When I play a card game it never goes smoothly. When playing with multiple people there is a lot of waiting time involved in dealing the cards and between various turns of the players. And more importantly, some new players may not know the rules of the game and what to expect at the next turn.
I have designed a robotic card dealer using LEGO Mindstorms powered by Alexa.
To begin, the lead player will ask Alexa to be the dealer of a game. The player can then choose the game they want to play from a list Alexa indicates (currently two games Blackjack and UNO are programmed in the system but there is room to expand on it by adding more games). Alexa will then ask how many players are playing the game. The "Mindstorms Dealer" will then give out the number of cards that are needed to play the game to each player. It programmatically determines the position of the players around a table to deliver the cards accurately to the right player. Then Alexa will start to guide the players through the game and through the various turns as per the rules of the game, Players can interact with Alexa through those turns, like for Blackjack a player may indicate hit or stand and the "Mindstorms Dealer" will react accordingly by giving a card or moving on the next player.
The LEGO Mindstorms robot is using Alexa to make the experience with the people playing the game even more fun. Some features that are added to make the experience of playing the games better are Alexa making original jokes, sing original songs during various stages of the game and overall interacting with the players. Alexa congratulates the winner, say good luck to the players, and be nice to the players who drop out of the game.
An extra feature that the "Mindstorms Dealer" can do is to shuffle the cards before the game starts. The way this works is by placing the cards in the main compartment and asking Alexa to shuffle the cards. Then a player should place a LEGO made bucket (comes with the build) to collect the cards. The reason why I created a shuffler with the "Mindstorms Dealer" is because for every card game someone needs to shuffle the cards before the game and the robotic "Mindstorms Dealer" can help with that quickly.
Another extra feature that the Alexa powered "Mindstorms Dealer" can do is tell the players how to play the game. The way these feature works is a player asking Alexa ”How do you play ... (any game)” and she will explain the game. This allows players to easily learn new games and therefore improve the game experience.
I hope that this LEGO Mindstorms model can help people when they play games as it helps me.
Here are some phrases you can say to Alexa:
To start the skill say “Alexa, open Mindstorms Dealer”
In the game, you can ask “How do you play the game?” to see how to play a game
To start a game you can say “I will like to play Blackjack”
Phrases you can say in the Blackjack game:
”Hit” - Gives you a new card
“Stand” - Moves onto the next person
”Bust” - Tells Alexa that you are out of the game
“Blackjack” - Tells Alexa that you have the cards to win the game