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[P]
The K5 Gaming Platform: Abusing Kuro5hin's Comment System

By yuo in Meta
Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 05:41:07 AM EST
Tags: Internet Gaming, chess, go, checkers, hex, board games (all tags)

With the recent changes to Kuro5hin, most turn-based games of complete knowledge can easily be played directly in the comments.

This article does not cover games with an element of chance (such as card games), games of partial knowlege (like battleship), or games where timing matters (like rock-paper-scissors). It may be possible to play these kinds of games on K5, but not without extra effort. Luckily, many of the greatest games ever invented are easy to play on K5, including chess, checkers, go, and even tic-tac-toe.


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For simplicity, let's begin with tic-tac-toe. Board game fields may be created using ASCII art. On K5, this is done by using the <tt> tag. Open <tt>, make the board, and then finish with a </tt> tag. I always use Auto Format for my comments, so if this doesn't work with the other comment types, you'll just have to choose Auto Format for your comment when you're playing a game.

For example, a familiar looking tic-tac-toe board may be created by putting the following into the comment body:

<tt>
 | |
-----
 | |
-----
 | |
</tt>

...which renders as:

 | |
-----
 | |
-----
 | |

At this point, we may play a game of tic-tac-toe in K5 by simply replying to each others' comments. In each reply, you copy the previous board and add your move as well as the <tt> tags.

x| |
-----
 | |
-----
 | |

x| |
-----
o| |
-----
 | |

x| |
-----
o|x|
-----
 | |

x| |
-----
o|x|
-----
 | |o

x| |x
-----
o|x|
-----
 | |o

x|x|x
-----
o|x|
-----
o| |o

Game Boards

Usually, when we play tic-tac-toe, we draw lines because it is the easiest way to define the playing field on paper, but on K5, the easiest way to define the playing field is to use a period in every empty space. The added advantage of this approach is that we may give the playing area dimensions that are more square. The final position in tic-tac-toe would now look like this (there is no need to draw the "victory" line, either):

x x x
o x .
o . o

There is a fairly standard way to record moves and to refer to locations on the board called algebraic notation, which can be adopted for Kuro5hin. Letters run across the bottom of the board and numbers up the side.

Tic-tac-toe (x vs o)
. . .  3
. . .  2
. . .  1

a b c

Now, the board is complete. I have included several sample boards for other games as well.

Chess (white is upper-case)
r b n q k n b r  8
p p p p p p p p  7
. . . . . . . .  6
. . . . . . . .  5
. . . . . . . .  4
. . . . . . . .  3
P P P P P P P P  2
R B N Q K N B R  1

a b c d e f g h

Checkers (x vs o; kings are uppercase)
  o   o   o   o  8
o   o   o   o    7
  o   o   o   o  6
.   .   .   .    5
  .   .   .   .  4
x   x   x   x    3
  x   x   x   x  2
x   x   x   x    1

a b c d e f g h

Go-9x9 (x vs o)
in go, captured stones are recorded, so if you
capture an x, then "x 0" would change to "x 1".
. . . . . . . . .  9
. . . . . . . . .  8
. . , . . . , . .  7
. . . . . . . . .  6
. . . . , . . . .  5
. . . . . . . . .  4
. . , . . . , . .  3
. . . . . . . . .  2
. . . . . . . . .  1

a b c d e f g h i

x 0
o 0

Go-13x13 (x vs o)
. . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
. . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
. . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
. . . , . . . . . , . . .  10
. . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
. . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
. . . . . . , . . . . . .   7
. . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
. . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
. . . , . . . . . , . . .   4
. . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
. . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
. . . . . . . . . . . . .   1

a b c d e f g h i j k l m

x 0
o 0

Go-19x19 (x vs o)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
. . . , . . . . . , . . . . . , . . .  16
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  13
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
. . . , . . . . . , . . . . . , . . .  10
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
. . . , . . . . . , . . . . . , . . .   4
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s

x 0
o 0

Hex (x top-left to bottom-right vs o)
          .           21
         . .          20
        . . .         19
   x   . . . .   o    18
      . . . . .       17
     . . . . . .      16
    . . . . . . .     15
   . . . . . . . .    14
  . . . . . . . . .   13
 . . . . . . . . . .  12
. . . . . . . . . . . 11
 . . . . . . . . . .  10
  . . . . . . . . .    9
   . . . . . . . .     8
    . . . . . . .      7
     . . . . . .       6
      . . . . .        5
   o   . . . .   x     4
        . . .          3
         . .           2
          .            1
abcdefghijklmnopqrstu

Comment Format

The board goes in the body of the comment, and the current move goes into the subject area. In that way, a game may easily be followed without having to look at each comment. Instead, using thread view, it's easy to follow the game, but an observer may pick any point in the game and view the complete board.

