Tim made a DIY handheld electronic version of the African board game Mancala, he writes –
Last summer at our annual family gathering, I learned the African game Mancala from my wife’s cousin Danielle. Actually, there are many variations that go by that name, so I learned the one she plays. The basic game is described on Wikipedia, but I don’t see a quick link to the rules we’re using.
I had fun exploring strategies for the game, and ended up proposing three heuristics that I thought could play a pretty good game by themselves, applied mechanically. I wanted to automate them so I could play against them, but never got around to writing the program.
A while later, I pulled out a two-line by 16-character LCD display that I had bought on impulse, and felt like using it for something. And I also wanted to try using the PIC18F series of microcontrollers; I’d used the PIC16F series before, but the 18s are a step up in features and architecture and I wanted to explore them.
It seemed like a fast fun project, and I got the basic form factor up and running in a weekend, and some simple playable UI code in another evening.