Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fun and Games

A co-worker recently asked me about a game that I taught him years ago. It's funny that you have things that are stored up in your brain that you have forgotten about until somebody mentions something that triggers your memory. The nuances of the game came back quickly and I have been teaching the game to others once again. I can't remember where I learned it or what it's called (I'm not sure that I ever knew it by name), only that I'll always win if you let me go first.

To play the game, you'll need fifteen game pieces. They can be pennies, match sticks, toothpicks, Cheerios or any other long as you have fifteen of them. Arrange them in three rows; three in one row, five in another and the remaining seven in the last row. Why not call the game 3-5-7?

x x x
x x x x x
x x x x x x x

Two players take turns removing items. On each turn a player may take as many or as few (at least one) items from any one row. The player that takes the last item loses. The player that goes first has an advantage; it is his game to win or lose. If he makes no mistakes, he will win. Eventually, you will find that there are certain combinations that are winners if you can leave them for your opponent. It is a fun way to spend a few moments and similar to playing Tic Tac Toe except that there are no draws.

Have fun with it. Take turns going first until one of you figures it out; then let the other person go first every time.

If there are any gamers out there, post your comment by removing some of the x's from any one of the rows. I'll take my turn in response.



Kevin said...

Hmmmm...I've got one for you. I should repost this to my blog as it's been a few years and I got no takers last time I tried it...anyway, here goes. Click here and you'll see a group of 12 men. The picture will shift and there will be 13 men. Wait a little longer and it will shift back to 12. Where does the extra guy come from or go to?

John said...

I actually have that saved to my computer. If you check out the link to Billions of Versions of Normal, he has a links to some great optical illusions.

A different co-worker show me a variation of my game using rows or 1,2,3,4 and 5.

zero_zero_one said...

That's quite a neat game; I've seen similar things when I've studied game theory in the past.

Sicilian said...

John. . . . what I like about your game is the fact that it takes no money to buy something to play. I would call it the whatever you have game. . . . women have been using the same concept in the kitchen for years. . . .
Except . . . . .we usually give up the last bite to someone else.

Amanda said...

Sounds like a game I'll have to store in my brain until Aaron is old enough.