Category Archives: Meta

This category is for blog entries about this blog.

Meta-Effects in Games

Some games proceed through their steps of play without interference. If you are playing Snakes and Ladders, you know that unless another player wins on his next turn, you will get another turn.

Other games have mechanisms that can change the normal sequence of play. It might be player A playing a card that forces player B to miss his next turn or that gives player A another turn.

This is extremely powerful. This is not appreciated by many game designers.

It appears that it is simply letting player A do something, but there are actually two things being done. Player A is doing something, AND player B’s play is being disrupted.

Player A is naturally going to play the card when it will work best for him. In effect, Player B gets ambushed.

This makes meta-effects in games more powerful than other effects. That is why meta-effects should be toned down some. Taken to extremes, the target player might not even get to play.

Back when I was playing Magic: the Gathering, another player related a game that he had played using several meta-effects.  He had the first play.  Through various meta-effects, he got six extra turns.  He was then built-up enough to win the game.  His opponent did not get a single turn.

If you are designing a game, please do not let meta-effects swamp the rest of the game.

Spoiling the Web

I started this blog at the end of May. It has not been two months yet and already, I have over 600 comments.

I would feel a lot better if they were not almost all spam. I have received one genuine comment. I replied to it. The other comments are spam.

I have just installed Akismet. While I do not like CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) schemes, I also dislike having to wade through lots of spam.

If you have wondered why CAPTCHA is used so widely, now you know.

Is This Thing On?

Hello. My name is Gene Wirchenko. I am a computer programmer / systems analyst living in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. I have about twenty-five years experience in the field. Being a natural analyst, I have picked apart things for years. I have been meaning to do something to pass on some of what I have learned. So this blog.

Since I find many things interesting, I will be writing about a lot of things. Some of the areas that I will write in are:

  • Computers: It could be about computers themselves, the industry, or how people deal with them. The Web can be a weird place. In the last semester of my Bachelor of Computing Science degree, I gave a presentation entitled “The Worldwide Web: An Invitation to Stupidity”.
  • Puzzles: I have been running a puzzle contest at Thompson Rivers University for about five years. Sadly, some people, when they see math or logic, turn their minds off. The subjects are not impossible to understand. It can be a lot of fun. I will be rerunning my older puzzles and running new ones when the university contest starts again in September. I urge you to give them a try. Most of them are not difficult if you use basic logic and maybe a bit of algebra.
  • Education and Learning: People learn in different ways: reading, seeing, doing, a mix. I currently tutor a high-functioning autistic boy. It is definitely a challenge to figure out how to get him to learn.
  • Blogging: Hey, I am learning. This is the second version of this blog entry. I wrote three blog entries, and somehow, the third one overwrote the other two. Even before that, just getting set up was some trouble. There is a lot of noise on the Web, but I found and highly recommend Court Tuttle’s tutorials. Go to How To Start A Blog And Get It Right. Court was also personally quite helpful to me. Kudos to you, Court.
  • Competence and Doing: Some people who are very loud about their competence are, in fact, not that competent. There is an old saw that 85% of drivers consider themselves above-average drivers. Ever wonder why this is so?
  • Games and Gaming: By “gaming”, I mean the playing of games. To me, Monopoly and its ilk are quite mundane. I do like board games though. Some board and card games that I enjoy are Carcassone, The Settlers of Catan, The Struggle for Catan, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Gloom, Groo, Girl Genius, and various crayon rail games.
  • Interpersonal Relations: How do people interact with each other? Are you someone who treats others as you like to be treated, or do you try to treat them as they would like? Extroverts can be like sandpaper to introverts. Ask me how I know.
  • Communication: This is part of interpersonal relations, but it deserves its own category. How situations have been made worse by bad communication? All too many.
  • Business: The workaday world is a large part of life.
  • What-Have-You: To be determined. You could be part of the determining. Reply or E-mail me at Gene Wirchenko <>.  If you are in the Kamloops area, maybe we could get together. I can always use more contacts and friends.

And just to make sure this blog is not a one-hit wonder, here are two more blog entries coming up fast.