The rules to Core Wars could use some improvement. Specifically, there's way too much of a paper-scissors-stone effect with strategies. No fundamentally new approaches have been invented in years.
I think the cause of this problem is that vampires are too powerful. They preclude techniques such as self-healing programs.
Here is my proposed solution.
Each location on the battlefield has an alignment. Initially the starting locations for both sides are set to their alignment and the empty space is all set to neutral.
When a MOV is executed, the target of that MOV is set to the same alignment as the MOV command. Note that this may be different from the alignment of the thread which executed the command.
When a SPL is executed by a command which has different alignment than its executing thread, it acts as a noop. This is what gets the strength of vampires under control.
When any read operation is done on a location with a different alignment from the executing command, it always reads as DAT 0 1. Whenever ADD or any other command which affects state is executed on a location with a different alignment than the one being executed, it has no effect. Note that these rules apply regardless of the alignment of the thread performing the instruction. These rules are designed to furthur reduce vampire-like techniques.
I think my rule variant does a good job of getting vampires under control. The vampire technique still applies and is extremely important, but a single capture no longer kills you.
Book Review: Moneyball
I highly recommend Moneyball, by Michael Lewis.
Moneyball is a book about financial shenanigans in baseball How does that happen? The Oakland Athletics win completely disproportionately many games for their salary budget by evaluating players better and buying undervalued ones. Moneyball is a story of the triumph of science and reason over the superstitions of an entrenched beurocracy which kept the truth out for decades by branding it as heresy.
One part of Moneyball possibly inadventantly explains why it's such a compelling story. At one point the author asks two people with ivy league educations if they feel bad using their advanced degrees on something so trivial as baseball. They burst out laughing and ask 'You mean, as opposed to having a deeply meaningful job on wall street?' Lewis's book Liar's Poker, while just as well written and about far larger sums of money, has a subject which simply cannot compete with competitive sport as the basis for a compelling narrative.
Twisty Puzzle Reviews
I just posted some twisty puzzle reviews.