⇐   May 19th, 2019   ⇒ 

Copyright 2019 Michael Anttila

The board games that are available for little children these days are much better than the old "Snakes & Ladders" type games that I remember as a kid. This is a cute little co-operative board game, where you are trying to get a number of owls into the nest in the centre of the board. I like the fact that it has multiple difficulty levels (from 3 to 6 owls), and that all the players' hands are visible so that you can make strategic moves.

Sometimes I like taking games like this and turning them in to puzzles. For this game, I became interested in how well I could write an algorithm to play. I spent a couple of hours here and there writing a quick and dirty program to test various strategies. It also has a mode where you can play a 2 player game interactively, with computer-assisted hints.

In my not-so-scientific (and not-so-surprising) analysis, I found that a strategy where you pick the colour that moves an owl the furthest and always move the last owl seems to be the best out of the different algorithms that I tried, winning 58% of 2-player, 6-owl games.

If anyone out there thinks they can do better, the game is not hard to code up and experiment with. The board is as pictured, and each player always has 3 tiles in their hand, visible to everyone. There are 6 tiles of each colour in total, and 14 "sun" tiles. A player *must* play a sun tile if they have one in their hand. Otherwise they have free choice of which tile to play, and which owl to move on the board.

Technical Details: This photo was taken with my Samsung A5.

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