Friday, October 01, 2010


I use Freecell as a break quite often, or as a way to submerge-my-conscious-mind-and-let-Something-Lower-do-the-work. Or whatever. Sometimes I tell myself that it's a good way to wake up, or that it's a test of the degradation of my aging brain, or any other excuse that I can think of. And I do play it on Ubuntu (setting the default AisleRiot launcher for GNOME games to /usr/games/sol -v Freecell), but I prefer the Mac version because it has a history feature which I haven't seen on Ubuntu, so I mostly play it on my wife's iMac. And in the last few years, between us we have played 6060 distinct games as of this morning. Quite a few of these games have been played more than once, though. A perfect (perfectly boring) game would involve clicking once and watching 52 moves self-play; my best is a 71-move game, which I've done three times. (My wife prefers to build huge stacks and watch them self-play, which doesn't lead to low move-counts). When I need (or my wife uses) more than 99 moves to win, I keep going back to that game in the history until I can do it in 99 moves or less.

It gets frustrating to play a game over and over and over again, though, so I've adopted a policy that whenever I take too many moves, I try it again just once. Then the three-digit game waits until I come back to it, which happens the next time I score in the 70s unless there's a more recent three-digit game; this is a LIFO process. This morning I got a 74, so I went back to a game which had needed 101 moves last time, 117 moves the time before that, and other scores before; it had been around for almost a year, while others came and went. I did it in 98 moves, and then realized that the "Moves" column in the history is now a 2-digit column, with three 71s, a couple of hundred 99s, and thousands in between.

Remember, this is a blog of mistakes....surely Freecell qualifies.

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