There is a general way of noting moves that will work for most board games. It should be fairly easy to adapt the notation to other games (or to use the common notation for that game). Any confusion in notation can easily be cleared up by viewing the game field, but in general, each player gets a move on each turn, and the notation begins with a turn number, followed by a period. An elipsis (...) is used to denote that another player has already moved on this turn. A piece is placed by using the piece's board notation followed by the square (letter then number). If all pieces are the same, then just say the square. In the tic-tac-toe game, the first move would be "1. xa3", or simply "1. a3". A piece is moved by using a "from-to" notation. If your piece moves from e3 to f4, and you're second to go on turn 3, your subject would be "3. ... e3-f4". When the game is over, it is noted by writing the "score". A dash is used to separate the players and a 1 to represent the win. So, in chess, a white win is "1-0", and a black is "0-1". A tie would be ".5-.5" or simply "Draw".

Now, the tic-tac-toe game appears as follows (thread view):

1. a3
 1. ... a2
  2. b2
   2. ... c1
    3. c3
     3. ... a1
      4. b3 1-0

Game management

There are times when you need to speak to your opponent, for example to offer a draw or to comment on a nice move. All of this goes below the game board (and outside of the <tt> tag). That means that if you want to offer a draw, you also have to make a move. You don't have to move to accept an offer of a draw, or to resign. In these cases, you put the "score" in the place of your move. "36. .5-.5" or "10. ... 1-0". It is polite to thank your opponent for a good game in the body of the comment, but this is not necessary. Resignations, draws, and offers of draws cannot be taken back, even if it turns out that your cat happened to make the right kind of message when it walked across your keyboard. However, offers of draws do have to be clear, for example "I offer a draw".

Finding partners

While Kuro5hin may not have been created for games, there are plenty of people with the interest to play. If you wish to play with somebody specifically, it is easy to reply to one of their comments and challenge them.

Game threads

The game thread itself can be in many places without being off-topic, such as in a diary or in this article's comments. Or, you can even put them into special threads.

Following Games

One of the recent changes to the K5 interface allows users to see any unread replies to their comments. Simply click on "Replies" in the Hotlist area on the right side of your screen, and you can follow all of your games at once.

Problems

Some problems are inherent in the K5 gaming system.

Lag
Unless your opponent is Michael Crawford, you can't expect a reply in less than 3 minutes. And you might even be lucky to get in more than one move a day. K5 users live all over the world, and there is a real possibility that your computer use times don't line up in any day. This doesn't make games unplayable; it simply changes the nature of the game. People have been playing correspondence chess with even greater lag for a long time. In correspondence chess, this often results in people taking a longer time to really think about each move, but you may choose to play however you please.

Cheating
Some people will use computer programs or smart friends to gain an advantage. There is no way to avoid this kind of cheating on the internet, so it is pointless to worry about. But, worse, some assholes may choose to kibitz on other people's games. They may even use a computer program to give unwanted advice and "ruin" a game. There's no way to stop an asshole, and the best way to deal with them is to simply play your best. You may try to avoid the assholes by starting game threads in old diaries or in special threads, but it is simple to find anybody's comments anyways. One other strategy is to choose a game that computers are not good at. Choose an unusual game or a game of go on a 19x19 board.

Hidden Comments
Another way somebody may grief your game is to give a lot of 0 ratings to hide all or part of your game. For this reason, it is best to give your opponent a rating of 3 as soon as you see a new move. This is most likely to happen to "fresh" games that would appear in new diaries, for instance, so if a games dies because of this, well, worse things could happen. Of course, you can always check for hidden comments, too, but that sounds like a lot of work.

Leavers
Maybe your opponent decides to stop playing the game without resigning. This is probably in response to an awesome move from you, and it is nothing to worry about. If the opponent never responds, you win by default, but if he ever does respond, you'll see it when you check your replies to comments.

Opponents
You can only play against the few people who still use this website. Yet, you're still using Kuro5hin yourself, aren't you? Maybe your options aren't so bad.

"If I'm playing chess as black, my board is upside down"
Get over it. Or, get a physical chessboard and copy all of the moves on it.

What next?

If you don't like the few games I've listed, there are tons of other games to consider (for example). In addition to providing variety, choosing a less familiar game will prevent people from cheating using computer programs. Now, go have fun!

