Hangman And Tic Tac Toe

Paper And Pencil Games For Two People

https://www.puzzles.mythsoftime.com/Hangman was originally a pencil and paper game, played by two people, using scrap paper. The objective is for one person to think of a word and the other person to work it out within a certain number of guesses. The number of letters in the word to be guessed are represented by dashes below the gallows (cross out the ones not used).

For experienced players, a phrase could also be used, with a forward slash line (/) between the end of one word and the start of the next.

The number of guesses is determined by drawing a stick figure of a man hanging from a tree. To make it easier, include the uprights in the number of guesses, as well as facial features (eyes, nose, mouth). To make it harder, allow only the lines for the  “hanged man” to be included.

If the guesser wins (that is, they guess the word before the hanged man is completed, then they choose the word on the next go. If the chooser wins (the guesser does not guess the word before the hanged man is complete), then they choose the next word again.

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These days, of course, it can be played online, with a single player versus the computer or with distant friends. It can also be played with a physical board and wipe clean guess area. One such game is the Melissa and Doug version of Hangman. This is a good sturdy board, with all the alphabet letters available on the left hand side of the board. These are twisted once used, so you can be sure of which letters you have already chosen. The pieces of the hangman are also tiles on elastic. You start the game with these in the blank position and turn over one piece for each wrong guess. The game includes a pen and a wipe off area for guessing the word. This version, like the original paper and pencil version is played with one guesser and one setter, however, some of the other versions, both apps and physical boards, allow for both players to be guessers and setters simultaneously and each one takes it in turn to guess the other’s word. There are also magnetic versions for playing while traveling.

Alphabet

To make it easier, a copy of the alphabet can be included in the game, so the guesser can mark off the letters they have already guessed.

Hangman

The diagram shows a partially completed game of hangman. The guesser has had 10 guesses so far, as 10 letters of the alphabet have been crossed off. Two of the guesses were correct (A and B) and these have been added to the 8 letter spaces of the word to be guessed and eight lines have been added to the hangman drawing. The hanged man is nearly complete (depending on the agreed number of lines that can be added), so the guesser needs to make some good guesses with their next choices.

Strategy

There is a strategy for playing hangman (isn’t there always?). A simple way of looking at this is to look at the most frequent letters in the language. Certain letters are used more often than others. (This is different for every language, so you would need to check the frequencies if you intend to play in a language other than English.) In English, some of the most frequently used letters are E, T, A and O but all the vowels are also the most useful ones to try for, along with S and N. The guesser should try those letters first. Often, you will get enough letters that you can guess the word.

If you are the one setting the word, then your best strategy is to use words with low frequency letters. These would include Z, Q J and X. and also to use short words. Combining these two, buzz, jinx, fizzy and joker are all difficult words to guess in hangman.

All of the above is wrong if you are REALLY determined to win at Hangman and willing tocheck out a few rules and explanations. Try this site for real strategy for winning at Hangman.

Tic Tac Toe

This game is also known as exee, ozees, because it uses only the letters X and O. Again, this is a two player game and was originally a pencil and paper game. It is played on a 9 space grid. One player is X and the other is O. The players take it in turn to place their symbol on the grid. The object of the game is to get 3 of your symbol in a row, whether vertically, horizontally or diagonally. It is your opponent’s objective to block you from getting your 3 symbols in a row, while simultaneously getting their own 3 symbols in a row.

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In the game shown, both players have had two turns, with X due to move next. X has only one choice, to place their symbol in the bottom row, middle cell, to block the O symbol from getting 3 in a row. If X chooses any other cell in which to play, they will lose the game as soon as O has their next turn.

The winner of the game goes first the next game. The person who goes first in a game of tic tac toe has an advantage.

Strategy for Tic Tac Toe

There are several levels of strategy for playing Tic Tac Toe. The easiest strategy is to place your symbol in corner cells. If you can manage to get 3 corner cells with your symbol, then you may have 2 or more opportunities to get 3 of your symbols in a row and that means your opponent cannot beat you, whichever cell they place their symbol in. If you want a few more strategies for winning at TicTac Toe, you can find them here.

