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Phiddlywinks

Age 7 to 18
Challenge Level

Why play this game?

The article Phiddlywinks - a Tribute to John Conway outlines the background to the creation of this game and the thinking that it prompts. This game could be introduced at the same time as students are learning about coordinates.

Introducing the game

Demonstrate the game using the interactivity, perhaps with the class playing against the computer intially (the default version). This could be followed up by discussing the three scenarios pictured below:

Scenario 1: Player 1 to go next

Player 1 clicks on 7E (or 8F) and the white counter will move to 9G
Player 1 clicks on 9F (or 9E) and the white counter will move to 9D
Player 1 clicks on 9C and the white counter will move to 9B
Player 1 clicks on 10B and the white counter will move to 11B, winning the game!

Scenario 2: Player 2 to go next

Player 2's first move is to click on 5C, which will move the white counter to 4D
Player 2 now has two options for winning:
Either click on 3D (or 2D or 1D) and the white counter will move into the red region, winning the game
Or, click on 3C (or 2B) and the white counter will move to 1A, also winning the game.
Note that Player 2's second move cannot hop over the black counters at 3E, 2F and 1G to win, because the white counter would end up off the board.

Scenario 3: Player 1 to go next

Player 1 clicks on 5C and the white counter will move to 4B
Player 1 clicks on 5B (or 6B) and the white counter will move to 7B
Player 1 clicks on 8C (or 9D or 10E) and the white counter will move to 11F, winning the game!