Taipan! is an old Apple II game that I used to play as a kid.

Taipan is a classic strategy game that was originally released for the Apple II computer in 1982. It was developed by Art Canfil and published by Avalon Hill. The game is set in the 19th-century Far East and allows players to become wealthy merchants by trading goods and engaging in naval battles.

In Taipan, players start with a small amount of money and a ship, and their goal is to build a successful trading empire. They can purchase goods at various ports and then sell them at other ports for a profit. The game includes a dynamic economic system, with prices fluctuating based on supply and demand. Additionally, players must manage their ship’s crew, deal with pirate attacks, and navigate through storms and other hazards.

Taipan gained popularity for its engaging gameplay and strategic depth. It was known for its detailed graphics, considering the limitations of the Apple II’s hardware, and its challenging gameplay. The game’s success led to ports and adaptations for other platforms, such as the Commodore 64 and MS-DOS.

Although it’s been several decades since its release, Taipan remains a beloved classic among retro gaming enthusiasts and is often remembered as one of the standout titles for the Apple II computer.

I’m delighted to have discovered a webpage hosting a javascript port of the original game. Some of the delays were annoying me so I made my own copy and shortened them. Eventually I might get around to adding the ability to repay the money lender more and take advantage of the 100% interest bug.

I also discovered where one can find the most statistically likely cheapest and most expensive places to buy and sell a given commodity with these arrays:

var BP=[['Opium',11,16,15,14,12,10,13],
['General Cargo',10,11,12,13,14,15,16]];

Each cargo type is represented by an inner array, where the first element is the name of the cargo, and the subsequent elements represent the pricing coefficients for the ports.

The ports are indexed from 1 to 7, with the pricing coefficients following this order. So, for example, the pricing coefficients for Opium correspond to the ports in the following order: Port 1 Hong Kong – 11, Port 2 Shanghai – 16, Port 3 Nagasaki – 15, Port 4 Saigon – 14, Port 5 Manila – 12, Port 6 Singapore – 10, and Port 7 Batavia – 13.

These coefficients play a role in determining the prices you’ll encounter when trading in each port. They’re used as multipliers or modifiers to the base price of a cargo type. The higher the coefficient for a specific port, the more likely the prices for that cargo type will be high in that port. Conversely, lower coefficients create prices for that cargo type that are relatively lower.

By utilizing these coefficients, it makes it easier to strategically plan trading routes and make decisions based on which ports are likely to offer the best returns for buying and selling different types of cargo.


XKCD’s Escape Speed

XKCD, presumably to celebrate the milestone achievement of the launch of SpaceX’s Starship, has created a charming space exploration game, Escape Speed, that’s much deeper than it appears.

Explain XKCD has some hints to help solve it (such as a link to the subway map, and a map of the entire playing area.)

(Via Waxy)

games Math


Mathler is like Wordle, but with math. It’s trickier than it first appears and, just like Wordle, gets exponentially easier with each guess.

games mobile gaming

What is Simply put, it’s a collection of open source party games for phones. You choose a game and invite your friends to join.

Here are the descriptions from a few of the games:


In Drawphone, there are no winners… only losers! Players take turns drawing pictures and guessing what those pictures are. If you guess correctly, nothing happens! If you guess wrong or draw like a toddler and ruin the chain of drawings and guesses, rest assured that you will be mercilessly mocked for your honest mistake (which ultimately doesn’t even matter in the grand scheme of the world).


Wavelength is a social guessing game where two teams compete to read each other’s minds. It’s a thrilling experience of TALKING and THINKING and HIGH FIVING that anyone can play—but it also has some of that deep word game sorcery, like Codenames, where your decisions feel tense, strategic, meaningful.

Fake Artist:

Everyone is drawing one picture together…and one doesn’t even know what they draw. There is a Fake Artist hiding among the real artists – can you find out who it is? The Fake Artist has to be careful not to be give himself away and guess what is being drawn while the real artists have to signal the other artists with their drawing that they know the word, without making the drawing too obvious for the Fake Artist. The catch? you only get to draw one line.


Two warring factions are trying to send secret messages to their comrades, but their communications are broadcast for the enemy to see. To keep their messages secret, each faction “encrypts” their messages using 4 keywords, known only to their comrades. Meanwhile, the enemy tries to intercept their messages by listening to their clues and figuring out the enemy’s keywords. The first faction to intercept 2 messages from the other faction wins, unless a faction loses by miscommunicating 2 of their own messages.

Based on The Resistance, Snakeout:

Out the snake, or be outed as a snake! ?
Snakeout is a game in which a team of loyalists is infiltrated by a group of snakes. The loyalists must try to figure out who the snakes are, and the snakes must try to keep the loyalists from figuring out their identity. The game is separated into five missions. The first team to “win” three missions wins the game.

And more… They’ve even got Secret Hitler, Code Words, and One Night Werewolf.


