Happy New Game – Round 0

Firstly, apologies for delaying this game by a few days, but I really really really wanted to start things off with a terrible Spider-GM joke. I’m sure you would agree it was worth the wait 😊

Here is the initial position. A promising start, but experienced players know that things can quickly turn sour at some point in the hand. Good luck!

Previous Moves

Initial position:


Stock = 50

Checksum: 6 + 6 + 6  + 6 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 50 = 104

Monkey Recommends: β€œcf”

Actual play (date = 31/Dec, score = 500): hc β†’ Kh

Spider GM comments: I will use the score to β€œindex” different game states over time. For instance, score=500, 499, 498 instead of decision = 1,2,3 etc. Note that score is not necessarily decreasing by 1 each time.

Monkey recommends: β€œcf”

Actual play (date = 1/Jan, score = 499): eh β†’ 6 of Hearts

Spider GM comments: At this early stage my primary concern is the formatting issues. In particular I want the reader(s) to focus on the following question: β€œdo you foresee any potential problems if I follow the same format as the previous Among-Us game?”

Monkey recommends: cf

Actual play (date = 3/Jan, score = 498): cf β†’ 8h

Spider GM comments: If this were chess, the game would immediately be drawn due to the triple repetition of monkey recommending the same move. Bad jokes aside, I have added the dates as requested by IM Bartacus (the date indicates when I asked the question of how to continue)

Monkey recommends: bg

Actual play (date = 4/Jan, score = 497): dj β†’ Jh (trivial)

Spider GM comments: This is the problem I mentioned earlier. Monkey only cares about the worst case scenario when all turnovers are useless – therefore bg and dj were considered equivalent.

Monkey recommends: dh

Actual play (date = 4/Jan, score = 496): dh β†’ 5s (trivial)

Spider GM comments: Okay, at least the monkey is not totally hopeless.

Monkey recommends: da

Actual play (date = 4/Jan, score = 495): da β†’ Ac (trivial)

Spider GM comments: Pass

Monkey recommends: ib(!)

Actual play (date = 4/Jan, score = 494): db β†’ 3h (trivial)

Spider GM comments: Rot13(sbe shpx’f fnxr)! I might need to take a closer look at my Python code ☹

Monkey recommends: bg

Actual play (date = 4/Jan, score = 493): bg→ 2h (trivial)

Spider GM comments: At least I managed to fix the bug … I think …

Monkey recommends: fh

Actual play (date = 4/Jan, score = 492): ib β†’ Ks

Spider GM comments: A choice of two in-suit builds – and Monkey reminds us we still have the turn-over in column 6 😊

Monkey recommends: ae, ea, gd, bg

Actual play (date = 6/Jan, score = 491): bd β†’ 5c

Spider GM comments: No comment

Monkey recommends: fh

Actual play (date = 6/Jan, score = 490): fh β†’ 6d

Spider GM comments:  pass

Monkey recommends: af, fe, bf

Actual play (date = 6/Jan, score = 489): be β†’ 2d

Spider GM: I thought there were only two legal options but Monkey proves me wrong. But they were equivalent anyway 😊

Monkey recommends: deal

Actual play (date = 6/Jan, score = 488): (a1=e1), deal

Spider GM: I assume we’re dealing a new row unless someone can find a miniscule advantage in shuffling the black Fives around columns 1/5/6 – EDIT: Bart did find a “miniscule advantage”, so the Fives have been swapped

Final Position

10 thoughts on “Happy New Game – Round 0

  1. Happy New Year!

    hc — slightly better than monkey’s because taking from a 4-pile rather than a 5-pile
    cf — monkey’s move
    dj — almost indistinguishable in priority from cf in goodness, but cf makes a 3-card in-suit run?

    Now we’re done with in-suit moves

    bg — delay until aflter other moves in case we turn over a 4

    “Highlight your best and second-best play?” This is a bit confusing, since presumably the only real decisions here are order, so those two are just my first and second moves? Falling out of above analysis is (1) hc and (2) cf?


  2. Format: The spoiler array could be about half its current height at least by me. Since SA was the one who requested it, however, I wouldn’t suggest you take my opinion too seriously. Another thing that would be nice is to put the date before or after the screenshot. That is a very handy index to have, especially if it’s in searchable format. I store a copy of my own comments in a text file, organized by date.

