Sunday, December 28, 2008

Loot #3: Periodic Table Playing Cards

In case my Christmas wasn't looking geekish enough yet, let's pull out all the stops. I got a set of two playing card decks where each card depicts an element of the periodic table.

My favorite part is how each card shows two of the uses for which that element is employed. Some are obvious and well-known but a lot of them I'd never realized, particularly in the higher metals. Of course, get too high and there's a lot of elements that have no uses listed or just research, but that's to be expected. It's also amusing how the higher transuranics are on Joker cards.

I played a game of solitaire with them yesterday. It's been so long since I played solitaire with actual cards, it felt downright odd. But mostly I wanted to see if the fact that the cards are colored by their series, not by their suits, would be confusing. (It wasn't.) That said, while multiplayer card games will probably still work better with physical cards, solitaire works better with software. As Random said in Mostly Harmless, "Why is it in hardware?"

I can't help think as I play whether any of the combinations of elements I'm playing as I build my stacks might cause an explosion. Imagine playing poker where a flush was obtained not by having the same suit by having the same valence, or being in the same period. (Some flushes would have to be worth a lot more than others.) Or where a pair was worth more if it was a pair that formed an ionic bond. ("Sodium chloride beats two aces!") Covalent bonds would of course beat ionic bonds. (This is the point where I don't make a 007 joke...)

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