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The Dots and Boxes Game: Sophisticated Child's Play [Paperback]

Elwyn R. Berlekamp
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 18 2000 1568811292 978-1568811291 1
The game of Dots-and-Boxes, the popular game in which two players take turns connecting an array of dots to form squares, or "boxes" has long been considered merely a child's game. In this book, however, the author reveals the surprising complexity of the game, along with advanced strategies that will allow the reader to win at any level of gameplay desired. This book is an essential guide to the game of Dots-and-Boxes and its mathematical underpinnings. Chapters of strategy are interspersed with dozens of sample problems and their solutions. Furthermore, the strategies can be applied to several other games, such as Strings-and-Coins and Nimstring.

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Product Details


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Dots-and-Boxes is a familiar paper and pencil game for two players; it has other names in various parts of the world. Read the first page
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Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed analysis of a simple game Sept. 30 2000
Format:Paperback
The title game of this book is the simple one where two players start with a rectangular grid of dots. They take turns connecting two adjacent dots using either a horizontal or vertical line. If the line closes a square, the player initials it and then connects two additional dots. The player with the most initialed squares at the end wins the game. There are several games that are mathematically equivalent, which makes the explanations even more interesting.
Like so many other games, the rules are simple, effective strategies for improved play are available and easy to understand, but a complete analysis is elusive and may be all but combinatorially impossible. Of course, this is what keeps our interest.
Many problems with solutions are presented with some currently unsolved situations listed at the end. While the book is interesting, the lack of detailed explanations of at least some of the solutions would have done a great deal to improve the quality of the book. Games like this have strategies that can be subtle to say the least and I found it difficult to justify the moves that the author put forward as the appropriate strategy. However, this is not to say that I ultimately found the move to be incorrect.
Humans are creatures that require games and play. The best all seem to be the ones with simple rules and complex or impossible strategies. The games described in this book are fun to play and the explanations of basic strategies are easy to understand. If this type of game interests you, then you will find the book enjoyable.

Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission.
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Paperback
This book is one of a kind, and will show you that the game of Dots and Boxes is far from trivial, in spite of the common idea. It will also show you some very high-quality technical stuff about this game.The main issue is that the book is born as a collection of problems, and the try to turn it into a full-fledged book wasn't completely successful. The explanations are lacking in clarity and the result is that you have a very good series of positions and problems, but not the knoweledges for solving them
Was this review helpful to you?
1.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete Dec 27 2001
Format:Paperback
Although the subject matter is enticing and the introduction thorough, the text proper falls short. The examples come with minimal, if any, explanation, leaving it to the reader to actually make conjectures and prove lemmas. This book seems to have been writtem more as a private notebook for someone who already understands the game rather than an explanation for neophytes.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed analysis of a simple game Sept. 30 2000
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The title game of this book is the simple one where two players start with a rectangular grid of dots. They take turns connecting two adjacent dots using either a horizontal or vertical line. If the line closes a square, the player initials it and then connects two additional dots. The player with the most initialed squares at the end wins the game. There are several games that are mathematically equivalent, which makes the explanations even more interesting.
Like so many other games, the rules are simple, effective strategies for improved play are available and easy to understand, but a complete analysis is elusive and may be all but combinatorially impossible. Of course, this is what keeps our interest.
Many problems with solutions are presented with some currently unsolved situations listed at the end. While the book is interesting, the lack of detailed explanations of at least some of the solutions would have done a great deal to improve the quality of the book. Games like this have strategies that can be subtle to say the least and I found it difficult to justify the moves that the author put forward as the appropriate strategy. However, this is not to say that I ultimately found the move to be incorrect.
Humans are creatures that require games and play. The best all seem to be the ones with simple rules and complex or impossible strategies. The games described in this book are fun to play and the explanations of basic strategies are easy to understand. If this type of game interests you, then you will find the book enjoyable.

Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The only book about Dots and Boxes to my knoweledge Aug. 4 2002
By Maurizio De Leo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is one of a kind, and will show you that the game of Dots and Boxes is far from trivial, in spite of the common idea. It will also show you some very high-quality technical stuff about this game.The main issue is that the book is born as a collection of problems, and the try to turn it into a full-fledged book wasn't completely successful. The explanations are lacking in clarity and the result is that you have a very good series of positions and problems, but not the knoweledges for solving them
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete Dec 27 2001
By James B. Apple - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Although the subject matter is enticing and the introduction thorough, the text proper falls short. The examples come with minimal, if any, explanation, leaving it to the reader to actually make conjectures and prove lemmas. This book seems to have been writtem more as a private notebook for someone who already understands the game rather than an explanation for neophytes.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a good introduction to, or explanation of, the game. Oct. 21 2007
By Brian Kelly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book dives right into various scenarios and problems to solve without giving a good introduction to the game. After the first chapter it jumps right to a set of problems without giving you any indication of what exactly you're meant to be solving. I suspect it's targeted more for math teachers/students than a general audience.
4.0 out of 5 stars good book and good game Dec 3 2009
By Marek Komorowski - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dots and boxes is a very interesting simple abstract game with not an easy strategy to play, this book gives you an idea how to play this game, amazingly this small game is probably one of the best abstract games, comparable to go and better than chess.
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