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Questions tagged [strategy]

A puzzle whose solution is a methodological plan of action for realizing a specific goal.

48
votes
9answers
68k views

Twelve balls and a scale

You are given twelve identical-looking balls and a two-sided scale. One of the balls is of a different weight, although you don't know whether it's lighter or heavier. How can you use just three ...
40
votes
4answers
3k views

Which switch goes to which bulb?

You are in a room with three switches, labeled $A$, $B$, and $C$. Initially, each switch is in an off state. In an adjoining room, there are three incandescent light bulbs. Your task is to ...
27
votes
4answers
16k views

Learning to Solve a River Crossing Puzzle

I have seen many variations of the following puzzle: Once upon a time, a farmer went to the market and purchased a fox, a goose, and a bag of beans. On his way home, the farmer came to the bank of ...
15
votes
4answers
30k views

Is it possible to use one sequence of moves to solve the Rubik's cube from any position?

Is there a sequence of moves that can be repeated over and over again which can solve any legal position the Rubik's Cube? If so what is it, and if there's more than one, what's the shortest? If not, ...
30
votes
7answers
5k views

Dinosaur egg drop

Archeologists discover two dinosaur eggs, and you are given the chance to test the durability of these eggs (bad move on their part). Suppose that these eggs will absorb a specific amount of force ...
50
votes
3answers
5k views

Sliding Bolt Puzzle

You are in a room with two adjacent doors locked by four sliding bolts. The bolts are movable and block only one door at a time; however, you do not know which bolt currently is blocking which door. ...
20
votes
3answers
5k views

The lake monster

You are on a rowboat in the middle of a large, perfectly circular lake. On the perimeter of the lake is a monster who wants to eat you, but fortunately, he can't swim. He can run (along the perimeter)...
57
votes
5answers
8k views

How to beat Count Dracula

Abraham Van Helsing and Jonathan Harker play a game against Count Dracula. The three players agree on the following rules: Count Dracula and Van Helsing enter the crypt, while Jonathan Harker ...
31
votes
1answer
6k views

Coins on a table

John and Jane are playing a game. They both go to the bank and get 1000 euros in 2 euros. So each of them has 500 euros at stake. They then find a large rectangle table and decide who wins the ...
71
votes
12answers
10k views

Turn off all lights in a ring-shaped palace

Not a very difficult question, but one I enjoyed nonetheless and wanted to share with the community. You are a servant in a palace. The palace is in the shape of a circle, and you do not know how ...
19
votes
11answers
45k views

6 Tries to Guess a Number Between 1-100

After every time you guess, you're told if you're right, too high, or too low. Is there a strategy you can use to guarantee you'll get it on your 6th attempt (or lower)? I know a strategy to get it ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

20 coins on the table

Two boys , Brian and Gabe, decide to play a game. They lay 20 coins on the table. Each player took turns taking 1, 2, or 3 coins. Whoever took the last coin won. Brian thought if he went first, he'd ...
10
votes
6answers
7k views

1 Fake Coin among N Amount of coins

You are given $N$ coins which consists of only $1$ fake coin. You also have a sensitive old-fashioned Pan Balance Scale. You are asked to find the fake coin in totally 5 times weighing on the Pan ...
76
votes
7answers
17k views

Why does this solution guarantee that the prince knocks on the right door to find the princess?

I found this puzzle online: On the top floor of a castle lives a princess. The floor has 17 bedrooms arranged in a row. Each bedroom has doors connecting to the adjoining bedrooms as well as to the ...
29
votes
7answers
98k views

Clever ways to solve Mastermind?

