a rickety bridge of impossible crossing

fudging the tetrahedra

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It's hard not to get conspiratorial about the die rolls in Royal Game of Ur Online.1 I feel like my strategy has gotten pretty good, good enough that I can win against the medium AI fairly consistently; and when I play against the hard AI, I still do well, until my extremely good setup comes crumbling down after a miraculous set of die rolls from the AI. In one game, I had a pawn on the coveted center rosette, where pieces are immune to being attacked. My opponent only had one piece on the board, 2 squares ahead of mine. As much as I hate giving up the center rosette under any circumstances, I rolled a 2, and I figured I could bump the AI's last piece and be set up with an almost guaranteed point. The space 2 squares ahead of the rosette is a mere 3 spaces away from the safe zone, where the path starts turning into your own territory and the piece is out of the contested zone. I was home free, I thought.

Then the AI takes its turn, and it proceeds to roll two 4s in a row, followed by a 2. Exactly the sequence of die rolls it needs to start a new piece out on the first rosette, get another turn, leap onto the coveted center rosette, get another turn, and bump off my piece again.

If you remember the odds from the other day that's two 6.25% rolls in a row, then exactly what it needed for the last roll. In D&D terms, that's like rolling two consecutive critical 20s2 and then a maximum damage roll. Preposterous.

Also, if I had a quarter for every time the computer rolled a 0 and, before I could even finish celebrating my good fortune, I immediately rolled a 0 as well, I could probably buy a Big Mac. Maybe not, with commodities in flux the way they are. I'll have to check the index. But it's probably close.

But I know what you're saying. It's open source! Anyone can just take a peek into the code for that algorithm and verify that there's nothing funny going on. And to that I say, first of all, everyone knows there's no such thing as a random number. Not as far as computers are concerned, anyway. Pseudo-random is as good as it gets. That's the first red flag.

Second of all, I looked at the github page, and the game is written in the following languages: JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Python, and Shell. That's like ten languages. Even Irving Finkel, the guy who translated the rules from ancient clay tablets, only had to know two languages: Babylonian and English (to translate it to.) Now you're saying I gotta not only learn those but also Akkadian, Sanskrit, Phrygian, Assyrian and Aramaic just to prove the computer ain't dealing from the bottom of the deck? You're not saying that at all? This is a ridiculous analogy? Okay then, apology accepted.

Anyway, I hope I figure out how to counteract the computer's cheating enough that I can move on to the expert AI, cause just look at it. Awww.


I don't know why the icon for the "Extreme" AI is an adorable sleepy panda, but I played one game against it just to see if it's some kind of joke, and it's not. Sleepy panda knows what it's doing. I hope someday to be at its level.

Also of note on the game select screen: RoyUrNet added a way to challenge your friends directly in 1-on-1 matches since the last time I was fixated on the game. There's no profiles or anything, you just send your friend a magic link, so hit me up on Discord or Telegram if you ever wanna match wits. Deets are on the me page 🦝

  1. henceforth RoyUrNet.↩

  2. 5%, 6.25%, whatever. Something something margin of error. There is no D16, but you get the picture.↩