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The K5 Gaming Platform: Abusing Kuro5hin's Comment System | 61 comments (37 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
just when i think (2.16 / 12) (#5)
by circletimessquare on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 12:30:57 PM EST

i am utterly lame and useless, along comes some turd on k5 and completely blows you out of the water on the scale of lameness and uselessness

you sir, have bravely stretched the boundaries of utter wastes of time. your meaninglessness is complete

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

cts welcomes you to his club $ (3.00 / 11) (#38)
by loteck on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 06:33:27 PM EST


--
"You're in tune to the musical sound of loteck hi-fi, the musical sound that moves right round. Keep on moving ya'll." -Mylakovich
"WHAT AN ETERNAL MOBIUS STRIP OF FELLATIATIC BANALITY THIS IS." -Harry B Otch

[ Parent ]
I want to play a game of monopoly (2.40 / 5) (#7)
by Vampire Zombie Abu Musab al Zarqawi on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 12:58:32 PM EST

The obvious problem is the lack of a die. The comment rating system can be used, but it's hardly fair, even though it seems to work fairly random.

Oh, and re rock, paper, scissors: It can be done.

random.org gives good die rolls (none / 0) (#12)
by rpresser on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 05:13:58 PM EST

unfortunately you will have to trust your opponent isn't cheating his rolls
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
maybe use pregenerated randomization (3.00 / 2) (#13)
by rpresser on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 05:19:58 PM EST

from the [https:/random.org/integers?mode=advanced advanced mode], agree on a whole list of 2000 dice rolls ahead of time ...
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
you could game that (none / 1) (#41)
by tolomea on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:18:46 AM EST

in some really interesting ways

[ Parent ]
just use a random number generator (none / 1) (#44)
by Zombie Schrodingers Cat on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:35:55 AM EST

and use an agreed upon changing value for a seed like the current temperature in Kuala Lumpur, or the  value of some stock or currency or something. As long as its something that changes often and you aren't able to predict what the exact value will be on the next refresh, it should work fine as a seed for a random number generator.

[ Parent ]
how do you remember this stuff (none / 0) (#14)
by DK4 Bloo on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 06:35:09 PM EST

and how did you find it?

[ Parent ]
perhaps it was his own comment? (none / 1) (#16)
by Ezra Loomis Pound on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 06:48:20 PM EST

duh.

:::"Let me tell ya, if she wasn't cut out to handle some fake boy online, well sister, life only gets more difficult, and you only get more emo as you age." --balsamic vinigga :::#_#:::
[ Parent ]
Indeed it's his own old account (none / 1) (#20)
by DK4 Bloo on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 07:11:42 PM EST

Your alacritous powers assuage the qualms of the mentally insufficient with salient perspicuity.

[ Parent ]
It's my own old account (none / 1) (#17)
by Vampire Zombie Abu Musab al Zarqawi on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 06:48:58 PM EST

So when he mentioned rock paper scissors, I remembered having played it. Then I used comment search for the word 'scissors' (not much discussion of scissors elsewhere on the site), and found the thread on the second page, since the search function worked this time.

[ Parent ]
VERILY, 'TIS A MIRACLE. [nt] (none / 0) (#35)
by BJH on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 01:19:50 PM EST


--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
Just use mental poker techniques. (3.00 / 1) (#48)
by Pentashagon on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:46:41 PM EST

Everyone playing posts an md5 hash of a random sequence of characters. After every player has posted their hash, they post the string used to generate it. The first character of each string is converted to a number (ASCII is fine, but if it's a printable digit all the better. Agree beforehand on the semantics) and then the sum mod 6 is the dice roll. The sum of the second character in each string mod 6 is the second dice roll, etc.

It's impossible to cheat without breaking the pre-image resistance of md5 (the part of md5 that still hasn't been broken) so long as fucktards don't choose strings that are in one of the md5 lookup databases on the web. Even if there is only one "honest" player, that's enough to ensure  unpredictability in the dice rolls. I could potentially play a fair game of monopoly with all the trolls of k5 against me, assuming trades and rent forgiveness were disallowed. Not that I'm any good at monopoly.

[ Parent ]

problem: this is too hard (1.80 / 5) (#8)
by United Fools on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 01:31:50 PM EST

It is not an easy to use system

We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
MTV VTD: not only is this stupid (1.28 / 7) (#10)
by yellow shark on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 03:13:59 PM EST

but I am not into gaming.

MTV VTD

paging k5arp (2.40 / 5) (#11)
by ray eckson on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 05:00:01 PM EST




wampsy: hey ray why don't you start up a site. you could call it ray5.
rusty: I gotta fix that stupid cancel bug.
booger: How's that for daring to get ray eckson all sniffy, you cow?
poopy: Not that I'm gay or anything, but for you I might make an exception.
Reenactment of your request for his return (3.00 / 3) (#47)
by yuo on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:42:56 PM EST


_   %=-.,    
  '\      ` .""-         Okay, Jesus!
    |       \-. \
_       Now is your chance
    |       (O); \ \  /  to come back and
    |         \   \ '    save me!
    |          \   \/
    |           \-. \
    |           (o); ,
    |             \,.O              

I wish I had thought of pants pants pants pants pants pants pants pants.
[ Parent ]

looks like a penis (none / 0) (#51)
by Phssthpok on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:36:54 PM EST