Is there any specific way to solve Mastermind? Apart from the first step that is pure chance, is there any way to continue based on the colors that you think are correct?
46
votes
4answers
5k views

The lion and the zebras

The lion plays a deadly game against a group of 100 zebras that takes place in the steppe (= an infinite plane). The lion starts in the origin with coordinates $(0,0)$, while the 100 zebras may ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

Strategy to beat the casino over the long haul

$A$ and $B$ are attempting to beat the casino again, and the rules are the same: Each round, $A$, $B$, and the casino simultaneously decide to show a $0$ or a $1$. If all three numbers match, $A$ ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Sink the Submarine

There is submarine somewhere on the number line. Initially (say, at midnight), it is at position $A$, and is moving $B$ units per hour to the right, where $A$ and $B$ are both integers; both $A$ and $...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Faulty computers

You have $99$ computers in a LAN room, and you know that at least $50$ are working. The others can be faulty. The only thing you are allowed to do is to ask computer $i$ the question "Is computer $j$ ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

How to survive, with statistics

You are kidnapped and your offender plays a game with you. In front of you are 2 boxes, containing a total of 50 white balls and 50 black balls. The kidnapper will pull out a ball from one of the two ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

The Expedition Into The Ancient Cave

You are a archeologist and have taken 8 of your students on a expedition trip to a ancient cave to try and find ancient treasure. After you and your team entered the cave, you travel as a group ...
1
vote
1answer
277 views

Master and Slave versus Bob: hard version

Continuation of: "Sub-puzzle: Master and Slave versus Bob the Violent but Honest Psychopath" and "Master and Slave versus Bob: easy version" The hard version is identical to the easy version (see ...
63
votes
3answers
4k views

A secret polynomial

Alice has a secret polynomial $P$ with positive integer coefficients. When Bob gives Alice a positive integer $n \neq 2016$, Alice replies with the value of $P(n)$. After doing this several times, Bob ...
35
votes
5answers
2k views

Strategy to beat the Casino

Two players, $A$ and $B$, and the Casino play a game. It involves showing zeros or ones: each player picks $0/1$ and also the Casino picks $0/1$. If the Casino and both players $A$ and $B$ show the ...
27
votes
7answers
2k views

23 Clones and Two Lightbulbs

Rise and shine, Mister Bond. James awoke to find himself yet again imprisoned by an evil genius. At least, that's what he presumed. He was alone in a room with a strange device: it consisted of a ...
13
votes
3answers
521 views

Strategy to beat the Casino reversed

Let's consider Strategy to beat the Casino puzzle, but reverse it - fix number of losses and ask a question about amount of rounds: Two players, A and B, and the Casino play a game. The game ...
7
votes
3answers
792 views

Dinosaur Egg Drop v2

This question is a little different and kinda follow-up version of Dinosaur Egg Drop 1- You have 100 story building and 6 Apatosaurus dinosaur eggs. 2- You have 81 story building and 3 ...
33
votes
3answers
3k views

There are at least three Kevins on Puzzling. I plan to trap them in my labyrinth

Note: please do not edit the title! It originates in a challenge in Stack Overflow chat. I have rounded up all ten (currently) of the Puzzling SE users named Kevin and trapped them in my labyrinth. ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

99 chips into more chips

You are at a casino in Vegas and you have earned 99 chips by playing poker! While you are checking out a slot machine, someone comes to you and congratulates you that you have a chance to make more ...
1
vote
3answers
313 views

Sub-puzzle: Master and Slave versus Bob the Violent but Honest Psychopath

[I created this as a sub-puzzle to "Strategy to beat the Casino reversed", that has been sitting unsolved for months. You may wish to read that puzzle first, but this is self-contained. My answer to ...
2
votes
1answer
183 views

Master and Slave versus Bob: easy version

Continuation of: "Sub-puzzle: Master and Slave versus Bob the Violent but Honest Psychopath" Continued in: "Master and Slave versus Bob: hard version" Previously I described a game that is played ...
73
votes
8answers
11k views

Coin Flipping Game with the Devil

You die, and awake in Hell. Satan awaits you, and has prepared a curious game. He has arranged $n$ quarters in a line, going in the east/west direction. He placed the coins at the ends tails up, and ...
44
votes
7answers
5k views

The Circular Prison of Unknown Size

You are the president of a secret society of mathematicians with $n$ members, including yourself. No one in the society knows what $n$ is. The dictator of the world, in an effort to erase mathematics ...
54
votes
3answers
6k views

Left coin, right coin, last coin?

