Scott Hardie | March 4, 2005
Ok, this might affect gameplay for some people for me to say this, and the smart players aren't even going to answer me anyway, but I can no longer resist asking: Why do some (most?) players stack their goos way up in the upper-left corner of their grids and work their way across and down, filling in one row at a time from left to right? I oversee every single incorrect guess that goes through the system, so I see it when players "torpedo" their grid (my term) by knocking out the space above and to the left of their guess, when they should have spaced it out farther. This happens often.

It wasn't until late in the last round, watching a talented new player keep torpedoing her grid and undoing her hard-earned progress, that I came to suspect my own coding. If you had given yourself grid control, when you came to choose a space in your grid, the select menu would default to the top-most empty space. So, I rewrote the page to default to a randomly-chosen space, which has caused a processing slowdown on the Current Goos page that some of you must have noticed. (I'm working on that.)

Anyway, now that the new round has started and the randomization is in effect, I expected the players with grid control to start spacing their grids out a bit, especially since they've now played a round with the grids and had time to form strategy. I even said so in the announcement message earlier this week. But what do I see when I scroll down the Current Scores page? Grid after grid with the first two guesses stacked side-by-side in the upper-left corner, and I expect the trend to continue. I'm genuinely surprised that so many players kept it up.

So what gives? Don't you see that the four corners are the most valuable spaces, unable to eliminate more than two other spaces around them? They should be saved for the very hard goos later on. Also, starting at A1 means building inwards from the outside instead of spiraling out from the center, thus putting each new guess at risk of eliminating two filled spaces instead of only one. I still believe that most of the players are planning to put the hard goos some distance away where they can't do any damage, and they're putting the two easy goos (so far) right next to each other in a safe corner and herding from there. But believe me, about half of the incorrect guesses made in this game are believed to be correct when they're made, which results in torpedoing that could have been prevented if players almost always spread out their guesses.

Oh well, I'm willing to give players the benefit of the doubt and assume that they've thought all of this through and are filling their grids according to a viable strategy. It's just something that I've observed for months now and finally I had to ask.

Anna Gregoline | March 4, 2005
Cause it's pretty.

That's my reason, anyway. The ones I scattered were because I wasn't sure if I would get them.

The only downfall of the grid is missing one and knowing I'll never finish it. I want to see the whole thing full. =(

Lori Lancaster | March 4, 2005
[hidden by request]

Kris Weberg | March 4, 2005
I think Lori's right on here -- it has to do with reading practices. Left to right just seems more natural and flowing to English-language readers, so it also seems more aesthetically pleasing.

Mike Eberhart | March 4, 2005
No left to right for me... I'm spiralling.

Kris Weberg | March 4, 2005
And it seems to work out really well for you. Me, I don't know the celebs at all so I don't play. Where're the Carl Schmitt and Michael Hardt goos, Scott?

Anna Gregoline | March 4, 2005
Also, left to right is the way the drop-down menu is.

Amy Austin | March 4, 2005
At the risk of sounding dumb and/or false here, I completely meant to be doing the same thing as Mike, but due to that culturally-ingrained tendency...

I have to agree here that it *is* purely the natural and instinctive choice, because I totally did *not* mean to go to A1 on the first guess -- and I knew this only seconds after doing it, too. So now I'm trying something different. And I believe, (if you'll notice), that this is why E's grid has an A-1 guess, followed by apparently... random? guesses... because I made the comment to him after my blunder that, "Shit! I meant to do what Mike's doing this round, and start in the middle!" Knowing him, he may claim some other reason for his positioning... but he probably won't deny my making the comment, because it is true!

Jerry Mathis | March 4, 2005
I figured I have NO chance of winning so it didn't matter where I put the goos on my grid. Heck I'm still in awe of some of you guys. Mike makes it look easy. And Amy is a goo MACHINE!

Scott Hardie | March 4, 2005
Kris: With luck I'll have the "Request a Goo" page done shortly and you can put them into the game yourself. But, uh, you still won't be able to guess your own requests. :-)

Jerry, thanks for the input, and remember, even the best players had to figure out how to play the game well. If you're going to study somebody, Mike and Amy definitely seem to know how it's done.

Amy Austin | March 5, 2005
Hahaha... Jerry, E says that I'm like Gollum in pursuit of my goos: "my preeecious"!

He also claims that I have the distinct advantage of being unemployed -- which is partially true... after all, I have the freedom to be online looking at any and all hours. But, I promise you, (except for a very few that I've worn myself out looking for), I do *not* spend as much time on each one as he would make it out to seem sometimes... I *do* have other things to do (especially with the new "kids")! ;DDD

Amy Austin | March 5, 2005
E just informed me that after the first guess and my comment about strategy, he did choose to put the second one in the middle, but then on the third guess he forgot to change the (then) randomly-generated default back to a selected square.


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