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Links: Translating BANG! On Screen, Mastering Stratego, and Monopolizing Bricks in CATAN

by W. Eric Martin

• I noted in early December 2022 that Terraforming Mars had been optioned for a screen adaptation, but sometimes you don’t need to go to Hollywood to see adaptations of well-loved games.

Little Bridge, which BANG! designer Emiliano Sciarra describes as “a group of boys from Bologna who are passionate about cinema and games”, has released several chapters of a feature film based on BANG!. Says Sciarra, “[A]lthough it is obviously a production made without Hollywood means, it exudes passion for the game and western films!”

Here’s the trailer:

Youtube Video

And the Little Bridge YouTube page, which features three chapters as of December 7, 2022: “L’inizio” (The Beginning), “Dispersi” (Dispersed), and “Devilgrin Creek”.

• In that Dec. 2022 post, I had included an item about a AI that performed well at Diplomacy, and helpful reader David Janik-Jones noted that computers have also mastered Stratego, as reported in Gizmodo:

Researchers from Alphabet-owned DeepMind…say they’ve created a new AI agent capable of playing Stratego at a “human expert level”. The AI, called DeepNash, won nearly all of the matches it played against other AI’s and had an 84% overall win rate when competing against human players in online games. DeepNash, which learned to master the game by playing against itself, was able to make complex decisions and consider tradeoffs in “extraordinary” ways previous AI systems couldn’t.

More about that last point:

To win, DeepNash mixed both long term strategy and short term decision making like bluffing and taking chances. It’s rare that two of those things can be done at the same times so well by an AI agent. Stratego’s combination of long, strategic thinking and making decisions based on incomplete or limited information have mostly thwarted past AI models.

• In late November 2022, Géraldine Volders, head of sales and marketing for Repos Production and co-author of “Une histoire des jeux de société”, appeared on Belgian site RTL INFO to recommend games for the holiday season.

• Speaking of which, in early December 2022 on The New York Times’ Wirecutter, James Austin recommended four top strategy games: Root, Ark Nova, Lost Ruins of Arnak, and Brass: Birmingham.

• Also on NYT, David Segal and Dylan Loeb McClain profile chess player Hans Niemann and discuss that cheating accusations that have been leveled against him.

• In October 2022, YouTube channel Beyond the Bricks interviewed Eli Boschetto, who was presenting a fully LEGOized version of CATAN at BrickSlopes 2022 in Utah.

Youtube Video

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