Day 6: Mancala

To go with the theme of programs to solve simple (or sometimes, not so simple) games, I’d like to talk about the game of Mancala today. I grew up playing this game and its always kind of interesting to introduce to people. It involves moving piles of stones around a game board, and using logic and planning to gain the most stones on your side of the board. I was in my advisor’s office at school the other day, and I guess I’ve gotten my love of games and programming from her in some way. Her office is filled with puzzle books and she’s always walking around musing on some problem or other. I saw a mancala board sitting in her office a few days ago, and the idea came upon me to build a program that could function as an AI for Mancala.

To do this, there would have to be some sort of lookahead implemented to analyze possible future moves made by the opponent. While the rules are fairly simple, there are a few unusual things that can happen. It would be interesting to analyze the possible moves from each position, but yet incredibly complex. This is a completely short and untechnical post, but I got a bit distracted and busy today and HECK YEAH OBAMA!

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