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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sprouts (1967)

Sprouts (1967)

Ratings

5.81422 out of 10 with 75 ratings
Board Game Rank: 9777
Abstract Game Rank: 570

Description

Sprouts is a two-player game, invented by John Conway (the creator of the game of Life) and Michael Paterson, while they were at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom).
The rules are:

In the beginning - a few spots are drawn on the paper;
On every move, the player must connect two spots (or one spot to itself) with a curve, which doesn't intersect other curves. After that, the player must set a new spot on just-drawn curve. To every spot can be attached maximum 3 curves.
The player who on his/her turn doesn't have a valid move, loses the game.




In the image shown, the two black spots each have only two curves coming out of them, but nonetheless cannot be used because no curve can be drawn between them without crossing another already-drawn curve. Thus this game is over. The two black spots are called "survivors", and the number of survivors is what can effectively be controlled in the game.

Sprouts is one of many combinatorial games analyzed in Winning Ways for Your Mathematical Plays as well as other math books on the subject of combinatorial games.

  • Designer: John Conway, Michael Stewart Paterson
  • Publisher: (Public Domain), A. K. Peters, Ltd.
  • Year Published: 1967
  • Number of Players: 2 - 2
  • Suggested Number of Players: 2
  • Manufacturer Suggested Ages: 0
  • Playing Time: 10
  • Suggested Ages: 6
  • Language Dependence: No necessary in-game text
  • Subdomain: Abstract Games
  • Category: Abstract Strategy
  • Mechanic: Paper-and-Pencil
  • Family: Combinatorial
  • Alternate Names: Sprouts

Reviews

4 out of 10
By
Interesting. Not really good, but interesting.

6 out of 10
By
Interesting paper and pencil territorial game. Recommended for travelers.

6.5 out of 10
By
A brilliant idea for an impartial pen and paper game designed by one of my favourite mathematicians, John Conway. Unfortunately it is quite opaque, not very fun, and better left as a theoretical exercise after a few plays. Some fascinating papers have come out of this game, and so much is still unknown even for its incredibly simple rules.

6.5 out of 10
By
This is a simple pen and paper abstract that I am usually willing to play with the kiddos.

7 out of 10
By
Good pencil and paper game, great for long road trips, much more fun than tic-tac-toe, but wouldn't play for an extended amount of time.

6.5 out of 10
By
A great game to play in class.

9 out of 10
By
What a smart idea!

By
New game no plays yet....

4 out of 10
By
While an interesting high school lunch diversion, it really isn't all that fun.

By
Paper & pencil game

5 out of 10
By
It was my favorite at some age. Now it might be nice to play a bit while in travel if I didn't have something more enjoyable almost every time.

By
Rules in "The New Games Treasury" page 26.

7 out of 10
By
A great logic game where only a pen and a piece of paper is needed. Try it!

4 out of 10
By
I cannot stand sprouts, even smelling them cooking makes me feel a little queezy. The game does not do much more for me. Simple pattern recognition with a bit of dexterity.

6 out of 10
By
Never play tic-tac-toe again. This clever little pen and paper game can serve as a nice time-waster when at the airport, etc.

By
It should be noted that this is basically a pencil and paper version of the mathematician's favourite, Nim, and has been 'solved' eg. The Mathematics of Games by John D.Beasley.

5 out of 10
By
[Played once] A simple abstract game, playable with paper & pencil.

4 out of 10
By
Fun when you're bored and all you have is a paper and pen. After a few games it gets pretty repetitive.

6 out of 10
By
Clever little game. If you found out the basic strategies, you can start with much more spots. There are infinitely many possibilities!

8 out of 10
By
Brilliant addition to the geek. Or has this been here all along? The new travel edition is great. There is more strategy here than it might initially seem, thus the introduction of idiosyncratic terminology: you need to control the parity of the cannibals. See Berlekamp, Conway and Guy's "[gameid=18096]", and the World Game of Sprouts Association homepage.

6 out of 10
By
from book. and brussel sprouts. rating probably going up. I like it maybe a little more than my rating may suggest.

7 out of 10
By
Fun, wiggly game requiring no more than a pen and paper. I first discovered this in Piers Anthony's Macroscope, half a lifetime ago.

4.5 out of 10
By
Rules in Gladstone's Games to Go and The Ultimate Book of Games.

5 out of 10
By
Take it or leave it sounds right. Not a very complex or involved game, but it works when all you have is a paper and pencil to pass the time sonewhere. In that case it is more like a 10.

6 out of 10
By
Neet game, first saw this in a big book full of various games, from Sprouts to "beetle" and many many more.

8 out of 10
By
Modern classic for paper and pencil, gripping to play and suprisingly aesthetic. Since each move in the game is joining two dots with a line and drawing a dot somewhere in it, even if it is always played with the same amount of "starting dots" the different lines bring out different shapes, giving each game a charm that makes up for its potential repetitiveness. By the way, it's always tempting to try analyzing the game starting with three dots and so on.

6 out of 10
By
Abstract strategy. 2 players. Pen & pencil.

5 out of 10
By
Good lecture game: a rival to boxes and beats noughts and crosses hands down 8)

8 out of 10
By
I learned of this game from Martin Gardner's "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American magazine, and it became very popular among the math and physics students in my high school.

4 out of 10
By
If I were feeling sarcastic, I might call this "scintillating."

7 out of 10
By
Classic combinatorial paper-and-pencil game. Very simple rules, short playing time, well worth trying.

7 out of 10
By
A game that is an exercise in topology. It was introduced to me by a friend in high school. It made for a great distraction during boring classes. Seeing as I have tons of notebooks and pens and pencils, I own this game.

5 out of 10
By
Unisci i puntini senza incrociare le linee. Still to try but doesnt attract me very much

5 out of 10
By
The definition of dry and abstract.

4 out of 10
By
Pretty decent way to waste time w/ only pencil and paper. Not great, but better to play durring class than tic-tac-toe. =)

6 out of 10
By
Fun while waiting for food at a restaurant. I'm not likely to pull out the pad of paper on game night though.

3 out of 10
By
Paper and pencil version.

7 out of 10
By
Extremely simple pencil and paper game that could only be solved by computers. That alone makes it worthy of study and play. Strategies appear rather murky so this may not appeal to you unless you like abstracts. Only takes about 5 min to play and 10 sec. to learn.

6.66667 out of 10
By
Moderately entertaining for a while, but lacks lasting appeal.

8 out of 10
By
Miss Rhodes Says: This is a really easy game to pick up and can be played anywhere as long as you have some paper and a pen. The object of the game is to be able to link the sprouts. The game ends when the losing player has nowhere to link too. This is good fun but I am still baffled as to how to guarantee winning (hence I seem to lose most of the time)!

5 out of 10
By
I have the rules, so I guess I 'own' it, right? Oh, and I own a pen and have some paper also, so I definitely own it!

By
PEN AND PAPER

6.9 out of 10
By
Одна из лучших игр из семейства "карандаш и бумага". Обозначаю владение всеми ими как владение одной, как наличие карандаша под рукой.

4 out of 10
By
Fun diversion once in a while when you and a friend have nothing but paper, pencil, and time to kill. Otherwise not such a great game.

4 out of 10
By
A game by the esteemed Mr.Conway whose ideas just go way above my head. I cannot even discern a strategy.
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