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'Scaper-of-the-Month #79 - mathguy

Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 03:02 PM by AliasQTip
Updated August 23rd, 2012 at 06:31 PM by AliasQTip
I present for your reading pleasure and interview with 'Scaper and Trekie, mathguy!



'Scaper-of-the-Month #79 is...


mathguy



PROFILE:

Who are you, really?
David

How old are you?
49

What is your occupation?
Professor of mathematics. I have a Ph.D. in mathematics. I teach mathematics and computer science, and I do mathematics research. I play Heroscape with my students weekly as a “math club event”. I wheel my Heroscape collection, stacked on a large cart (see photo), from my office to a classroom and we set up and play.

What other interests do you have?
Science fiction. I like sci-fi shows. I have a collection of Star Trek figures decorating the walls of my home office, and ships hanging from the ceiling.


What’s another board game you enjoy and why?
If I can pick only one, DungeonQuest. I like that the board is randomly built as you play. It’s a pretty good multi-player game. There are many random elements. The characters have unique abilities. It’s tough to win and it is very amusing.

Who, or what, is you avatar and how did you come up with your username?
My avatar is a Wizard of Wor screenshot, because Wizard of Wor was my favorite arcade video game when I was a youngster. And I also held the world record. The username was easy – math is what I like and do.


HEROSCAPE:

When and how did you first get into HeroScape?
I bought the first master set in 2005 as a gift for a friend’s kids. We played and I thought it was really cool. I have been collecting ever since. Now I have a huge collection.

What is your favorite aspect of HeroScape and why?
The mathematics of decision making. When deciding between possible moves, you can either go with your gut or you can analyze the mathematics rigorously.

To whom is your allegiance and why?
I don’t really have a favorite faction. If I had to choose, I would pick Ullar for the elves and vipers.

Who are your favorite heroes and why?
Unique: Mimring. Our gaming group has statistical evidence that the Fire Line Special Attack works much better when it comes out of Mimring’s rear.
Uncommon: Mindflayer. A running joke among our gaming group is that Enslave only works when you try it on a friendly figure.
Common: Black Wyrmling. How can you not love a baby version of Braxas?

What are your favorite squads and why?
Unique: Krav Maga Agents. Too obvious of a choice? They are very versatile especially in multiplayer games.
Common: Anubian Wolves. Because they look cool and they are amusing, both when they unleash their fury to an attack of 9 and when one of them commits suicide.

What is your favorite Special Ability and why?
Majestic Fires: It can be used to take out annoying hordes.

What is your favorite map and why?
My favorite official map is Arglynn Castle, because you can play large number of points and multiplayer games on it. My favorite map that my gaming group has made is “mini-minas-tirith”.






COMMUNITY:

What do you enjoy most about HeroScapers.com?
There are so many dedicated Heroscapers, giving their time making resources. And lately I have been enjoying the custom superhero figures from the C3G group.

Describe your favorite HeroScape moment.
There was this game where it came down to a 4-life-left Nilfheim on top of a castle wall 20 levels up versus one Tarn Viking on the ground below. You would think that Nilfheim would win for sure because he could just fly up or down and attack the Tarn Viking from a distance. But in the next turn, the Tarn Viking successfully berserked 3 times in a roll and berserked all the way up a latter and attacked Nilfheim (3 skulls, 0 shields), reducing Nilfheim down to 1 life. Now it was too risky for Nilfheim to disengage, so Nilfheim stayed and attacked back but no damage to the Viking. And the Tarn Viking finished off Nilfheim in the next attack. This was one of the mostly unlikely endings.

Is there any member of HeroScapers.com you’d really like to play against?
Perhaps GameBear on his cool custom boards?


UNIT DEBATE:

Which unit would you say is better: Me-Burq-Sa or Marro Warriors?
Marro Warriors because of their annoying cloning ability. Although Me-Burq-Sa is awesome when he stares down Deathwalker 7000.

What two units would you like to see in the next Unit Debate?
Microcorps Agents vs Omicron Snipers

By the way, can you tell us about your Matchup Calculator?
I wanted to build a tool for the ultimate theoryscaper. So a create the matchup calculator. Given two units (or multiples of one if a squad or common unit), the matchup calculator calculates the win probability of each unit. It takes into account of all abilities and initiative rolls. The math behind this calculation is that the program constructs a “finite state machine” which is a set of “states” each of which corresponds to a possible moment in the battle. (There could be thousands of states.) The program then calculates the probabilities of transitioning from one state to another. This yields a (possibly big) matrix that encodes the way the battle can proceed. Then some fun math is applied to the matrix to calculate the probability of one side winning. The fun math is from the topic of “Markov chains”. More details about the program is on this page. I’m glad my program can help settle some theoryscape questions. I have ambitions to overhaul the program to include abilities from custom C3G figures, but spare time is hard to come by.


