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Via crntaylor's Twitter feed.
posted by grouse at 10:58 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm, the argument I was going to make has already played out in the comments section.
posted by Think_Long at 11:02 AM on June 7, 2010


Player #2 makes at least one mistake, although it doesn't affect the outcome. Income tax is $200 or 10%. Player #2 starts with $1500, so 10% would have been a better choice. But he'd still have only $1350 when he needs $1400 for rent, so whatever.
posted by DU at 11:02 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's about as long as a game of Monopoly should last.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:03 AM on June 7, 2010 [39 favorites]


I was more surprised by the "no action" error. Although everyone plays that way, the official rules state quite clearly that every time someone lands on an unowned property it will end up owned before the next player moves, either by purchase or by auction.
posted by GuyZero at 11:03 AM on June 7, 2010 [13 favorites]


Actually, this is kind of a fun idea for all of our favorite board games. I may spend some time pondering this.
posted by Think_Long at 11:04 AM on June 7, 2010


Now do the same for Age of Renaissance!
posted by kmz at 11:04 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Action: Advance to Boardwalk, Rent is $1400, only has $1300 = Bankrupt

Action: Bolshevik Central Committee votes 10-2 for a resolution saying that "an armed uprising is inevitable, and that the time for it is fully ripe."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:04 AM on June 7, 2010 [18 favorites]


Also, this reminds me of the time that a friend and I accidentally re-invented Fool's Mate as teens. After the 10 second game, we both sat looking at the board going "...what just happened?"
posted by DU at 11:05 AM on June 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


And the odds of this actually happening are...?
posted by Melismata at 11:05 AM on June 7, 2010


Yeah, but no one actually plays that way GuyZero, just like everyone declares "Free Parking" a jackpot space (I'm pretty sure that's never been official, right?). Street Rulz and all.
posted by Think_Long at 11:05 AM on June 7, 2010


Actually, this is kind of a fun idea for all of our favorite board games. I may spend some time pondering this.

Shortest possible game of Ticket To Ride: Märklin. Ugh. I don't even want to think about it.
posted by GuyZero at 11:07 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The 21 seconds is misleading. They don't include the half hour of arguing about whether taxes will be thrown into the middle of the board and won by landing on free parking.
posted by Babblesort at 11:07 AM on June 7, 2010 [13 favorites]


If you do play with the official auction rules, it really speeds the game up though. It's honestly a very good rule.
posted by GuyZero at 11:07 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Therefore proving the theory that some people have too much time.
posted by tybeet at 11:07 AM on June 7, 2010


Yeah, but no one actually plays that way GuyZero...

I think the phrase "theoretically possible" implies some kind of rigorous adherence to rules, though. Otherwise consider this theoretically possible shortest game:

Step 1) Player 1 is declared the winner.
Step 2) There is no step 2.

(This is under a modified ruleset where Player 2 is always the loser.)
posted by DU at 11:09 AM on June 7, 2010 [14 favorites]


odiv's 2nd shortest game of Monopoly

"Do you want to play Monopoly?"
"Okay."
"Alright, it's set up."
"I quit."

odiv's shortest game of Monopoly

"Monopoly?"
"No."
posted by ODiV at 11:10 AM on June 7, 2010 [51 favorites]


Now do the same for The Campaign For North Africa!
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:10 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shortest possible game of Ticket To Ride: Märklin. Ugh. I don't even want to think about it.

I'm digging out the Tigris and Euphrates manual and a calculator as we speak.
posted by Think_Long at 11:11 AM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the phrase "theoretically possible" implies some kind of rigorous adherence to rules, though.

I agree. If you are going to make the claim that you have created the "_est possible" something, you have to be extremely precise.
posted by Think_Long at 11:12 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shortest possible game of Ticket To Ride: Märklin. Ugh. I don't even want to think about it.

I think the shortest possible game wouldn't be too hard to figure out. Just make all cards you draw match up with the routes you want. Then figure out how many turns it takes for one player to play all their trains. I don't remember what other end conditions TTR has, so there may be something shorter.
posted by kmz at 11:13 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


> (This is under a modified ruleset where Player 2 is always the loser.)

Player 2 is always the loser.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:14 AM on June 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


If someone manages this with Twilight Imperium I'll be double-impressed.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:15 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a similar quickie playthrough for Power Grid that completes in just 7 hours.
posted by gurple at 11:16 AM on June 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


Also, this reminds me of the time that a friend and I accidentally re-invented Fool's Mate as teens. After the 10 second game, we both sat looking at the board going "...what just happened?"

