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Petals Around the Rose [Oct. 17th, 2005|01:43 pm]
I just came across this interesting little puzzle game for the first time. It's an old brain teaser that can be played with a handful of dice (or their web equivalent).

It took me a while to work out a solution. Oddly enough, my method wasn't exactly "correct"... I always came up with half the correct number and had to arbitrarily multiply by two. A bit of reading online showed that I was working along the right lines, though. (It also explained why sixes bollixed my orderly explanation.)

But it seems this game has a history of challenging people to invent creative solutions.

If you've never seen it before, I'd urge you to try it. I will say that there is a simple algorithm for determining the answer which can (demonstrably) be arrived at in a number of ways. There isn't any gimmick involving the players; it's all on the dice.

The rules:
1. The name of the game is Petals Around the Rose. This is significant.
2. The answer will always be a positive even number or zero.
3. You cannot reveal the algorithm you use, only the numerical answers.

Note that rule three applies to any comments on this entry! :)

My Broken Solution:
If you already know the correct answer, you might try to deduce what I did wrong. My initial answers were off by 2 (4 after doubling) for every six rolled. I was interpreting the word "rose" incorrectly, as it turns out.

[User Picture]From: tilton
2005-10-17 09:00 pm (UTC)
oooooo I remember this one. It pissed me off! :)
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2005-10-17 09:03 pm (UTC)
Why, out of curiosity? :)

Were your initial solutions overly-complex? Most of my early theories were way off. It seems a fair puzzle, overall, since the rules don't try to mislead. (I'm saying nothing about someone who might've tortured you with it, though!)
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[User Picture]From: tilton
2005-10-17 09:10 pm (UTC)
Actually, you're closer to the real reason -- it wasn't the puzzle that pissed me off. It's that it was presented to me by a bunch of people who already knew the answer, and pulled the old "Ha ha! Oh it's so obvious you'll hate yourself more and more the longer you don't get it!" trick. And that pissed me off ;)

Also, I completely ignored the name of the puzzle, despite having been told right up front that it was important. I brute forced the answer by looking at probably hundreds of results from the web game and trying to deduce what combinatorics of the die numbers could sum up to the result. Eventually I figured it out and wrote up the algorithm in C to make sure I was right, and then I was happy.
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[User Picture]From: twopiearr
2005-10-17 09:15 pm (UTC)
of course there's always the "cheat and look at the javascript source" approach...

...which leaves me baffled as to why rolling a 6 would have anything to do with it.
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[User Picture]From: happyjenn97
2005-10-17 10:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tip! I wouldn't have been able to figure it out otherwise...
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[User Picture]From: harlequeen
2005-10-17 09:28 pm (UTC)
Got It!

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[User Picture]From: harlequeen
2005-10-17 09:29 pm (UTC)
And faster than bill gates it seems.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2005-10-17 09:42 pm (UTC)
Well done! It took me an embarassingly long time, I must admit.
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[User Picture]From: traveller_blues
2005-10-17 09:32 pm (UTC)
My problem with this is that to this day, I never could figure out why the name was significant, even when I figured out the answer.


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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2005-10-17 09:43 pm (UTC)
Aha! You are perhaps where I was: You know how to find the answer but it doesn't quite make sense.

I can explain why the name is significant to you but I don't want to post it here and accidentally spoil it for someone else. What's your email?
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[User Picture]From: polrbear
2005-10-17 11:02 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, I can't believe I figured it out on the very first roll! And no, I have never seen this before. The Rose name just seemed to totally click for me.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2005-10-17 11:42 pm (UTC)
It can work that way. It seems it's highly variable how long it'll take someone to figure it out. Well done!
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[User Picture]From: seaweedotter
2005-10-18 01:02 am (UTC)
It is REALLY wierd..I am a very right brained (creative, not mathmatical)person, but I got it the FIRST roll!

I am very proud of myself!!
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[User Picture]From: lacy
2005-10-18 01:38 am (UTC)
This one was introduced to me a year or two ago by a science professor. We were forced to play the game first day of class, hehe. It's definitely an interesting brain teaser.
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[User Picture]From: waterotter
2005-10-18 04:27 am (UTC)
I've already subjected my friends to this. Which would make it awesome to inflict your 'broken' version on them.

1-6-3-5-5 "Yeah, yeah, I know. That's 10." "No, that's 7." "WHAT?! WHY?!" "The name of the game is..."
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[User Picture]From: pippinbear
2005-10-18 11:24 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I initially tried to solve the problem from your post alone (not wanting to read up in case it spoiled things). Unfortunately, you can't work it out without examples - without examples, you don't even know that the game involves rolling dice and coming up with a number as an answer. :P

Unfortunately, I saw the mention of diagonals in a comment on your other post and I think that's what gave it away to me, once I'd found the examples in the Borrett article...

Neat little puzzle, though.
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