# Challenge!

There are 5 piles of coins, one with 1 coin, one with 2 coins, etc.

1 2 3 4 5

You can take as many coins as you want during your turn, but only from one pile. ie you could take 3 coins from pile 4, 2 coins from pile 2, 1 coin from pile 5, etc.

Whoever takes the last coin loses.

Here’s a quick example game:
12345
12245
12234
12034
12030
11030
11010
10010
00010
00000 (loss)

If you go first, what move can you make to ensure that you win? I know the answer (spent the last hour working it out), but let’s see if you guys can figure it out!

-Mazrim Taim

take one coin from the pile that had 5

-Mazrim Taim

Eh, I know what it is, but I’ll give someone else a chance to find it.

I love Vorpy and his weird-ass binary solutions

Take the entire 1-coin pile

one more…

-Mazrim Taim

I am also following Vorpy’s example and giving someone else a chance

Look down at the pile, look back at your opponent, rear back and smash them in the face, then take all the coins. Just before you leave, flip one up in the air so that it lands right on the bruised forehead of your beaten opponent. Lastly, say something badass like “Keep the change,” or “A penny for your thoughts,” then, leave the room; preferably to some sort of music.

Now that is the extreme badass way to win

Originally posted by Merlin
Look down at the pile, look back at your opponent, rear back and smash them in the face, then take all the coins. Just before you leave, flip one up in the air so that it lands right on the bruised forehead of your beaten opponent. Lastly, say something badass like “Keep the change,” or “A penny for your thoughts,” then, leave the room; preferably to some sort of music.

I love the way you solve your problems Merlin.

A less cool but bit more practical solution would be to take 1 from the 3 pile

Crappy. There’s so many solutions the first one can always win, even accidently oO;

Mental Note: Don’t play the game with Vorpy or Cless. Ever.

There’s a simple enough algorithm to solve the problem, but I definately don’t feel like working through all of the cases to get the answer. I don’t have a nice solution, but from the answers people have given, and because at least one person has to take an even number of pieces for the first player to win, I’m guessing that it has something to do with eliminating all of the unpaired options first.

That is, if you want to win by following the rules.

Merlin’s correct, actually