I stumbled across Scholar's Mate and thought I was hot shit for about ten minutes.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:19 AM on June 7, 2010


ODiV left out:

"monop......"
/slaps face
posted by HuronBob at 11:20 AM on June 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


While the speedrun followed all the rules the programmer in me was a bit bothered by this bit:
Purchase 3 houses for Boardwalk, 2 for Park Place ($1000, now has $150)
Since player 2 is bankrupted by Boardwalk, the additional houses for Park Place are unnecessary. It just feels wrong to me to introduce a side effect like this; it's the kind of thing that comes back to bite you in the backside if you only test for the main thing a function is supposed to do.

Oh, and someone do a speedrun for Nomic.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 11:25 AM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Am I the only one who enforced multi-day games of Monopoly, drawn out by gloating records of sibling debts on multiple pages of my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wide-ruled notebook? FREE PARKING MOTHERFUCKERZ
posted by hat at 11:25 AM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


I was more surprised by the "no action" error. Although everyone plays that way, the official rules state quite clearly that every time someone lands on an unowned property it will end up owned before the next player moves, either by purchase or by auction.

As I have stated on the blue before, I doubt one person in ten thousand who has an opinion on Monopoly has ever actually played the game. We might call what most of us have played "Monopoli". Monopoly is a board game; Monopoli is the invented game with a thousand regional variations that we all play, using the same board and pieces as Monopoly. The failure to hold the auction here is a common characteristic of Monopoli games, just like the Free Parking collecting cash from the middle of the board or the charges to unmortgage a property. Monopoly rules are printed and included in the game; Monopli rules are an oral tradition, mostly handed down from older siblings to younger ones, or from neighbourhood kid to neighbourhood kid -- indeed, when we were kids my Monopoli-playing neighbour insisted that rents were cumulative: if Baltic Avenue reads "With 1 House $20 / With 2 Houses, $60 / With 3 Houses $180..." that signaled to him that the first charged twenty, the second one sixty and so forth, so Baltic Avenue with three houses netted the owner $260. Of course, his meant every game devolved intro hunts for scrap paper to do ever-lengthier sums, but he felt it was worth it to charge $5900 for rent at the hotel on Boardwalk.

When people complain that Monopoli takes too long to play, bear in mind that Monoply came out during the Depression and when you are broke, having a board game that takes maybe 45 minutes to play might not be as valuable as having one that takes five hours. Thus was Monopoli invented.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:26 AM on June 7, 2010 [35 favorites]


I thought the Monopoly rules stipulated that you can only buy houses or hotels at the beginning of turns. Hmm.
posted by millipede at 11:28 AM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Since player 2 is bankrupted by Boardwalk, the additional houses for Park Place are unnecessary. It just feels wrong to me to introduce a side effect like this; it's the kind of thing that comes back to bite you in the backside if you only test for the main thing a function is supposed to do.

I think there's a rule that you must evenly distribute houses among the monopoly property to prevent someone from front-loading a property quickly to get a hotel right away. Or that you must have houses on all properties before you can place a hotel?
posted by wcfields at 11:28 AM on June 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


And the odds of this actually happening are...?

Putting aside the cards, just the odds of getting the right dice rolls (taking into account the fact that there are many ways to make some of the required numbers) puts this at about 1 in 78,364,164,096 games (it's fractionally higher than that, but hey, close enough).

Add in the cards, and if my presumption is correct that the cards are not repeated, it becomes 1 in 20,061,226,008,576 games. Give or take a fraction, again.

Math Check:

In order stated from the link, the odds of each roll: 1/36, 1/36, 4/36, 3/36, 2/36, 3/36, 1/36, 3/36, 6/36
Odds of getting the right Community Chest card: 1/16
Odds of getting the right Chance card: 1/16

Multiply those together. Divide 1 by the result.

Also my fractions may just be because Windows' calculator is introducing error due to the tiny numbers.

posted by tocts at 11:29 AM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I thought people played Monopoly when they needed a long, drawn-out game to occupy their time -- like when they were snowed-in and school was canceled.

Also, this post reminds me of the Mathematics of Candyland, which I find amusing.
posted by heyho at 11:30 AM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think there's a rule that you must evenly distribute houses among the monopoly property to prevent someone from front-loading a property quickly to get a hotel right away. Or that you must have houses on all properties before you can place a hotel?

You have to keep all the houses on a given monopoly balanced; you can have one have more than the others, but there can never been 2 more houses (or a gap of 3 houses to hotel) on one property in a monopoly than another. So to buy three houses on Boardwalk, you must purchase at least 2 on Park Place. To buy a hotel on Connecticut, you must have four houses each on Vermont and Oriental.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:34 AM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Our object when playing Monopoly is often to have the game last for as long as possible. This is done through complicated negotiations involving the removal of items of apparel and bargaining for petty favors, e.g., the debtor retrieving beer from the faraway fridge or cooler.

