Wednesday Nerd Fun: The Game of 99

This week’s entertainment is an original creation–my first computer game. The game is based on the board game “99” (French: “Le Jeu de 99”) that my girlfriend’s family introduced me to a couple of summers ago.

I made the game for several reasons. The first was to improve my very modest Python programming skills–this was my first program to include a GUI. An earlier version was text based, and it was very ugly–email me for the source code if you want to see just how ugly. The second reason was the irony of turning an old-fashioned Mennonite game into a computer game. Perhaps I will try to preserve other antique games this way in the future. My third motivation was to create a multi-player online version, but that will have to wait.

Game play proceeds as follows. On each turn, the player (total number: two or three) can draw a card, discard, skip their turn, or play. The cards are numbered with a range: the largest is 0 to 99, the smallest is 99 to 99. This range specifies the number spots on the board onto which the player can place their marker. You may have up to five cards in your hand at a time. The game allows players to hide or show their hands so that their competitor may not see them. When you choose to play, you may place your marker on any open spot within the range specified by the card that you play. The game is won when a player places five of their markers in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. (Full instructions.)

Opening screenshot

The game does not currently have a function to tell when a player is won, so you’ll have to do that visually for now. This is the first update that I hope to add, along with a “replay” button. As I said above, I’d also like to make the game playable online, which will probably mean learning Django.

Thanks to Jennifer for her help as a beta tester. You can download the source code for the game here or the Mac OS X app version here. Please notify me of any problems with the game–developers are welcome to modify the source themselves under a Creative Commons license.

7 thoughts on “Wednesday Nerd Fun: The Game of 99

  1. Pingback: My Ten Favorite Posts from the Past Year | You Study Politics, Right?

  2. Chuck Gerstenmaier

    Loved reading your Nerd Fun: The Game of 99. Our family has been playing this game for many years. I first learned about it in 1960’s while working at General Tire in Akron, Ohio. It was my understanding that the game was designed or at least marketed by a professor at The University of Akron. Our grown children still play this game in California, Virginia, Illinois and here in Ohio. In fact, just had a request from grandchild in Arizona, for a game. We still have some. Her request led me out of curiousity to Google “The Game of 99” and that is how I discovered your website. It is a great game. Good luck in your plan to computerize it.

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