Do you know Halma? Apparently it is called Chinese checkers in English, yet in Germany the field has the form of a star and you can play it with two or three playes. It’s a game that has always been played at home, my parents play it especially in winter, when there is nothing to do outside.
Chrismass lasts in Germany until the 26th, and it’s been a pretty particular Chrismass this year. Since I didn’t have my car, and since I've still been busy testing out the bug-fix-repair-software using the Windows 98-PC of my parents without X-server, since I've been writing this thesis report on a German keyboard, I spent the whole Chrismass with my parents or at home. Normally I am driving around, visiting my cousins, friends who are visiting their parents as well etc. My parents also did not went to visit other parts of the family. It’s been nice actually. I think the atmosphere between my parents and me has never been so relaxed than this year, like we manage finally to respect each other as we are.
So we played Halma these evenings. Yesterday I was playing as always, rather reactively, just trying to make always the best moves. Today, I finally started to think! I considered how to build roads to move my tokens more efficiently – I won all the games. Yet I didn’t even start thinking how to hamper the moves of my father or cut back my mother. I like this game!
Being tired of too much thinking, we started to play dices. Yes, I know, that with some probably very basic knowledge of statistics, I should be able to optimize my chances of winning. But I don’t. I lost every game. No, I am not among the lucky ones. One gets most points, if all the five dices have the same number with at most three strokes. I got it only during the last game, when my father already stopped playing, but then twice!Following the rules, the second "five in a row", counted in my case only 5 instead of 50 points. So much about good luck and gaussian distributions.