Park Place with three houses, huh? What about $200, you take off your shirt, get me a beer, and we call it even?
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:34 AM on June 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


I wonder what the minimum number of turns required to win at Settlers of Catan is. My gut instinct is that it's a game which you win with four cities and two points in development cards, for which your initial city locations produce nothing but stone, wheat, and sheep. Use the "road-building" development card to get to your two new settlement locations and both of the "Year of Plenty" cards to get the wood and the brick to build your new settlements; ideally, the new locations produce loads of stone and wheat as well, since you need a total 15 stone cards and 13 wheat to pull this off.

</dork>
posted by Johnny Assay at 11:35 AM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think they did this for Diplomacy and found the minimum cost of a game was n-1 friendships, where n is the number of players.
posted by kmz at 11:35 AM on June 7, 2010 [24 favorites]


Since player 2 is bankrupted by Boardwalk, the additional houses for Park Place are unnecessary.

Thems the rules. You can't place three houses on Boardwalk and none (or one) on Park Place. Two is the minimum there if your goal is three on Boardwalk.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:40 AM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


wcfields: I think there's a rule that you must evenly distribute houses among the monopoly property to prevent someone from front-loading a property quickly to get a hotel right away. Or that you must have houses on all properties before you can place a hotel?

Yes, you have to evenly distribute houses, so you can't put three on Boardwalk without two on Park Place first.

But if you're actually going to follow the rules, one would presume that "no action" would only happen if neither player decided to bid in the auction. However, one doesn't have to play with auction rules.

But if you're going to start doing that, you might as well start putting $500 in Free Parking or something.

Philistines.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:41 AM on June 7, 2010


Also: used to have a very dedicated boardgaming group years back but it was too... friendly, for Monopoly. Sure, it starts out not charging rent for some tangible future reward, then not charging rent for some vague future benefit, then for being let off the last time by that player, and next thing you know you're a frigging commune, trading properties to compile sets to cooperatively develop the neighbourhood.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:43 AM on June 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


Actually, this is kind of a fun idea for all of our favorite board games. I may spend some time pondering this.

Shortest possible game of Candyland with a 4-yr-old goes like this:

Player 1 (my 4yo) draws first, gets a green card, advances to first green square.

Player 2 (me)
draws Ice Cream icon card, advances to Ice Cream square near Finish Line.

Player 1 (my 4yo)
makes angry face, bellows something gutteral containing the word "unfair," sweeps board clean, refuses to continue playing.

Elapsed time: 20 seconds or so.

(She's gotten much better since she turned 5, and since we convinced her that being 5 necessitates abandoning a whole like suite of outmoded "little girl" behaviours.)
posted by gompa at 11:45 AM on June 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


...uh, what if four people play?
posted by From Bklyn at 11:47 AM on June 7, 2010


Therefore proving the theory that some people have too much time.

Think about what website you just typed that on.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:53 AM on June 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think they did this for Diplomacy and found the minimum cost of a game was n-1 friendships, where n is the number of players.

Wow, that's impressive. I've been trying for years to get through a game of Diplomacy at a cost of fewer than n-choose-2 friendships.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:56 AM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


being 5 necessitates abandoning a whole like suite of outmoded "little girl" behaviours.

Yes, we convinced our kids that being 4 means you are practically a grown up and thus required to eat the crusts on your sandwiches.
posted by DU at 11:58 AM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Shortest possible game of Candyland with a 4-yr-old goes like this

My mom recently admitted that she used to stack the deck when we played Candyland to make sure the game ended early with me winning, because before that any time I got the Plumpy card (which sent you all the way back to the beginning) I would totally flip out. I was also never allowed to play Chutes and Ladders (even though we owned it) for similar reasons. And Monopoly has been banned family-wide for as long as I can remember (that one wasn't my fault, it's just a terrible game and nobody wanted to sit through it anymore).
posted by burnmp3s at 11:59 AM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Not related to the speedrun of the video game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GlH6qW-c3I
posted by LSK at 12:03 PM on June 7, 2010


I was once caught stacking the deck to make sure I'd get Queen Frostine on the third turn (after all, getting it on the first turn would just be suspicious), but I was two so it was just funny.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:05 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


See also the tool-assisted speedrun of NES Monopoly, which does use the official rules about auctions of unbought properties. It still ends after 2 turns for each player but uses a different monopoly to bust player 2.
posted by shadow vector at 12:10 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


The shortest game of Diplomacy:

Friend: Hey, would you like to play Diplomacy?

Me: Sure!

