Yenya's World

Fri, 14 Oct 2005

Why we don't win TMOU 7

I have already written about TMOU here. Yesteday we had a meeting of our team in order to test our skills by solving the exercises from the TMOU manual. I think some of the exercises are excellent examples showing why we will always have trouble to win or even finish TMOU:

For example, take this puzzle from Bedna (a game in Prague similar to TMOU in Brno). In the TMOU manual there was a simplified version - just use arrows at the rows number 4, 2, 6, 5, and 3 (in this order). The algorithm is pretty straigtforward - something you can probably guess after 10 seconds of thinking - but it requires to use all the arrows, and even then the solution is not very clear and readable. And a single mistake can lead to a completely wrong result. We have tried to beat this puzzle for an hour or so, and altough we have guessed the correct algorithm, we have not finished the solution before abandoning the algorithm and moving to the next guess. And in the real game it will be more difficult - somewhere in the forest during the night, possibly in the rain, we definitely would not have enough self-discipline to try the whole algorithm for each of our guesses.

Another example, yet of a very different kind, is the following sequence (again taken from Bedna):

5, h, s, i, ?

What has to be filled in instead of the question mark? The solution is pretty simple, but you either get the right idea, or you don't. There is probably no clue which would lead one to the right solution. And I think when we would not get the solution in the first few seconds, we start to explore the highly improbable paths like deriving the ASCII codes of the letters XORed with the phase of the moon or something like that.

We need a person without mathematical style of thinking in the team. Unfortunately, we are all computer or math geeks. But at least we know our weak points, so let's hope we can work around them.

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