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Memfis

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  1. Got a bit confused today.
    Let's say the code is 1234.
    I make a guess: 0110.
    Is that two cows (correct number, wrong position) or one?

    1. Show previous comments  17 more
    2. Mithran Denizen

      Mithran Denizen

      Memfis said:

      I've heard there is also a version where empty/invisible pegs are allowed, gotta try that one sometime.

      Yeah, if you allow an 'empty' symbol in guesses, it can be useful for compartmentalizing your thinking, especially in versions that push the limits of human concentration/focus. Not so helpful in algorithmic solutions minimizing the number of steps, but potentially handy for human players competing in real-time. For example, if you increase the code length to crazy extents, like playing with 64-symbol codes instead of 4-symbol codes, and multiple players race to solve the same code with unlimited guesses:

      e.g. say the goal is something like:

      0987654321098765432109876543210987654321098765432109876543210987

      ...and consider '-' an empty symbol. Instead of bashing your brain against all 64 digits at once, it might be easier to split the problem into more mentally digestible blocks and solve them. So you might make guesses like:

      1234567890-----------------------------------------------------
      (zero bulls, ten cows)

      or:

      4567------------------------------------------------------------
      (one bull, three cows)

      ...mostly to save mental effort and/or time, or to isolate/eliminate specific values.



      Another fun game variant is one where letters ABC...Z are used for the code / guess, instead of digits or different colors. In this case, you can include the rule that any goal or guess must be a valid word as well.

      e.g:

      Goal: DOOM

      guess: TRAY
      (no bulls, no cows)

      guess: DRAW
      (one bull, no cows)

      guess: CRAW
      (no bulls, no cows)

      guess: BOON
      (two bulls, no cows)

      guess: ROOM
      (three bulls, no cows)

      guess: DOOM
      (solved)

      You would not be allowed to guess things like ABCD, TEOR, or AEIO, because they are not 'real' words. So even though this version might sound harder (there are 26 possible characters for each spot, rather than 10 possible digits), I find it much easier. Since not all combinations make valid words, you can make use of linguistic patterns and knowledge.

      If you include word separators like spaces (' ') as legal symbols, you can also extend the length and use this to work with phrases / sentences. Here (and in the single-word variant above) you can potentially eliminate large chunks of the alphabet in a relatively small number of guesses using well-chosen words.

      e.g:
      Goal: "RIP AND TEAR" // 12 characters, including spaces

      guess: " A BOLD CYST"
      (Two bulls - the D and the space immediately after it.
      Three cows - the A, the first space, and the T.)

      This type of game can be interesting and challenging, but in general I think it's more fun/inviting to use single words, generally between 4-6 letters.

    3. Memfis

      Memfis

      The word version sounds awesome. It must be fun trying to think of words that will be useful in your situation. I wonder if it exists online.

    4. Pedro VC

      Pedro VC

      What the fuck is this thread about

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