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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Darwin Day, and Evolution Games

   
Author Topic: Darwin Day, and Evolution Games
Raymond Arnold
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Darwin's birthay is on February 12th, which is a Sunday. I'd kinda like to do something fun to celebrate.

I was wondering if anyone knew of any good games that feature natural selection? Video games would work if necessary (to run through a lot of iterations quickly), but I'd prefer something closer to a board game, that has a party feel.

What's coming to mind is an activity from 10th grade biology: you get a bunch of skittles, and place them on a yellow background, and then you go through iterations of "each the first skittle you see as fast as possible", and then for each remaining skittle, add two more skittles of the same color. Within a few generations they're all yellow because those were harder to see.

That framework is nice, but doesn't really produce an interesting result. I'm trying to think of something that, over the course of an afternoon, without computer simulation, produce some interesting emergent phenomena.

Anyone have thoughts? Does anything like this already exist?

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Samprimary
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quote:
I was wondering if anyone knew of any good games that feature natural selection?
Getting girls pregnant is my personal favorite.
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AchillesHeel
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You could always go to a trashy bar/night club and watch natural selection in progress.
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Raymond Arnold
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I just discovered I can do Science! with this thread.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
You could always go to a trashy bar/night club and watch natural selection in progress.

i'm giggling like beavis and butthead irl
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Dobbie
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
fun...celebrate...party feel...interesting emergent phenomena.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zg7gxAG8YS4&feature=related
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dkw
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We have The Dinosaur Game, which we got at the Minnesota Science Museum, and it includes some natural selection elements. It's aimed at kids, though. Not particularly high strategy.
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Jeff C.
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You should watch A Land Before Time. That movie was awesome.
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Jake
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Dominant Species might be a possibility. I haven't played it myself, but I've heard good things about it.
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Raymond Arnold
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Dominant Species was recommended on a duplicate thread (after this thread diverged radically, early on, from my identical e-mail to the people I'd be actually playing the game with, I decided to post numerous threads and observe how they evolved on different forums. Unfortunately I didn't come up with a way to have "successful" threads replicate, so the experiment wasn't quite as neat as it could have been)

Dominant Species seems good, although more "evolution themed" than "an instance of evolution", which would be cooler. (I'm considering designing a new game, although it probably wouldn't be very good with a week's development time)

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Dobbie
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If players are using strategy to enhance their own position that's not natural selection.
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Raymond Arnold
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What I've been thinking since posting is the notion that tournaments can be an iterated selection process. (Have winners play winners and losers play losers)

You could have a card game, where your initial deck is randomly generated. Some cards might interact with each other in simple ways. Each game, some cards are randomly added and removed.

Ideally you'd have winning decks replicate (maybe the losers become clones of the winner), but this may be impractical. But somehow, have a system that increases the frequency of the cards relevant to winning.

The "game" is fun for the reasons card games are usually fun. (It's vaguely symbolic of animals living out their lives). But the metagame is watching the decks evolve, not due to intelligent design, but because playing the game itself causes them to change. Some decks might become sleek and slim, others might develop weird, complex combos.

This leaves you with the (really hard, possibly impossible, but interesting) problem of designing a game that enables those changes to occur on the timescale of an afternoon.

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Dobbie
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http://www.republibot.com/content/real-science-natural-selection-among-playing-cards
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Tinros
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What about Spore?
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Samprimary
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quote:
I was wondering if anyone knew of any good games that feature natural selection?
I guess another one of these just cropped up: you introduce the burmese python to the everglades, then, it ruins everything
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