LIE DETECTOR:

Tell us two true things about yourself and one lie.
1. I know the expansion of the number Pi to 314 digits.
2. I was a member of a USA Math Olympiad team that placed first at the International Math Olympiad.
3. I can play “forever” on Asteroids, Pacman, Defender, and Robotron.


THREE FUN FAVORITES:
Favorite book: “Sphere Packings, Lattices, and Groups”.
Favorite song: Hakuna Matata
Favorite sport: To play - tennis; to spectate - football.


THREE FUN FAVORITES:

What message do you have for the ‘Scaper community?
Enjoy the game. Pick fun armies to play. I have found that sometimes the less popular units are just as fun to play. And think about the math behind the dice once in a while.

Whom do you pick for the next ‘Scaper of the Week?
Since I have been very much enjoying the C3G customs, I think I’ll pick someone prominent from the C3G group: Griffin.
Total Comments 13

Comments

Old
AliasQTip's Avatar
Sorry about the long delay but work has had me swamped. I've had this ready and waiting since April 15th but haven't had time to get it posted. Besides, I was kinda holding out for the Gallery to come back online.
Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 03:03 PM by AliasQTip AliasQTip is offline
Old
tcglkn's Avatar
Cool interview. Glad to see a deserving member of C3G get the spotlight.
Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 03:33 PM by tcglkn tcglkn is online now
Old
IAmBatman's Avatar
Love the C3G shout out! And glad to see Griff getting some love here! I can't believe he hasn't been featured yet.
Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 03:42 PM by IAmBatman IAmBatman is online now
Old
Porkins's Avatar
Great to see a mathguy interview! I love the stuff you have contributed to the community!

I like (trying) to take the mathematics into account when I play the game too. I think it's fascinating to think about the probability of what's going to likely be rolled, making a decision, and then Thor rolls zero shields. GRRRR! My kids have taken to it too, and now frequently refer to the AQtip table or some plots of probability that I printed up.
Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 04:38 PM by Porkins Porkins is offline
Old
MegaSilver's Avatar
Another great interview!

By the way, the gallery is up.
Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 05:09 PM by MegaSilver MegaSilver is offline
Old
Scapemage's Avatar
C3G is infecting all aspects of Heroscapers! Congrats Mathguy!
Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 06:01 PM by Scapemage Scapemage is offline
Old
Tornado's Avatar
Great interview, O' Lord of Wor. That is an impressive Trek collection and I think I need a Mini Minas Tirith.
I have to thank you again for the 'mini C3G cards' (playing card sized) you created and setting everything up for Artscow. I have three decks and I love them. If you have a MAME emulator, check out The Wiz.
Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 06:30 PM by Tornado Tornado is offline
Old
ABOMINATION's Avatar
Very cool. That would be so awesome to have a math professor who was into Heroscape at the college I go to.
Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 09:39 PM by ABOMINATION ABOMINATION is offline
Old
ZBeeblebrox's Avatar
Another cool interview. Another awesome scaper
Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 09:48 PM by ZBeeblebrox ZBeeblebrox is offline
Old
chas's Avatar
Congratulations on your participation in the Scape community and being picked for an interview. Scape on!
Posted May 23rd, 2012 at 08:07 AM by chas chas is offline
Old
Red Eyed Jedi's Avatar
Great Interview, and you might be pleased to know, even though simple math is my nemesis, I always think about the numbers before I roll the dice. Great job making Scape a learning opportunity for your students, I'm sure your one of their favorite teachers.
Posted May 23rd, 2012 at 02:20 PM by Red Eyed Jedi Red Eyed Jedi is offline
Old
Great interview and thanks for the C3Griffin shout out.

You know, I used to have a ton of Star Trek and StarWars ships hanging from my ceiling. Then I put them in a box to avoid embarassment when girls would come over. One day, while I was out of town, my dad sold them all at a yard sell. I am just glad he knew better than to sell my comics.

Great interview.
Posted May 24th, 2012 at 05:16 AM by Griffin Griffin is offline
Old
mathguy's Avatar
Thanks for all the love. (I can't believe all the typos that survived my proofreading. )
Math on!
Posted May 30th, 2012 at 12:09 PM by mathguy mathguy is offline
 
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