AI Learns Monopoly

I don’t remember the last time I played Monopoly but I have fond memories of the game. My dad built it up as one of the greatest board games ever when he picked up a used copy at a garage sale. I tend to agree (at least when I was kid — of course board games have come along way since I was a kid).

My friends always thought our set was weird because it had a milk cartoon, egg holder, and goblet instead of the usual metal shoe, wheel barrow, or scottie dog, etc. but I’ve come to love the classic wooden pieces over the more modern metal ones.

The video above discusses the use of artificial intelligence to figure out the best Monopoly strategy. It took the equivalent of 1600 years of monopoly playing for the AI to discover that… I won’t spoil it for you except to say that if you’ve ever looked into strategies, the best one is one you probably already know.


(Via Kottke)


Solving Wordle on the First Guess

Following up my Wordle post from a couple of days ago, here is a story about someone using software analysis on Twitter posted guesses to solve Wordle on the very first guess.

It turns out the squares taking social media by storm contain enough information to correctly guess the daily Wordle on the first attempt each day.

The site includes some examples and has a link to download the code.


Best First Guess Word For Wordle

Wordle, it’s all the craze lately.

I’ve done a deep dive figuring out the best first guess word for Wordle.

TLDR: Skip to the last table which breaks down the best words by the greatest chance to have the most letters in the word in the correct spot vs the most letters in the word but in the wrong spot.

Find out more after the jump.

download games

Secret Hitler – Print and Play

Secret Hitler is a fun hidden identity social deduction party game for 5-10 players about finding and stopping the Secret Hitler.

Players are secretly divided into two teams: the liberals, who have a majority, and the fascists, who are hidden to everyone but each other. If the liberals can learn to trust each other, they have enough votes to control the elections and save the day. But the fascists will say whatever it takes to get elected, advance their agenda, and win the game.

A couple of years ago I found that the creators of the game released a black and white Creative Commons copy for printing. I later found a colour version and made a few changes as well added my own printable box template to go with it. I sent it out to the local printshop to get it printed on large card-stock and decided to share in case you’d like to print your own:

Secret Hitler Box

If printing and cutting aren’t your thing, you can find purchasing options at


The Magic of Chess

Another chess related post today. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it on this site but for the past 4 or 5 years I’ve been the President of the Lethbridge Chess club. Last Christmas I was demoted to President Emeritus and Klaus Jerricho has taken over the job.

Anyway, today’s post is about The Magic of Chess, which is a short documentary that shows young chess champions revealing how the game has enriched their lives. The four minute movie was shot by director Jenny Schwitzer Bell on location at the 2019 Elementary Chess Championships, a high-stakes tournament held annually in Nashville.

From The Atlantic:

In attendance—and interviewed in the film—was Tani Adewumi, the 8-year-old Nigerian refugee who, while living in a homeless shelter with his family, beat elite-private-school kids in the New York Chess Championships.

The children interviewed in the film are articulate and wise beyond their years. “When I asked the kids questions like, ‘What has chess taught you?,’ I was surprised, given their limited life experience, that they could formulate a response beyond the obvious mechanics of the game,” Schweitzer Bell told me.

Chess “teaches you how to make a plan,” one child says in the film.

“When you lose, you learn from your mistakes,” says another.

Photo credit: David Pacey CC 2.0
(via The Loop)


The Knight’s Tour

The Knight’s Tour is a sequence of chess moves by a knight on a chessboard such that the piece visits every square only once. How hard could it be?

Animated chess board with a single Knight and no other pieces going to every square on the chess board once

Here’s one possible path that I worked out starting at e1.

e1, g2, h4, f3, e5, g6, h8, f7, d8, b7, a5, c6, d4, b3, a1, c2, b4, a2, c1, d3, c5, a6, b8, d7, f8, h7, g5, e6, f4, h3, g1, e2, g3, h1, f2, e4, c3, d1, b2, a4, b6, a8, c7, b5, a7, c8, d6, e8, f6, g8, e7, d5, e3, c4, a3, b1, d2, f1, h2, g4, h6, f5, g7, h5

The trick is (as far as I can tell) you’ve got to move in a pattern such that at the halfway point your board looks like this:

Chess board with one knight halfway on the Knight's Tour

There might be other ways to complete the tour, but regardless, if you can get sets of two in the block pattern similar to the image above then the rest is just as easy as getting here in the first place. Also, notice that only two corners have been filled at this point, A1 and G8 while at the same time in the centre four squares D4 and E5 are filled while D5 and E4 are not yet taken. The other general idea is to choose the move that has the least options to move to next (beware there are exceptions).

The knight is randomly placed at the outset but this pattern is buildable from any of the start positions I’ve worked on. Give it a try: The Knight’s Tour. The source code is at github if you’d like to build your own — created by Reddit user psrwo.

(via BoingBoing)