Go Zendo

Frustration is part of the fun!! Great job! It would be disappointing if we got it too quickly.

Thank you for putting in so much effort to respond to questions and guesses all day.


Completely agreed on frustration being part of the fun.

For instance, I would 100% say that this last game was more successful than my first game (which was guessed almost immediately). What’s so interesting about these inductive games like Zendo is how they are a small playground for scientific research (and more generally trying to learn new things by making hypotheses and doing experiments). It’s often very hard, and that’s the point. We do hard things to get better at them.


Also, apart from me being grateful to everyone putting time into playing this silly game I started, I’m also thankful for the extra contributions you made to the board tool @RubyMineshaft :blush:


It also preserved the rotational/reflectional symmetry while being conceptually simple which is great. I can imagine trying to pose simple to state rules but probably breaking a symmetry.

I think it’s frustrating for me that I was probably sharing ‘useful’ variations early on, but I don’t think I was ever going to be the person to understand the rule. I think this was me thinking of the other distance to the edge but I couldn’t make that work. By ‘useful’ I guess I mean retrospectively I could’ve probably added stones one at a time to these guys and then maybe arrived at some similar diagrams to Ruby’s hints. The hints are actually really good looking back at them too.


I think @RubyMineshaft gave an excellent puzzle. Part of the fun is indeed the challenge, if you feel it was impossible to guess, that’s not because the puzzle was flawed, but because your thinking about it was flawed.

I have a bit of experience making exercises for classes I taught, and if I learnt one thing with that, it’s that it is nearly impossible to predict how difficult an exercise / problem / puzzle is. Especially things that are required to be a little challenging can be completely impenetrable to some.

A good puzzle should be not immediately obvious, yet also not take too much thought to work out. But depending on which path you first take when trying to solve, it may be impossible to arrive to the right answer.

And especially with this game, none of us have played it before on a goban, so none of us have tested their challenges. We can only guess the difficulty level of the challenges.


I’ll do the next rule.

It shouldn’t be too difficult, but I cannot know yet if it will frustrate anybody.


Thanks guys. I feel a lot better now.

I’ll try this one:



I had a lot of fun playing around with that today! I want to look into it a bit more tomorrow and see if I can figure out the iOS copy to clipboard issue.

Guess: There are less than 7 stones

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Nope, counter examples:

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A possibly silly guess.

Blacks groups need to touch white groups and have as many or more liberties than the ones they touch.



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Can we see what happens if colors are inverted?



Another counter example, apart from the second red one:



All green, as well as the empty board (before that’s eventually asked).

I wonder if there will emerge some strategy like “first, we ask we for a single black stone, a single white stone, a blank board, and a full board” like you would start Hangman with E N I R S or whatever are the most common letters in your language.


I think to make things easier for guessing: any rule can be proposed, regardless if it does not work for the given boards, and the Master will have to provide two new counter examples to that rule (or one if the guess is a sub- or superset of the actual rule).

A group of boards.

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All red.

The first two green, the last two red.