthless focus on simplification, a good game generally needs *some* complication, and balancing those complications properly is half the trick. Also, while debugging tends to be pretty objective, playtesting is *intensely* subjective: it's largely about figuring out what is most fun. (Although with a side-note of trying to find ways to abuse the rules that would be totally broken.)

Do poke me sometime when you're going over for a game night. I'd love to get into playing more games again. That quick round of Dominion gave me a taste for it.

Have you tried "Dominant Species?" I saw a picture of it in Wired and it looked interesting.

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