Friend: *turns to go get the box out of the closet*

Me: *stabs friend in back of neck with knitting needle*
posted by darkstar at 12:23 PM on June 7, 2010 [23 favorites]


I love the Monopoly vs. Monopoli comment. The funny thing about the oral-tradition rules is that they all seem to have been created for the express purpose of making the game take longer. That's the opposite of any other board game, where seasoned players will institute certain shortcuts to make the game shorter, or to get to the good part sooner.

Another real Monopoly rule that no one has mentioned: there's a finite number of houses and hotels. You can't use pennies when you run out.

At its worst, Monopoli isn't a game anymore at all, but a weird attempt at simulating life as a real estate broker. It's like playing house.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:25 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


They forgot to smash Rik over the head with the bank
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:27 PM on June 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Me: *stabs friend in back of neck with knitting needle*

War is a continuation of Diplomacy™ using other means.
posted by Babblesort at 12:36 PM on June 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Player 1 (my 4yo) makes angry face, bellows something gutteral containing the word "unfair," sweeps board clean, refuses to continue playing.

"Computers may surpass humans in intelligence or even creativity, but our unique ability to throw a good temper tantrum will forever ensure human Candyland superiority."
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:41 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Pfft, big deal. A monopoly board has what, 49 squares? Board games present the kind of combinatorics problems that only infants are stupid enough to ponder.

Summer is here. The birds are singing, the flowers are in full bloom, hems are rising and necklines plunging.

What I want to see is the shortest possible game of Hide and Seek.

And not some clever Williamsburg hipster irony like the Hider seeks the Seeker or some other emo bullshit. I want the de minimis Hide and Seek game as dictated by the laws of physics - not as dictated by some fixie-riding, Vampire Weekend fanboy Brooklynite.

So take off that trucker cap and let's get our learn on, Jamie Escalante-style.

1. We can assume, and you should assume, that the smallest possible move in Hide and Seek is exactly one Planck length (ℓP), which equals 1.616252(81)×10−35 meters.

2. The game begins when the Seeker starts counting. Now, I know a lot of people hold a lot of new and fancy ideas about Hide and Seek starting then the Seeker finishes counting, but let me tell you, I've seen a few of those people wearing stripey pants like a fucking asshole, so I think we can safely say that the matter is firmly closed. And the Seeker counts to 30, not 60 or 10. Jesus Christ, a ten-second count? What's the matter, those skinny jeans are so tight you can't make it around the corner to find your idiot NYU classmate who still thinks its funny to hide behind the mailbox and make R2-D2 noises?

3. Now it gets tough. You might want to grab onto your beard for this next part. A maximum foot speed of S meters per second will define the largest possible Hide and Seek gamespace volume, V.

4. "But the Hider can't go underground or in the air, so isn't the game really played in an area?" Hey Fuckstick, this isn't Prime Minister's Questions. Put an argyle sock in it and mind your business. Here's a clue: you know who likes to play Hide and Seek? Usain Bolt. And neutrinos.

5. The volume of V is not 4/3*pi*(30*S)^3. You might think that, but I've already told you what I think about your fancy ideas and your egg creams and such. It suffices to say, "Bite me."

5a. even based on that pedestrian calculation, the number of possible positions of the hider in the game volume is (4/3*pi*(30*S)^3)/ℓP.

6. To calculate the proper Hide and Seek game volume V, we need to take into account two things. First: time dilation. When I'm getting my Hide on, I'm not relying on the Seeker's one one-thousand, two one-thousand bullshit to keep accurate time. I hit up NORAD for some atomic clock time. Oh, you think that was 30 seconds do you? Cesium decay says 24 seconds, bitch. So close those eyes and get yourself a-counting, because I'm calling do over on the whole fucking enterprise.

6a. Because Hider keeps his own clock, and because there is a nonzero probability that Hider is a neutrino or Usain Bolt, you have to assume that the Hider's thirty seconds moving at S is different than 30 seconds for the Seeker, who like all hipsters is at rest. Because at the end of the 30 seconds, the hider stops moving, the volume bounding the the game is based not on 30 seconds but on on 30/(sqr(1-S^2/c^2)), which depending on S defines a much larger volume.

Now that you have finished your fourth PBR and we have calculated the proper time dilation, we can divide the gamespace into a finite number of positions. From here it is a simple matter to calculate the fastest and shortest routes for searching for Hider at all of these positions, a la the Traveling Salesman.