____________

affective flattening has caused me to kill 11,357 people

[ Parent ]
have you ever even seen a penis?? (3.00 / 5) (#55)
by yuo on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 09:10:00 PM EST


I wish I had thought of pants pants pants pants pants pants pants pants.
[ Parent ]

8=======D ~~ ~~ (none / 0) (#57)
by The Amazing Idiot on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 12:34:03 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Seek medical attention (none / 0) (#58)
by opendna on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:42:30 AM EST

Eee-mediately

[ Parent ]
a6b6 (none / 0) (#49)
by Pentashagon on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:57:33 PM EST




    • dick-sucking

    • maggot face

    • you

    • are




[ Parent ]
wut (2.75 / 4) (#23)
by LilDebbie on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 10:06:00 PM EST



My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

resection to -1 DUMP plz (1.33 / 3) (#25)
by achievingfluidity on Mon Feb 25, 2008 at 10:33:44 PM EST

kthx

--
ANNOY A LIBERAL USE FACTS AND LOGIC


WOT NO SHOGI?! (none / 0) (#31)
by BJH on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 01:08:06 PM EST

Also, go to Yahoo and click the link that says "Games". Go wild.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

ill vote up almost anything (2.50 / 6) (#39)
by loteck on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 06:35:57 PM EST

to get the current faggotry moving its way off the fp.
--
"You're in tune to the musical sound of loteck hi-fi, the musical sound that moves right round. Keep on moving ya'll." -Mylakovich
"WHAT AN ETERNAL MOBIUS STRIP OF FELLATIATIC BANALITY THIS IS." -Harry B Otch

will you late me stroke your cock? (none / 1) (#45)
by circletimessquare on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:07:28 PM EST

while we watch porn together?

don't worry, i'm a straight male


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Abuse report filed! (none / 0) (#40)
by Phssthpok on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 11:50:07 PM EST


____________

affective flattening has caused me to kill 11,357 people

The future of K5 gaming (3.00 / 13) (#43)
by ixian on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:54:27 AM EST


quadrant 2/5
. . . . . . K .   condition    RED
. . . * . . . .
. . K . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . E .   torpedoes      2
. * . . . . . .      energy    750
. . . . . K . .     shields    600
. . . . . . . .    klingons     29

command: _


OK, somebody program a comment-posting bot forthis (none / 0) (#46)
by rpresser on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 12:08:37 PM EST


------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
sweet (none / 0) (#60)
by khallow on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 01:56:22 PM EST

If I had 500 dupes to mod this up with, I would.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Most frustrating computer game ever. (none / 0) (#61)
by killmepleez on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 07:51:06 PM EST

There was no way to win or even succeed for very long. It seemed like I got chomped by the Doomsday Machine every 20 turns. And yet, back in 1990 or whenever that was, I played it constantly because really, there wasn't much else to play.

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
[ Parent ]
Re: battleship (none / 1) (#50)
by Pentashagon on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:42:22 PM EST

I have a 16x16 battleship grid represented by a 16 line ASCII file. The first 16 characters of each line are indexed as columns (1 through 16), and each row is indexed by a letter (a-p). Empty water is a period (.), ships are the ASCII digits 1 through 6. Ships "1" and "2" are 3 spaces long, "4", "5", and "6" are four spaces long. "3" is five spaces long. There are extra random characters at the end of some lines to prevent brute forcing the board from its md5 hash. There is a newline character at the end of each line (single 0x0a byte, *nix style).

MD5 hash: e70ed8e8cfe043506eec2f38a0fb470a

If someone were to post their own hash of a board in the same format, we could ensure no cheating at the end of the game.

wut. (none / 0) (#52)
by the77x42 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:32:38 PM EST




"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
d6 (none / 0) (#54)
by sholden on Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 01:02:53 PM EST

1e36db875ee82d92c5902a29daf5720c

--
The world's dullest web page


[ Parent ]
Let's play pin the tail on the donkey (3.00 / 9) (#53)
by the77x42 on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:37:29 PM EST


             ---,,----
            /    .     \
           /     |      \
          (      @@      )
          /   _----_   \
         
  '/      `   \
        /    /   .    \    \
       /    |        |\    \
       
  / |        | \   \
      /   `
_      _'\   \
     /  '/  (  . )( .  )  \  `\
     <
' `--`_'`_'--' ` _>
    /  '     @ @/ =@ @     `  \
   /  /      @@(  , )@@      \  \
  /  /       @@| o o|@@       \  \
 ' /          @@@@@@@@          \ `



"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

HOW DO CODE A_GRUE? <nt> (none / 1) (#59)
by TDS on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 09:52:49 PM EST



And when we die, we will die with our hands unbound. This is why we fight.
The K5 Gaming Platform: Abusing Kuro5hin's Comment System | 61 comments (37 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
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