Games of Nim

Tuesday 12th January 2021

In 1940, at the World Fair in New York, the Nimatron was introduced. This was a very early example of a computer game. Players and the computer took it in turns to turn off one or more lights in one row of the computer. The player who switched off the final light was the winner.

People were challenged to beat the computer – approximately 10% of players won! Was this because the computer was so ‘clever’ or had people just not developed winning strategies?

Nowadays, many students will have consoles at home and will be able to beat the computer at lots of different games, however they’ll still enjoy developing winning strategies.

The AMSP is running an Online Enrichment Event Race to the target! which looks at Games of Nim and how we can develop strategies to ensure that we always win. We'll be running this event again later in the spring term.

NRICH has a number of Nim-like GamesOpens a new window which are similar to the Nimatron. Another similar game is Survivor’s 21 FlagsOpens a new window.

By Avril McLeer

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