7. But further complicating this is the fact that Hider, you know, Hides. The definition of hide is to place oneself where one cannot be seen, where one cannot be observed. But if Hider can't be observed by Seeker when he is hidden, say behind a tree or god forbid in some sort of cat box, then the question becomes whether Hider is said to be found until the object he hid himself under, behind, within, is displaced. If we assume that the object in question is not limited to trees or cat boxes but may also include houses or neutron stars, then there becomes a further issues of observation being impeded or at least occluded by spacetime warping due to gravity. But I see we're out of time, so put your Chuck Taylors back on and get the hell out of my classroom. There's liquor what needs drinkin.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:46 PM on June 7, 2010 [47 favorites]


Shortest possible game of Candyland with a 4-yr-old goes like this...
Player 1 (my 4yo) makes angry face, bellows something gutteral containing the word "unfair," sweeps board clean, refuses to continue playing.

Elapsed time: 20 seconds or so.
posted by gompa at 2:45 PM on June 7


Might I suggest a nice quiet game of High Stakes Candyland?
posted by Pastabagel at 12:50 PM on June 7, 2010


“Mornington Crescent!”
posted by erniepan at 12:52 PM on June 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


Actually, this is kind of a fun idea for all of our favorite board games. I may spend some time pondering this.

Yes, this is a well known idea in Game Theory, known as Misère. The Wikipedia entry on this subject is quite poor, but most other web info strays into heavy combinatorial math, so I won't recommend anything. Math geeks will be able to select their own materials, once they know this term.

Just as an example, in Chess, the "Fool's Mate" is an example of an optimal Misère game. There are many interesting things you can deduce from playing a game to its fastest loss. Well, interesting if you're a math geek, I suppose.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:55 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Damn you erniepan! Beat me to it.
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:55 PM on June 7, 2010


I once came very close to the fastest possible loss in Pandemic. We lost in 5 turns, having shuffled the infection deck to place all the red cities at the top. It took significantly longer to set the game up than to play it.
posted by jeather at 1:00 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of some charts I saw 35 years ago on the probability of landing on each square . (can't remember where, but it was well before the 1996 S.A. article mentioned). I seem to recall doing some Fortran programming to print that out along with other pertinent information. Do the rule of Monopoly allow you to bring a cheat-sheet?
posted by MtDewd at 1:05 PM on June 7, 2010


In Chess, the player playing white could be so overcome by the other player's, for lack of a better term, shit-talk that they resign before making any moves. Which is much faster than Fool's Mate.

Also, if it's a timed game, they could fail to make a move before their flag falls, in which case they also lose without having made any moves.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:06 PM on June 7, 2010


Fastest possible Ticket To Ride game, assuming two players, using the TtR Europe board:
You have 45 trains to start. Game ends when someone gets to 2 or less left. The minimum routes you can lay down to use all your trains:
1 x 8-train route
2 x 6
6 x 4
So you need 9 laying-down-trains turns to lay down 44 of your 45 trains. But first you need your cards - a total of 44. You'll need a couple of locomotives for one of the 6-train routes on the Europe board, but assuming you stack the deck that's not an issue. 44 cards takes 22 turns to collect at two cards a turn.

So 22 turns of picking up cards, and 9 turns to lay down your trains. Game over in 31 turns for you plus 31 turns for the other player, plus the final player's final turn - 63 turns.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:39 PM on June 7, 2010


I wonder what the shortest Blokus game would be? Is it best to try to minimize moves for yourself or to minimize moves for other players? Hmmm...
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:00 PM on June 7, 2010


DO IT WITH SCRABBLE. NOW.
posted by tigrefacile at 2:01 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I watched Word Wars, and at the end they had some sort of blurb about one of the guys having the "record for fastest win" or something like that, and I remember it being around "91seconds". I was unable to find any data to back this up, and I'm probably mis-remembering the quotes. But if someone could dig that up, I suspect it would be a good starting point for fastest Scrabble game.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:24 PM on June 7, 2010


Fastest Catan with no trading and no robbing:

Town #1: Brick, Wood, Wheat; Town #2: Ore, Wheat, Wool (starting cards). Settlements are 5 spaces away with starting roads facing each other. You are player 1. 3-player game.

Rolls and their effects and your VP's:

1. Wheat/none/2 VP
2. Ore
3. Ore
4. Brick/Build City: Town #2 becomes City/3 VP
5. Wood
6. Brick
7. Wood/Build 2 roads/3
8. Brick
9. Wood
10. 2xWheat/Build 1 road & longest road/5 VP
11. 2x Wool
12. 2xOre
13. 2xWheat/Buy 2 development cards and get Market & Parliament Victory cards/ 7 VP
14. 2x Wool
15. 2xOre
16. 2xWheat / Buy 2 development cards and get University & Chapel Victory cards/ 9 VP
17. 2x Wool
18. 2xOre
19. (anything)/ Buy 1 development cards and get Library Victory card/ 10 VP!
posted by yeti at 2:26 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would be interested to see the fastest possible Risk game.

