Board Games in Academia V
Statistical characteristics of enjoyable race games
The paper discusses why some race games are more enjoyable than
others are. All the games discussed are unicursal dice games, without
player choice - i.e. all moves are strictly determined by the throw of the
dice. This category includes the famous and popular games of Goose (Jeu de
l'Oie) and Snakes and Ladders. These games are analysed and compared with
others using both Monte-Carlo simulation and Markov probability techniques.
The results show that certain of the statistical characteristics of these
two games have much in common, but are very different from those of simpler
games. One interesting characteristic is the statistical distribution of
the number of rounds to win. Another is the extent to which the average
occupancy of the various positions on the board differs from uniformity.
These characteristics have evident relevance to how enjoyable the game is,
in terms of excitement as to who will win and the variety of experiences on
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