Every year we set the First Year Programming course a piece of Assessed Coursework. Each year it is a board game of some kind. This year we will be playing "Tactical Space Cheese Racer". This is a game that involves space, cheese, racing and tactics. As you might expect.
The game is a bit like "Snakes and Ladders" but without the ladders and snakes. Each player is flying a cheese powered rocket over the board with the aim of reaching the finish as soon as possible. Each turn the player can throw the "tactics dice" and try to cause as much mayhem as possible (they can get extra turns, their engines might explode etc etc). On the cheese squares they must use tactics because the power of the cheese compels them to.
I've built a simulation and played a few games (well, 10,000 actually) :
Arnold is an AI player who always throws the tactics dice. Norman never uses tactics unless he has to. Simon throws tactics if he is last in the game and Sandra uses tactics every now and then. I think the balance is reasonable, at least for now. We'll be rolling out the coursework in the next week or so. And tonight I spent a happy half hour finding out how to make chrome effect text using image based lighting in Photoshop.