Ten or fifteen years ago, Risk was being sold with a variant game, possibly now no longer produced: Castle Risk. It was like Risk in its general outline, save that (1) it was played on a map of Europe, not the whole world, and (2) each player had a castle that, as I recall, acted somewhat as a territory inside a territory. You could place armies there, and as long as your castle was still in play, you were still in the game. On the other hand, it meant that all you really had to do was to overwhelm an enemy's castle to eliminate that player.

I once hauled it out for a group of six players. The first game, three of the players did not get a second turn. The second game, two of us (including me) did not get a first turn, having been wiped out before it even got round to us.

There was no third game.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:39 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


For Puerto Rico, it'd probably involve all the players buying three-circle production buildings then picking Mayor. The game ends at the end of a round when supply can't meet a colonist draw, and colonists are supplied to the colonist ship accround to how many empty building circles there are. However, those circles would then get filled up with the colonists, reducing future colonist-producing potential, unless there were plantations to soak them up.

I'm almost tempted to figure this out. Almost.
posted by JHarris at 2:42 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now, just looking at the Mythos cards and assuming the players aren't doing anything to help themselves and the Ancient One drawn is Azathoth, it seems you can lose a 2-player game of Arkham Horror in 5 rounds (10 turns):

Round One:
- Mythos card: any that does not release 2 monsters into the streets or open a gate at the Unvisited Isle
- Effect: 1 monster added to the town, a gate is opened
Total monsters: 1

Round Two:
- Mythos card: "The Terrible Experiment"
- Effect: Rumor - starts with 5 monsters, one is added at the end of each Mythos phase, when this card has 8 monsters on it, the terror level increases to 10 and the monsters are released into the streets, a gate is opened at the Unvisited Isle
Total monsters: 2
Terrible Experiment counter: 5 monsters

Round Three:
- Mythos card: any that does not release monsters into the streets or cause a gate surge
- Effect: 1 monster added to the town, a gate is opened
Total monsters: 3
Terrible Experiment counter: 6 monsters

Round Four:
- Mythos card: any that does not release monsters into the streets or cause a gate surge
- Effect: 1 monster added to the town, a gate is opened
Total monsters: 4
Terrible Experiment counter: 7 monsters

Round Five:
- Mythos card: any that removes a certain type of monster from the town such that 3 are removed and does not cause a gate surge
- Effect: 1 monster added to the town, 3 monsters removed from the town, a gate is opened
Total monsters: 2
Terrible Experiment counter: 8 monsters

Now, the Terrible Experiment card adds 8 monsters to the town, bringing the total up to 10 monsters, which is twice the limit of monsters for a 2 player game, thus awakening Azathoth. Then, everybody loses.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 2:52 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I read all of Pastabagel's hide and seek comment and couldn't stop reading Hider as Hitler, which made it quite surreal.

6a. Because Hider keeps his own clock...
posted by knapah at 2:53 PM on June 7, 2010


(Though somehow I feel there's probably a way to lose in fewer rounds.)
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 2:54 PM on June 7, 2010


and couldn't stop reading Hider as Hitler

I had the same problem. I just expected Hitler to be there.
posted by jeffamaphone at 3:27 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, a way to lose a 5 player game of Arkham Horror in one round (5 turns) with Azathoth again being the Ancient one:

Round One:
- Starting Mythos card: any that does not open a gate at The Witch House, Independence Square, The Unnamable, or the Woods
Total gates: 1
- Movement phase: Players 1 through 4 go to the Woods, Witch House, Independence Square and The Unnamable. Player 5 does whatever.
- Encounter phase: Players 1 through 4 each draw the encounters at their locations that open gates. Player 5 does whatever (so long as it doesn't close a gate).
Total gates: 5
- Mythos card: any that does not cause a surge
Total gates: 6

With 6 open gates in a 5 player game, Azathoth awakens. And everyone loses.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:31 PM on June 7, 2010


Potentially quickest canonical D&D game: S1 - Tomb of Horrors?
posted by darkstar at 4:05 PM on June 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Tournament SCRABBLE rules are that if 6 turns pass without anyone scoring any points (due to either passing, having their play challenged off, or exchanging tiles), the game ends. This isn't an edge-case rule -- there are legitimate situations where no tiles are playable (the smallest such arrangement is an interesting problem). So pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass is the fastest possible SCRABBLE game (you'd only be able to bingo off 42 of the 100 tiles by actually trying to play words).