In this game, all players start sitting at a round table, each with a coin in their hand. At every turn, all players toss their coins together and put them on the table in front of them. Then each ...
37
votes
5answers
11k views

Duel between the knight and the dragon

A dragon and a knight live on an island where the only sources of fresh water are a pond (containing ordinary water) and six wells, numbered 1 to 6. Each well's water is completely indistinguishable ...
21
votes
6answers
2k views

A game with 52 cards

Alice and Bob play the following game with two (identical) standard decks of $52$ cards. First Alice secretly arranges one deck of $52$ cards in a long row on the table. All cards are face-down, and ...
16
votes
10answers
3k views

5 people each have 5 equal cards

A competent logician is playing cards with four of his friends, so that there are a total of 5 people sat around the table. Each player has the same 5 cards, showing A, 2, 3, 4, and 5 (Ace being low). ...
15
votes
9answers
4k views

Solitaire Chess

A friend of mine got me Solitaire Chess for Christmas years ago. I set up the board below. Is it possible to solve it? If so, what is the solution? (No programs allowed- Use only your brain.) Rules: ...
15
votes
10answers
2k views

The barbarian king [duplicate]

A barbarian king wants his tribe to have more men than women, because men can fight and women cannot. to achieve this, he introduces the following law: Each couple has to produce babies until they ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Escaping a hungry lion you can't outrun

You are at the edge of an enormous circular arena. A hungry lion is eying you from the centre of this area. You are both capable of running at the same maximum speed, but constraint within the arena. ...
7
votes
2answers
287 views

Taming a Bomb Puzzle (Part 1 of 3)

The Mechanics Ampera Bridge, the famous landmark of Palembang City is in danger! A terrorist has sticked a bomb in the middle of Ampera Bridge. The bomb cannot be removed and it can explode anytime. ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

10 prisoners and 10 lists of numbers [duplicate]

10 prisoners are held captive by a cruel warden. One day he gathers them in the prison hall and tells them about a new game he wants to play: "Tomorrow, I will assign each one of you a random ...
15
votes
4answers
28k views

Strategy to solve the Missionaries and Cannibals problem

In the Missionaries and Cannibals problem: Three missionaries and three cannibals must cross a river using a boat which can carry at most two people, under the constraint that, for both banks and ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

The knight's game

Alice and Bob play the following game on a standard $8\times8$ chessboard. In the very beginning, Alice picks a square on the chessboard and places a knight on this square. Then Bob and Alice ...
6
votes
5answers
269 views

Halve or diminish, and race to unity!

Alice and Bob are playing a game. In the beginning, the integer $9172016$ is written on a blackboard. In a move, a player, can: either decrease the number on the board by $1$ (i.e., replace $n$ by $n-...
5
votes
5answers
505 views

Identify who is who between 3 persons who tell the truth and lie alternately

Dipsy tells the truth in 1 day and lies in the next day alternately. If today he tell the truth, tomorrow he will lying, 2 days later he will tell the truth, and so on. Lala tells the truth in 2 ...
5
votes
3answers
821 views

The Great Houdini's awesome card guessing trick (1)

The Great Houdini is performing again! A guy from the audience arbitrarily chooses $52$ cards from a huge stack. He shuffles the cards and announces to Houdini that there are $a$ spades, $b$ hearts, $...
1
vote
1answer
658 views

Eat sweets and start your own business!

The manager of the local sweetshop, one Minty Ball, has announced a grand closing down sale. They sell $n$ varieties of sweets: toffees, sherbets, fudge, and so on. Let's just call the varieties $V_1,\...
75
votes
10answers
17k views

10 Prisoners, 10 Keys, and 7 Years

One day, the warden of a prison is, like most wardens in puzzles, feeling a little bit capricious and decides that he wants to get rid of his prisoners, one way or another. He gathers all the ...
80
votes
8answers
9k views

Three voting prisoners

Three prisoners have a brief strategy meeting, and then are not allowed to communicate. Each night one of the three has steak for dinner, while the other two have fish tacos. Also each night, each ...