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EctoComp 2020

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Death Plays Battleship, by Nerd Date Night

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Trippy in retrospect, November 10, 2021
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)
Related reviews: EctoComp 2020, EctoComp

It's good news when an EctoComp entry is replayable. It's also quite good when I have to replay it, and I know it'll be worth it. But for this game, I didn't want to replay it until I considered the possibilities. Perhaps I'm just the right audience for it.

But it's just a simple game of Battleship. A 3x1 ship on a 4x4 board. For you and death. All for the right to avoid damnation. I won my first time. Maybe I just want to keep my perfect record.

However, I'm currently entertaining the notion that the game doesn't pick things at random. That it only seems to. After all, it gives you four guesses to start, and there's no guarantee one of them hits. (In fact, there never is, with four guesses. You need five: C1, D2, A2, B3, C4, for instance.) And Death hit me the move after I hit him. Then, in a stroke of luck, I guessed wrong, but so did Death. This isn't totally improbable, but there's enough linked that the story could go like so:

Death taunts a mere mortal, asking them why they deserve to avoid eternal damnation. The mortal's actually been a pretty good person, but Death doesn't want to make it easy. Death mocks them: "don't ask wise questions about how I know what you're thinking and how you might cheat." But Death has already made up its mind, in the person's favor. It's just part of the ritual. (Note: you have opportunities to be a smartaleck. Maybe this fixes you for a bad end. That'd be cool.)

As someone who has spent far too much time poking at advanced battleship strategies, such as they are, I didn't expect an oversimplified game of battleship to be so thought-provoking, but I'm glad it was.



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