Locked Down Games

Play card games and board games with friends and family across the internet.

It is NOT designed for playing against random trolls people on the internet.

Unlike most computer based board games, there are no rules, everyone can move pieces as they wish. So you can cheat and have arguments just as you would with phsyical board games ;-)

For example, when playing chess you can move any piece anywhere you like. You can move your opponents pieces too. It mimics real life! A physical chess board doesn't stop you cheating, nor does my virtual chess board!

So all the games are based on trust. If you want to cheat, it is easy to do so. If you are a programmer it is easy to see other players' cards/tiles, but there are easier ways to cheat too, such as dealing yourself extra cards/tiles.

No Trolls

So far we've not had any problems with trolls. This is probably because :

  1. They haven't found the website
  2. It is idle for the vast majority of the time, (we only play an hour or so a week) so no fun for the trolls.
  3. There is a very simplistic anti-troll mechanism...

When you set up a game, you can tell the computer the number of players to allow into the game. So if four players arrange to play at a given time, then the trolls only have a short window of opportunity (i.e. after the game has been set up, but before the 4th player has arrived).

Technology

It uses node.js on the server and a javascript game engine on the client.

I hate them both! But they did let me write the software very quickly.

I like compiled, typed languages, and javascript is even worse than Python! (trying to trigger Python lovers too;-) So at some point, I may rewrite the server code in Kotlin, and integrate it better with this web site.

But for now, it uses a separate web server on a non-standard port, which gets restarted every night. This is partly so that old game rooms get destroyed. This is also a cheap hack, just in case there's memory leak issues.

Did I mention I wrote this really quickly at the beginning of lock-down!?!

Future Improvements

At one point, I was very tempted to integrate voice chat, using Jitsi.

The code is a nightmare. So any new features would probably start with a complete re-write in a nice compiled, typed language, such as Kotlin. (Did I mention I don't like Javascript?).

History

It was designed during the lock-down in 2020 due to the coronavirus.

We would phone each other, so that we could chat while playing. The software also allows for text-based chat. Sometimes we would have 4 players and 2 phone calls as well as text-based chat.

It started out with just the card tables. Other games were added later, but are rarely used. In fact, I think most of other games haven't been played at all!

Now that lock-down is over, I believe Katy still plays card games with her parents in a far off land (Scotland ;-)

(i)