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On Tuesday, February 21, 1967, in the math department common room of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, the world of pencil and paper math games changed. John Conway and Michael Paterson were trying to invent a brand new simple-to-play, hard-to-analyze game, and the result came to be known as Sprouts.

The basic setup of Sprouts is easy: start with any number of dots, then connect them with lines. When a dot has 3 lines coming to or from it, that dot can no longer be played. Lines are not allowed to cross, and the player to draw the last line wins. But the most important rule came from Paterson: every time a player draws a line, he or she gets to add a new dot anywhere on that line. As Conway put it, at that point “sprouts sprouted.”

Despite its simplicity, Sprouts is actually a game teeming with mathematical complexity and depth once it’s played with more than a few dots… and at a certain point, the human brain is overwhelmed by the possibilities. Not only is there no straightforward ‘perfect’ strategy for Sprouts, but the sheer number of ways the game can play out push the limits of microprocessors that attempt to map optimal approaches.

The complex world of Sproutology presents a delicate dance between making the most of surviving dots and engineering your opponent’s failure. Grab a pencil and paper and get ready to break your brain.

SOURCES:

Elwyn R. Berlekamp, John Conway and Richard K. Guy, “Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays”:

Martin Gardner, “Mathematical Carnival”:

World Game of Sprouts Association:

David Applegate, Guy Jacobson, Daniel Sleater: “Computer Analysis of Sprouts”:

Julien Lemoine and Simon Viennot, “A Further Computer Analysis of Sprouts”:

Riccardo Focardi and Flaminia L. Luccio, “A new analysis technique for the Sprouts Game“:

Julien Lemoine and Simon Viennot, “Computer Analysis of Sprouts with Nimbers”:

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source: https://otrasnoviaxeiro.com/

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Comments

Adytzu Gaming October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

3:50: when the final boss is at 1 hp but he spawns some minion and heals him self

Reply

Stephen Weimer October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

Not going to lie. As I saw the rubber Yoda puppet come out I was like "Oh dear, let the major awkwardness begin." A brilliant display of puppeteering later I specifically watch the rubber Yoda puppet another many times.

Reply

LegendTM -Brawl stars October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

3:28 me when I loose a match of dodgeball

Reply

rat488 October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

shouldn't solving bigger sprouts games just come down to circling groups of dots into subgroups that you know will result in a certain way? Much like the traditional grid box game.

Reply

Bruce Johansson October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

Yoda having a seizure asmr?

Reply

氏トランスレート October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

downvoted for shilling

Reply

Valiant Cheez October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

3:27

Yoda is A N G e r Y

Reply

Noam Teuerstein October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

Yoda is so funny. Thank you😄

Reply

QwertzyStone October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

3:29 Bubbles from trailer park boys having a tantrum

Reply

Condescending Online Man October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

Dude… loose the Yoda.

Reply

Shubhankar Dimri October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

is there a vsauce video on colored shadows? how your shadows are colored?

Reply

Shubhankar Dimri October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

please don't use this type of lighting

Reply

ASHRAF ALL ISLAM October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

Anyone up for a game of sprouts

Reply

Vize_Ozan October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

Wenn deutsche alle anderen ficken

Keine Schwäche zeigen

Reply

The Lucky Pepsi October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

Why you don't take the kids Karen

Reply

GreenFreak October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

what about -1 dots?

Reply

Itz Towza October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

uhhhh okay kevin

Reply

Thot Cat October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

no one:

absolutely nobody:

not even my dad who left to get some milk:

Cameron Boyce: 3:40

Reply

Isaac Y. October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

Vsauce, Kevin here. Nope.

Reply

Tina Cochrane October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

Oh I am sweating, I came from a hip hop exercise that did me no Accomplish in learning how to dance. You not only can trick my mind, but read it

Reply

Volto October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

3:31 when my mom won't take me to McDonald's

Reply

Malika Oubilla October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

What if there are more than 2 players?

Reply

Toasty Toast October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

Me leaving area 51 knowing how to win all possible sprout games as player 1

Reply

AIMI SAYO October 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

Me: mom can we go to Macdonald's?
Mom: No we have food at home
Me: 3:30

Reply

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