91 seconds for a tournament win is excellent, but online games where you don't have to write anything down can be even much faster. I hit 489 points in an online game while only using 1:42 of clock time and I'm hardly Maven.
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:09 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: I just expected Hitler to be there.
posted by educatedslacker at 4:17 PM on June 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Potentially quickest canonical D&D game: S1 - Tomb of Horrors?
posted by darkstar at 4:05 PM on June 7 [+] [!]

Ten seconds. "... nine.... and ten. The solid plug of stone slams down, trapping you all inside the false entrance to Acererak's TOMB of HORRORS, with the sole exception of Gwendleponk Hoddypuff the Gnome thief/illusionist, who is crushed to a fine paste under the stone. All your subsequent efforts to escape are in vain.

Your bones are discovered by adventurers in a hundred years, who wonder what might have led to your demise... but ... what is that grinding noise?"
posted by Sebmojo at 4:22 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: Canonical Fun Expungency
posted by boo_radley at 4:39 PM on June 7, 2010


The shortest game of Counter Strike is typically the length of time between hitting connect and 30 seconds into loading the map, after the program downloads 700 quake .wav files because the person running the server is a goddamn idiot.
posted by hellojed at 5:07 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Monopoly: Azathoth awakens. And everyone loses.

Out of the unimaginable blackness beyond the gangrenous glare of that cold flame, out of the Mediterranean leagues through which there flopped rhythmically in turn a horde of tame, trained, hybrid tin things that no sound eye could ever wholly grasp, or sound brain ever wholly remember. They were not altogether dogs, nor top hats, nor irons, nor race cars, nor wheel barrows, nor decomposed human beings, but something I cannot and must not recall.

They recklessly lurched through random dimensions of no sane or wholesome color and became powerful and insolent in building their chromatic perversion driven on by blind gods of great power and, so far as the human point of view is concerned, exceptional malignancy.

"Illinois Avenue -- Water Works -- Park Place --- Short Line -- Community Chest --" The poor fellow was chanting the familiar properties of the board that dominated our peaceful native soil, to me the ritual had neither irrelevance nor home feeling. It had only horror, because I knew unerringly the monstrous, nefandous analogy that had suggested it.

That Rich Uncle Pennybags should ever have studied finance and real estate was a mistake. These things should be left to the frigid and impersonal investigator, for they offer two equally tragic alternatives to the man of feeling and action; despair if he fail in his quest to gain a hotel, and terrors unutterable and unimaginable if he succeed.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:15 PM on June 7, 2010 [13 favorites]


I was going to suggest that the shortest game of 8-ball (billiards) would be when you scratch on the break. That's the way we always played it at home, growing up, anyway. But I've just now learned that isn't canonical. The formal rules state that it's simply a foul leading to loss of turn.

Then I thought that it might be sinking the 8-ball on the break, which was another way we always played that you could lose. But that, too, is not a game loser according to the rules.

So it seems that the shortest game of 8-ball would be on the second shot, if either player sinks the 8-ball when it's not the legal object ball.
posted by darkstar at 5:29 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hmm, I always played that 8-ball on the break was insta-win. What do the canonical rules say; spot it?
posted by jeffamaphone at 5:49 PM on June 7, 2010


Spot or re-break. Huh.
posted by jeffamaphone at 5:51 PM on June 7, 2010


The fastest possible Scrabble game where tiles have actually been played:
		     (J)
		    J U S
		      S O X
		       (X)U
That's four turns (two per player), followed by three passes per player.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 6:03 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


You're right, jeffamaphone, that's how we played it, too (as an insta-win). Momentary memory lapse on my part.
posted by darkstar at 6:20 PM on June 7, 2010


Using the auction rule there can be a much quicker game:
Player A lands on a property first go, declines to buy it.
Player B bids all of their money, buys the property.
Player B lands on income tax first go.
posted by unliteral at 6:48 PM on June 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


Magic has long had a series of "interesting" 1-turn wins (where player 2 doesn't even get a turn). The original classic was always a variation on: Black Lotus, Channel, Fireball + 1 additional mana source (maybe just a Mountain, for example). 2 to activate channel, 1 for fireball, X=20 --- 3 mana from BL, 1 from land, 19 from life through channel. But there are many of these, some quite convoluted.

In this Monopoly game, "no action" is only an error if you don't read it as a shortcut for "Auction: no one bids", which is perfectly legal. Property must go to auction, no one is required to bid on it however. And in this case, neither player would benefit from bidding on any of the passed properties.
posted by wildcrdj at 6:55 PM on June 7, 2010


I think I can knock a few turns off yeti's Catan solution.

