Tuesday, November 3, 2009


This is a game for any plural number of players.
Needed: piece of paper and a pen/pencil.

Start by writing a row of n 0's on the piece of paper. (n is a positive integer decided beforehand by the players. I suggest an n between 5 and 10 for a 2 person game. Slightly more for more players.)

After writing the row of n 0's, write the value of n to the right of this row.

Next, the players take turns. On a player's move, he/she copies the row (which will be of 0's and 1's) immediately above, but with either one 1 changed to a 0, or one 0 changed to a 1. (The player can change any one digit she/he chooses, under restrictions -- see below.)

Next, that same player writes down (to the right of the row) the lengths of the runs of both 0's and 1's in the row he just wrote down.
Each "run" is made up completely of 0's or completely of 1's, and is bounded by runs of the other digit or by the edge of the row. (No two consecutive runs are of the same digit.)
It doesn't matter if a run is of 0's or 1's. All that matters in this game is where each boundary is between each run of 0's and the adjacent run of 1's.

* A player, though, cannot change a digit on his move such that the multiset of run-lengths (of the row of 0's and 1's just created) has already occurred in the game.
(A "multiset" is a list of numbers where the order of the numbers in the list is unimportant, but the number of occurrences of each number is indeed important. For example, {1,2,1,3) and (2,1,1,3) would be considered to be the same multiset, but (1,2,1,3) and (1,2,3,3) would not be the same.)

The last player able to move is the winner.

Sample game. Simple example:

00000 5
00010 3,1,1
10010 1,2,1,1
10011 1,2,2
(Can't do 10111 here, for example, because the run-length multiset 3,1,1 already occurred.)
00011 3,2
00001 4,1

The player who wrote 00001 wins, because 10001 (run-lengths 1,3,1), 01001 (1,1,2,1), 00101 (2,1,1,1), 00011 (3,2), and 00000 (5) each have a multiset of run-lengths that already occurred.

FYI: The total number of moves in a game is no more than the number of (unrestricted) partitions of n. (So, there is a maximum of 7 moves in an n=5 game.)

Leroy Quet

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