Silly Games

A few times I've gotten a notion to do simulations of simple board games.  I was inspired by playing Chutes and Ladders with my son.  I realized that I would much rather write a computer program to play this game for me, so I did.  It could play 2.8 million games per second, and I collected some data:
  • Average game is 18.7 rounds, with 73.4 spins.
  • Shortest observed game was 7 rounds, longest 145. 
  • The ladders help more than the chutes hurt.
  • Players going first have an advantage.
  • Most of the game is spent on the bottom half of the board.
Heat map of most common player positions
// 100 entries, containing the space number you should move to.
// If a ladder, contains a number higher than the index it's at
// If a slide, contains a smaller number than the index it's at
// If neither, contains its own index.
int[] spaces;
// current space each player is on, size == 4
int[] players;
while (true) // keep playing 'til someone wins
  for (int i = 0; i < playerCount; i++)
    int p = players[i] + Spin(); // add between 1 and 6
    if ((players[i] = spaces[p]) == lastSpace) 
      return i; // return the player number of the victor

I did similar projects for Bingo and Tic Tac Toe, and I dunno probably others that I don't remember.

Relatedly, check out  On the mouseover text, it reads:

"Wikipedia trivia: if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at 'Philosophy'"

So I wrote a bot to check.  As of June 2, 2015, out of 259,184 articles found and "resolved", which means to trace back until I find where they lead, 93% lead to Philosophy, 6% to other loops, and 1% to dead ends.  Average distance from an article to Philosophy was 19.95 links.  The longest chain found was 313.  An interesting challenge was that as I was trying to collect statistics, there were active edit wars on key articles intended specifically to either break or fix this game!

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