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February 1st, 2005

Open Source Board Game

The other day, this guy here announced “the first open source (or at least Creative Commons-licensed) board game.” The game itself seems similar to Go. I look forward to trying it out once the first freeware version comes out.

What this reminded me of, though, was a strategy game I designed for the Apple II in BASIC back in the late 80s. I forget what I named it (might have been “Reverse” as a nod to Reversi, perhaps), but I remember it as being pretty darn clever. Essentially, the rules were as such:

  • A board of x by x squares is filled with an even number of Xs and Os, randomly distributed.
  • On a turn, a player can then reverse all of the letters in any row or column, except for the row or column played previously by his opponent.
  • The game ends after a predetermined number of turns.

Pretty simple, and there’s probably room for some more rules (I’d add the “locking” of a box where a chosen row intersects with the previously chosen column), but it was honestly quite addictive even in its most basic form.

My version allowed you to choose the level of play of the computer, which essentially determined how often the computer would make a good choice versus a random choice. It was nearly unbeatable in the expert mode.

So, I’m officially “open sourcing” my idea as well under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 license. I’d love to see a Flash version of this game to play during my lunch break and would gladly provide the original source code to anyone interested in it and provide answers to any other questions about the game.

I’d also like to come up with a better name for it. Maybe “Reverse” in another language? Any ideas?

Posted in Board Games, Technology

Justin Operable May 17, 2007, 8:28 am

There’s a difference in my opinion between Public Domain and Open Source. Besides, just because Chess games can be made by anybody, doesn’t mean it not awesome to enrich the gift culture with more free games.

Curtis July 16, 2009, 12:34 am

Hi, I know this thread has been sitting idle for a while, but I just stumbled across it. I’m trying to form a community of people interested in making up “open source board games”, and I’ve set up a wiki-like web site where anyone can post rules, board images etc, and give/receive feedback. I’d invite anyone who might be interested to drop by http://www.grassrootsgamer.com, and check it out!

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