What Card Games Are Turing Complete?

Photo of author

By Ralph Torres

Card games have been a popular pastime for centuries. From classic games like poker and bridge to newer ones like Magic: The Gathering, people have enjoyed playing these games for fun or competitive purposes.

However, did you know that some card games are Turing complete? In this article, we will explore what Turing completeness means and which card games fall under this category.

What is Turing Completeness?

Turing completeness is a term used in computer science to describe a system that can perform any computation that a Turing machine can do. A Turing machine is a theoretical device that can simulate any algorithmic computation. Therefore, if a system or language is Turing complete, it means that it has the ability to solve any computational problem.

In simpler terms, if a system is Turing complete, it can be used to create any program or algorithm. This makes it an incredibly powerful tool for programming and computation.

Which Card Games are Turing Complete?

Now that we understand what Turing completeness means let’s dive into which card games fall under this category.

One of the most famous examples of a card game that is Turing complete is Magic: The Gathering. Magic: The Gathering is a collectible trading card game where players use decks of cards representing magical spells, creatures, and artifacts to defeat their opponents. Although the game was not designed with computation in mind, its rules and mechanics are complex enough to be used as a programming language.

Another example of a card game that is Turing complete is Nomic. Nomic is not your typical card game but rather an evolving game where players change the rules as they play. As players add new rules or modify existing ones, the game becomes more complex until it reaches a point where it becomes equivalent to any other programming language.

Other examples of card games that are Turing complete include Cucumber and Parsley which were created specifically to demonstrate how simple systems could be used for complex computations.

Why Does Turing Completeness Matter?

While Turing completeness may seem like a theoretical concept, it has real-world implications. Many programming languages and systems are designed to be Turing complete, including Python, Java, and C++. This means that they can be used to create any program or algorithm.

The fact that some card games are Turing complete demonstrates the power and flexibility of these systems. It also highlights the potential for unconventional ways of computing and problem-solving.

Conclusion

In conclusion, some card games are Turing complete, which means they have the ability to perform any computation that a Turing machine can do. Magic: The Gathering, Nomic, Cucumber, and Parsley are all examples of card games that fall under this category. While this may seem like a curious factoid, it demonstrates the power of computing and highlights the potential for unconventional problem-solving methods.