Glossary of Sudoku


Image by/from LithiumFlash

Sudoku terms

The terms given here are based on a 9 X 9 sudoku grid, though the game can also be played with a 4 X 4 grid, a 6 X 6 grid and even bigger grids. Some sizes of grids have different shapes.

Grid

A 9 X 9 Sudoku grid has 9 rows, 9 columns and 9 boxes or blocks.

That means that every row, every column and every block has 9 cells. There are 81 cells in total in a 9 X 9 Sudoku grid.

Boxes Or Blocks

Boxes or blocks are shown with thicker lines to make them clearer.

Sudoku Rules

  1. Every row contains one and only one of the 9 symbols used, eg the numbers 1 through 9.
  2. Every column contains one and only one of the 9 symbols used
  3. Every block (or box) contains one and only one of the 9 symbols used.

Proper Sudoku

This means that the given puzzle has only one correct solution.

Playing Sudoku

A Sudoku puzzle is one that presents the player with a grid containing some numbers. There should be enough numbers (clues) included to ensure that the sudoku puzzle is a “proper sudoku”, that is, it has only one correct solution. The aim is to complete the grid so it includes all the symbols / numbers, following the 3 rules. So, only one of each symbol in any row, column or block.

 

Sudoku solving algorithms


Image by/from Simpsons contributor

There are 81 cells in a standard 9 X 9 Sudoku grid. There are also 9 boxes (blocks or regions). These are formed where the first, center or last rows cross the first, center and last columns and are outlined with thicker borders.

In general, the numbers 1 through 9 are used as the symbols to fill each of the 81 cells in the grid.

3 Rules

  1. Each row may only contain a symbol once.
  2. Each column may only contain a symbol once.
  3. Each block or box may only contain a symbol once.

There must be no repeats in any row, column or blocks.

A Sudoku puzzle is presented with some cells containing numbers (or other symbols). These are clues that will enable you to use the 3 rules to solve the empty cells. A proper Sudoku has only one solution.

It is possible to use computer algorithms to solve Sudokus. These may also be used to study the properties of Sudokus and make new puzzles.

The animation above shows a Sudoku puzzle being solved with a “brute force” algorithm – one method of using computers to solve these puzzles. The red numbers are the ones that were provided when the puzzle was set and these are fixed. The empty cells fill with alternatives as the algorithm tests possible solutions.

If the algorithm finds that the path it has set out on does not follow the 3 rules as it gets further down the Sudoku, it may discard all the previously found numbers and start all over again. Sometimes, humans have to do that too!

Sudoku

https://www.puzzles.mythsoftime.com/Sudoku is a logic-based game in which symbols are placed in a grid, following 3 basic rules. While the numbers 1 through 9 are the symbols most often used, this is for convenience. No maths is involved. The symbols could be anything, for instance, letters or shapes or colors, as long as there are 9 different variations that can be easily distinguished.

The aim is to fill a 9×9 grid with the chosen symbols so that every column, row, and block contains all of the symbols once and once only. There must be no duplicates.

Sudoku puzzles are presented as partially completed grids and the aim is to find the solution. There should always be only one single correct solution for any particular sudoku puzzle.

Variations of Sudoku puzzles have been around since the 19th century, published in French newspapers.

It is thought that playing Sudoku regularly may improve the working memory in older people. (Ref: Sudoku and Working Memory Performance for Older Adults: Jeremy W. Grabbe)

While 9 X 9 grids, with 81 cells, using symbols such as the numbers 1 to 9 are the most common form of Sudoku puzzles, it is also possible to play with 4 X 4 and 6 X 6 grids and also larger grids. There are also various kinds of different shaped grid puzzles. This site will concentrate on the basic 4 X 4, 6 X 6 and 9 X 9 grids.

The answer to this Sudoku puzzle can be found on the answers page