priority claim

here’s another picture of a dualization
of the projective plane on the field
of four elements: P^2(\Bbb F_4)^*.

in the first of two tweaks since the last version
published here
, i reversed
the positions of the roots of x^2 + x +1…
i’ve been calling ’em alpha and beta…
reversed their positions, i say,
for the vertical axis (as opposed
to the horizontal:

0a 1a aa ba
0b 1b ab bb
01 11 a1 b1
00 10 a0 b0

as opposed to the earlier

0b 1b ab bb
0a 1a aa ba
01 11 a1 b1
00 10 a0 b0
this had the pleasing effect that
*all* the “lines” now had naked-eye
symmetry. the earlier drafts had
some twisty-looking “lines” once
the alphas and betas got involved;
this was in some part due to the
artificial “symmetry breaking” that
i’d indulged in by *putting alpha
first*. the new version had beta
close to the origin just as often
as alpha… which better describes
their relation in F_4.

anyhow, the second, more radical
“tweak” involved swapping (0,0)
and (1,1)… and causing “lines”
actually *looking like lines* to
appear as *broken* lines
(but simultaneously causing the
alpha-points and beta-points
to behave better still).

this looks like a pretty good board
for pee-two-eff-four tic-tac-toe.
(or, ahem, “21-Point Vlorbik”…
he who blowet not his own horn,
that one’s horn shall never be blown).

P_2(\Bbb F_4) Tic Tac Toe
Official Rules (all rights reserved).

“The Board” is the 21-line
array of letters:

two players alternate turns.
in the first turn the first player
chooses any letter from A to U
and “colors” all five copies of
that letter on the board;
the second player then chooses
any *other* letter and “colors”
all five copies (in some other
color… X’s and O’s can be made
to do in a pinch if colored pencils
aren’t available).

players continue alternating turns,
each coloring all five copies of
some previously uncolored letter
at each turn.

play ends if one player… the winner…
has colored *all five letters* of any row.
otherwise play continues until all (21)
letters are used.

if one player… the winner… now has more
“four in a row” lines than the other, so be it;
otherwise the game ends in a draw.

i actually played this for the first time
this morning on the bus with madeline:
a four-to-four draw.

in the thus-far-imaginary computer version,
upon selection of a letter, five dots…
all the same relative position in their
respective “crosses”… light up and
“five in a row” becomes “an entire
cross lights up”. this might be worth
learning to write the code for.

better if somebody else did it, though,
i imagine. i just want a “game designer”
credit and a small piece of every one sold.


  1. i edited the board just now.
    this is the one i can do from memory.

  2. Nate

    You have a typo I believe.


    should be


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