Having made it to the seventh day of the month – and also the start of the Easter long weekend – I think now is a good time to review my progress in Connect Four.
A brief refresher of the rules: on each day of the month I either win or lose a game of Spider Solitaire. Wins and Losses are marked on the calendar month. In the MobilityWare app, wins are indicated by crowns and losses by the absence of crowns respectively. The Orange cells numbered 8-14 indicate I can play the daily challenges up to one week in the future, if I am willing to “go premium”. In this case, I have managed to alternate wins and losses although that was not my intention!
Neither side has managed to gain a clear upper hand. Threats of winning are starting to percolate on the 1-7-13-19 diagonal but there’s always a chance that some horizontal connect-four for either side will terminate the game prematurely before we reach that point.
I have also included a brief description of how each game went. For instance, game 2 was a really bad loss when I only managed my first empty column after the stock was empty, whereas game 3 was extremely easy with the entire tableau face up before dealing any cards from the stock. Game 5 was noteworthy, with the rare scenario of removing four suits that are not “one-of-each”. It is quite rare for a player to remove both suits of Hearts before removing a single suit of Clubs (and WLOG we can replace Hearts/Clubs with any other suits), assuming we only play to win and ignore the possibility of “achieving the cheevo” if the hand is too easy! Game 6 saw a narrow loss when “one card would have made all the difference”. Of course I can’t be 100% certain since losing implies I did not discover the identity of all face-down cards, but my experience tells me I would probably have won if I could replace the “critical bad card” with the one I wanted.
On Day 4, I struggled from the very beginning and the only thing that prevented an early surrender was the software not having a Backgammon Doubling Cube. But the software did have an annoying pop-up message asking me if I wanted to see the solution for this hand (which I found insulting).
Of course, this does not guarantee that two players playing the hand corresponding to the 4th of April will get the same starting hand since the solution is not publicly available.
Finally, I should mention there was no effort to prove or disprove if the hands are biased via recording the starting configuration and applying the Ninja Monkey’s algorithm. I think that dead horse finally deserves some rest and no more flogging is required.
If you want to play the same Connect Four game, the MobilityWare software can be downloaded here
It can also be found on the App Store (search MobilityWare Spider Solitaire). Note that my version says “update” instead of “get” because I already have this app!
The instructions for playing a 4-Suit Spider Solitaire hand corresponding to a particular day of the month should be fairly self-explanatory.
To delete the app, press “some empty area” on your mobile phone and each app will have a minus-sign icon appearing the upper left corner. The apps will start trembling, as if saying “don’t pick me don’t pick me …”. Of course once you do click the minus sign icon there is no turning back!
2 thoughts on “Connect Four progress”
I realize I owe you an answer on this one… When I said I would be willing to install the program to be one of the “other players”, it was in a bout of energy and enthusiasm that I am afraid I have to say did not last. I’m afraid I’ll have to bow out, but I wish you all the best in investigating this puzzle.
Thanks for your reply. I forgot to mention you might need to “sign up for some kind of account” and that may not be fair in a day and age when many folk (particularly the elderly) are struggling to remember various username/password combos and worrying about random scams. I’ll see what I can do