Every Thursday at work, during our lunch hour, several of us get together to play board games. We play a different game each week, and aside from a few tries at new games, we tend to rotate through the same three or four games each week. In an attempt to add a little variety, we discussed some alternative new games a few days ago.
Someone mentioned she could bring in Candyland, and of course because of the skill level involved in playing (zero, actually), this was vetoed with a chuckle. Talk went to other similar games, such as Chutes and Ladders, in which the player is just along for the ride. You roll the dice, you move, you have no decision-making power. The game is entirely deterministic except for the dice rolls.
The game is entirely deterministic except for the dice rolls… it could be played by robots. Or computers. Instead of actually playing the game, a perfect computer simulation could be made to play the game for us. The computer can play a lot faster than we could. In fact, it could probably play the game a few million times over lunch in a simulation.
My Chutes and Ladders Simulater can be found at https://netninja.com/fun/cnl/, with the interesting code itself in cnl.js. On my machine (Firefox, on a 1.6GHz dual core Mac), it can play 1,000 games in about 4 seconds. This calculates out to 900,000 games in an hour. Obviously, I could get more speed out of it with an implementation in C, but I figured it wouldn’t be as fun and interactive to the internet as a whole than an interactive web page.