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Code triage

Topics/tags: Miscellaneous, gaming, short

The other day, I received an advertisement for some hard to find games [1]. I had no plan to buy any of them but I thought it would be fun to see what they listed. I skimmed the names. One of them was called Code triage. My first reaction was Boy, that’s a niche game. what percentage of board gamers care about fixing broken code? [2]

My next reaction was to wonder about the form of the game. I wasn’t quite sure what it would be like, but I assumed that you would get some borken code and have to triage it. It could be akin to Name that tune.

I can triage that code in four days. I can triage that code in seven hours. I can triage that code in eighteen minutes. Triage that code! [3]

It could be that you have a hand of approaches to code and you choose one or more of them.

I will triage that code with the DRY principle. I will triage that code by adding unit tests.

Or it could be that the game was a bit more basic. Participants read programs and generate inputs that lead to incorrect behavior.

If I use an array of size maxint, that binary search will break.

My third reaction was to wonder about the language they used. Would it be Java? C? Visual Basic [4]?

But I was too optimistic [5]. Once I saw the cover and read a description, I realized that the game was not about code at all. Rather it was about triaging patients in an ER. I guess the designers were playing off of terms like Code Blue and Code White. But I’m pretty sure that no one in a hospital ever says Code Triage or broadcasts it over the speaker system.

Unfortunately, I’m now left wanting the game I thought Code Triage was: a game in which players triage code. Wouldn’t that be a fun teaching tool [6]? My biggest concern is that it seems like you could memorize the answers; we’d need a way to generate a large enough problem set.

But I don’t have time for that now. Perhaps designing a code triage game will be a task for another year.

[1] I’ve written previously about the number of board game mailing lists I’ve ended up on. I’ve removed myself from most of them, but I still get a few.

[2] There are a lot of programmers who like board games. But there are certainly a lot of gamers who don’t program.

[3] One version of name that tune that I learned involves players bidding on how quickly they can name a tune. I recall a parody of that type of game from Foxtrot, the comic strip. I can eat that taco with five shots of hot sauce. My ten-second search of the InterWeb failed to turn up that strip, but I did find a related one.

[4] That’s too easy. You triage Visual Basic by rewriting it in another language.

[5] Yes, the thoughts above represent optimism.

[6] It was long ago established that my view of fun differs from most people’s.

Version 1.0 of 2018-07-26.