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Post by wallaceprime »

Hi, I'm Chris (aka wallaceprime on BGA) but you are welcome to call me Wally.

I got my first boxed Carcassonne in 2015 but only played it with my wife and son. I then found JCloisterzone and got addicted to seeing how many points I could beat the computer AI by. Then shortly after Christmas 2019 I discovered Carcassonne on BoardGameArena.com where you could play real humans (at least I think most of them were human - with some it was hard to tell!). I quickly discovered there was a lot to learn; getting all my meeples trapped playing against top players certainly helped focus the lessons I was learning! I improved rapidly and got to the point I felt I would not disgrace myself in the first season of Arena. I progressed steadily through the ranks and was delighted to finish in 16th place, something I would never have foreseen just three months earlier.

My Arena success brought me to the attention of danisthirty, who I'd narrowly pipped to the top twenty, and who invited me to join the UK Carcassonne team. I can safely say that this invitation transformed what had been an enjoyable past-time into an all-embracing obsession. Rightly or wrongly, sharing Carcassonne experiences with other like-minded individuals certainly helps keep my feelings of freakishness to a minimum.

I'd never been a willing member of a sports team at school, but having now represented the UK in both the World and European Carcassonne Team Championships has finally let me experience and appreciate the sense of kinship that develops from being part of a team, whether it comes from the shared commiserations of getting knocked-out from the group stages, or the ecstatic jubilation of the whole team in getting through to the quarter-finals.

A self-professed computer nerd, my current project is trying to develop software to analyse past games of top players to find if their strategies can be condensed into rules that I can incorporate into my own game. I feel this may never come to fruition, but it is still great fun getting back to programming in C++ again, something I'd hardly touched since completing in 2005 a degree I took for fun with the Open University: a BSc in IT and Computing. I've got to a point where I can represent the placed and to-be-played tiles, drag them around and perform rudimentary placement analysis, and not entirely successfully download tile placement information from BGA. I've worked out the algorithms I want to use to represent storing and joining road/city/field placement and joining, my next task is to implement them!

My non-Carcassonne hobbies [wow, I just realised that maybe I'm not as addicted to Carcassonne as I thought I was!] are playing by ear the chromatic harmonica and descant/alto/tenor recorders (not simultaneously!), photography (mostly landscapes), and DIY (the bigger and manlier the power tool, the better!). I also like messing around with graphic design; the Union Jack meeple logo is one of mine. I work in a soil testing laboratory for the construction industry, but my photography/graphics skills often come in handy for adverts and promotional material and help ensure that my work stays varied and interesting.

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Location: South Wales


Re: wallaceprime

Post by Decar »

Great to have you join the forum Wally, and thank you so much for representing the UK, as well as providing your detailed backstory.

Your development project sounds very interesting, I hope you can share some of its developments here. With the information you collect, we may have an AlphaZero level Carcassonne bot before too long :D
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