    Move is eh, moving the queen to the spot that just became available. After that continue the same sequence of moves I suggested last time (unless, as it did this time, new possibilities arise). Monkey’s cf is almost as good, but it turns over a 5-pile instead of a 4-pile. If monkey’s play has some advantage, however sight and even if it is still the worse choice, I would be delighted to learn what it is.


  3. cf, then dj. And then bg and ig.

    There’s no room for shortcuts in this format for “obvious moves”? This is going to get kind of tedious. Is there perhaps some interaction between the fact of monkey’s making suggestions and why you insist on doing this one move at a time? If so, you could give us pairs of “monkey’s move, obvious move made instead” and add some commentary without having to put every single decision out to your playing audience.

    The first time we turned over a card (King of hearts) it opened up a new play to be considered, though a trivial enough one I would have been fine with GM choosing the one he thought was best (as opposed to what he gets from the monkey). This second turnover introduces no new possibilities at all. Sure, in some key situations getting that new “6” might affect which choice we make from a selection, even if the choices were the same before and after. But this isn’t one of them.

    I can’t recall to what extent monkey’s strategy is hand-coded, but if there is any role for adding an intuition a human sees, I would suggest adding, “if just about everything else is equal, uncovering a card from a shorter pile is preferred to uncovering from a longer pile.” You might modify this so later in the game it would not apply, “later” measured by number of deals, or number of currently empty columns, or columns not currently empty but with no unturned cards even if filled with other stuff, or something like that. You would want this consideration to be dependent on the pile lengths, so 4vs5 would be the smallest factor, but 1vs5 a much bigger factor.

    I’m still content to go on with “one move at a time, however obvious” if it is part of what you wanted to test.


    1. The blockchain has been updated, and we have a flurry of trivial decisions.

      Apologies for the tedious one-move-at-a-time start but I’m confident things can get moving again now that the formatting issues are settled. And the less said about that pesky bug I just discovered the better!


  4. I see we’ve started doing trivial moves in a bunch, so that’s encouraging!

    gd is horrible since we want to keep d as simple as possible in hopes of getting a space there. But I wouldn’t put it past the monkey to suggest it!

    Choice is among fh, bd, and ib. They are very close, as I see it. One reason to postpone fh is that if a 10 came up, that would allow us to handle it and moving j onto it while still keeping atomic whatever column is headed by whichever 10 that will NOT then be in column h. That’s a good reason.

    I’m having trouble thinking of any card coming up where it would matter whether we did bd or ib first. I guess if 2 4s came up before long, then doing ib first would retain the 3 in d as a steppingstone to allow moving both 3s onto them. As there are no 4s showing, that’s comparatively likely. Can I find a parallel advantage of bd first? There aren’t 2 of 2s or As looking for homes, so “no”. The only thing I can come up with for doing bd first is that we’re likely to end up with 32A in column d, it’s a high priority to keep d as simple as possible, and if we make an in-suit move to that column now, we’ve guaranteed there is no suit break in the 32 there. But that’s pretty vague.

    So my choices: ib, then bd, and then fh.

    A couple 7s as the next turnovers would be especially nice.


    1. Well that round sure went quick. I blame too many trivial decisions πŸ™‚ I’m assuming there are no more “last-minute tidies” to be done and we can safely deal 10 new cards. Is this correct?

      Coming soon to a place near you: quick summary of round 0 πŸ™‚


  5. I think there is the tiniest reason to switch the two 5s. Ignoring the 5s and 6s for now, we have 6 hearts and spades together in the one column, in contrast to 2 clubs and a heart. Hearts and spades are starting to go together. So there’s a slight advantage to keeping them together elsewhere where we have a choice, so later in the game when we’re trying to dig out the cards we need for a couple suits, it’s better to have the same suits together. If for instance we dig out a spade suit, having the hearts in the same columns makes it easier to make a heart suit. I think it makes sense in theory, at least when almost all else is equal. Would you agree?

    But I would not have minded in the least if you had just gone on to make the deal. So here I am either rewarding your caution in this case, or setting an example for too much caution in the future. Or both.


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