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 Elemental game (Posted on 2005-06-16)
This game is similar to "rock, paper, scissors" in that two players independently pick one of the six things, and if one thing somehow "beats" the other, then that player wins. If both players pick the same thing, they repeat until someone wins.

Life grows on Earth.
Water douses Fire.
Air resists Cold.
Life drinks Water.
Fire consumes Air.
Cold freezes Water.
Earth smothers Fire.
Life breathes Air.
Fire and Earth both warm Cold.
Air and Water both erode Earth.
Fire and Cold both destroy Life.
Water displaces Air.

A program that plays this game has a single set of probabilities for picking each of the six things. Assuming that the program's opponent knows what these probabilities are, what probabilities will give the program the best chances of winning?

What if the rules of the game are changed so that "Water displaces Air" is replaced with "Air ripples Water"?

 See The Solution Submitted by Tristan Rating: 3.6667 (6 votes)

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 re: Spoiler: Computers can be beat! | Comment 4 of 17 |
(In reply to Spoiler: Computers can be beat! by Steve Herman)

Oops sorry.  I misread the problem.  The problem asks for the computers' strategy, not my strategy.

Like Oskar, I don't want to solve the equations right now, even though they figure to be simple.  The computer adopts a mixed strategy, but the best and worst it expects to do is break even (not win).

 Posted by Steve Herman on 2005-06-17 01:30:57

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