Wonderland Game
THE MIDNIGHT POST * November 2009
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Peegue's Puzzle Page

Here's this edition's puzzle from Peegue's workshop:

Stinky and Loof are playing a game. Twenty-five coins are placed on a table, and Stinky and Loof take turns removing between one and ten coins. Whoever takes the last coin, wins. Whoever wins one game, gets to move first in the next game.

Trial Round
For example, Loof goes first and removes 5 coins (between one and ten), then Stinky goes next and removes 1 coin, then Loof goes next and removes 10. There are only nine coins left, so Stinky removes all nine and wins the game.

Round #1
All twenty-five coins are placed back on the table.Having won the trial round, Stinky goes first. Stinky thinks about the game for a minute, then starts playing.
What should Stinky's starting move be to guarantee a win (i.e. how many coins should Stinky remove on the first turn)?

Round #2
After a few games (that Stinky always wins), Loof gets frustrated and decides that the starting number of coins should be changed to thirty coins. Again, Stinky goes first, and again, Stinky always wins!
How many coins is Stinky now removing in the first turn to guarantee a win?

Round #3
Now Loof is getting really frustrated. Almost ready to give up, Loof suddenly has an idea, and changes the number of coins on the table again.
How many coins should be placed on the table (if between 30 and 40 coins must be used) so that Loof can be guaranteed to win the next game, even if Stinky goes first?

This puzzle might take some time to work out, so don't give up too easily. Make time on a Sunday morning, grab a cup of tea or coffee, put your thinking cap on, and let the words percolate in your mind.

If you think you have the answer (or you -gulp!- give up), you can send Peegue an e-mail at peegue@midnightsynergy.com. You will receive an automated reply with the link to the solutions. (Make sure that you add Peegue to your address-book if you use a spamfilter, so that the reply doesn't land in your junk folder).

Peegue is also always interested in hearing about new puzzles from all around the world. If you've come across an interesting puzzle that you think Peegue would like to know about, just e-mail us.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

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