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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: First part solution? / Second part solution | Comment 9 of 17 |
(In reply to First part solution? by Matt)

Matt, I got the same set of probabilities that you did for the first part, but those probabilities give the computer a 60% chance of winning, not just 50%.

For the second question, I got the following set:

Air: 10%
Cold: 10%
Earth: 10%
Fire: 30%
Life: 20%
Water: 20%

This ensures that the computer again will have a 60% chance of winning no matter what its human opponent picks.

 Posted by yocko on 2005-06-20 04:17:39

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