Uncle Hyena (unclehyena) wrote,
Uncle Hyena

Steel, Foot, Ides, Thing, Rose

I have been on vacation this week. I did an overnight trip down to the Arsenal in Indianapolis to play Tunnels & Trolls, and have blodged a lot. There was an interesting interlude in the T&T game that I will discuss presently...

"Real Steel" is a come-from-behind sports movie that happens to focus on giant, semi-autonomous robots. The cast and their characters are excellent, and while the sport is impossibly silly, the movie works well enough if you are susceptible to this kind of thing. We are.

"Footloose" is watered down from the original at several levels, but works well enough. And it is currently available on the big screen.

"Ides of March" is a talking heads political thriller. As such, it is extremely well done. It raises a BUNCH of ethical questions, and doesn't offer any conclusions. It is occasionally flawed, and definitely convoluted, but VERY interesting.

"The Thing" is a prequel\remake of the 1982 John Carpenter movie of the same name. It shares one major flaw with the earlier film: The monster is STUPID in its own shape. It also adds another flaw, by virtue of being a prequel that needs to set up the circumstances of the other movie: The 1982 film had a detective story element that carried the narrative; the current film gives away most of the surprises in the first half hour. The film is pretty decent horror for all that, though,

While playing T&T in Indy last Tuesday, I was introduced, briefly, to a dice puzzle called "Petals around the Rose." The group had wasted an hour on it the previous week, and they showed it to me. They told me the name of the puzzle, but failed to tell me, "The name is the clue to the solution." So I watched a half dozen iterations and then asked for the solution so that we could move on. When told of the solution, I said, "I don't think that is solvable by simple observation." The game master replied, "I got it in three tries." I thought about that, and determined that: As a strictly numerical puzzle, it can be solved with a log of 30 or so iterations to study. As a lateral thinking puzzle, it can be solved MUCH more quickly, but the information that the name is the key is CRITICAL. (Apparently Bill Gates ran into the game in 1977, and never did solve the lateral thinking puzzle; he watched for a while, then pulled out a sheet of paper, logged the results, and solved the numerical puzzle.)

If you want to play with it yourself, there is a decent on line presentation here: http://weavervsworld.com/docs/think/rose/index.php

Uncle Hyena
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