Consider the following grid for a 3 -player game, with Catan numbering:
            ?   ____   ?
           ____/9  ?\____               
      ____/12 ?\____/10 ?\____
    ?/ D  \____/5  G\____/8  ?\?
     \____/6  ?\____/4  G\____/
     /11 O\____/11 O\____/3  ?\
    O\____/3  ?\____/9  ?\____/?
     /4  S\____/10 ?\____/6  ?\
     \____/8  ?\____/2  ?\____/
         ?\____/5  ?\____/? 
               \____/  
                  ?
Here B is Brick, W is Wood, G is Wheat(Grain), O is Ore, and S is Wool(Sheep). We mark a 2:1 ore port with an O, the desert with a D, and all other spaces whose underlying type is unimportant with a question mark.

Player #1, our eventual winner, plays his Town #1 at the intersection of the 11, 4, and the ore port; he plays his second town at the intersection of the 11, 4, and 5, and starts with an ore and two wheat. His roads are both on the horizontal lines leading out of the settlements. He goes first.
Turn    Roll    P#1 cards           Action                VP afterward  P#1 cards afterward
  0      -        OGG                -                          2          - 
  1      11       OOOGG             Town #2 --> City            3         None 
  2      5        GG                 -                          3          - 
  3      11       OOOGG              -                          3          - 
  4      5        OOOGGGG           Town #1 --> City            4          GG 
  5      11       OOOOGG             -                          4          - 
  6      4        OOOOGGGGSS         -                          4          - 
  7      11       OOOOOOOOGGGGSS    OOOOOO->WBB at 2:1,         6          WBBGG 
                                     2 VP Dcards drawn
  8      4        WBBGGGGSS          -                          6          - 
  9      11       OOOOWBBGGGGSS      -                          6          - 
  10     11       OOOOOOOOWBBGGGGSS OOOOOO->WWB at 2:1,         10         GG 
                                     2 VP Dcards drawn, 
                                     Build 3 roads for LR
You could do variants on this, too---making rolls 2 and 4 both be 4s, for example, for the extra sheep, and subsequently drawing a road-building card on turn 7 to play on turn 10 in place of buying materials for roads. If anyone can knock it down to 7 with no trading/robbing, I'd be curious to see.
posted by Upton O'Good at 7:33 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


My little sister's friend's mother once yelled at her because my sister insisted that in Candyland there was a rule that you could ignore any card that forced you to go back more than 10 spaces. Guess whose fault that was?

I mean, come on. A Plumpy drawn when you're past Queen Frostine effectively doubles the length of a game that's at best tedious. More so when you're a six-year-old playing with a three-year-old. I stand by my alteration of the game's rules and will likely teach my children the same.

I LOVE that one of the guys in that video shouts "I'll take it!"
posted by little light-giver at 7:51 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Reading the Wikipedia article on CandyLand may be more satisfying, then, little light-giver:
The rules for the modern game also specify that a character card resulting in a backward move can be ignored, resulting in a much shorter game if desired. Some of the characters and place names were changed in 2002. Queen Frostine became Princess Frostine, the classic Molasses Swamp was changed to Chocolate Swamp, and the character Plumpy was removed entirely.
Though I must say, the demotion of Queen Frostine seems rather sad (and anti-alliterative). And anyone who's ever adventured in the Molasses Swamp knows it's far, far more treacherous than the Chocolate Swamp ever was.
posted by darkstar at 8:01 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Er, Wiki link here.
posted by darkstar at 8:03 PM on June 7, 2010


Actually, rolling snake eyes and picking up 'You have won second prize in a beauty contest' is the quickest way to lose.
posted by doublehappy at 11:11 PM on June 7, 2010


First person to count the variations of

"shortest possible game of x:
turn i) shoot opponent's face"

in this thread

gets a cookie
posted by tehloki at 12:14 AM on June 8, 2010


Hey, Upton O'Good, yeti: here's a 9-move 4-player game of Catan.
town #1: 11-Ore, 5-Sheep, Port-Ore
town #2: 11-Ore, 5-Grain, ?-Grain

turn    roll            cards             action              VP   cards left
0       -               OGG               -                   2    -
1       11 (+OO)        OOOGG             town #2 -> city     3    none
2       5 (+GGS)        GGS               -                   3    -
3       11 (+OOO)       OOOGGS            -                   3    -
4       5 (+GGS)        OOOGGGGSS         -                   3    -
5       11 (+OOO)       OOOOOOGGGGSS      town #1 -> city,    4    OOGS
                                          draw 1 road card
6       5 (+GGSS)       OOGGGSSS          -                   4    -
7       11 (+OOOO)      6O, 3G, 3S        -                   4    -
8       5 (+GGSS)       6O, 5G, 5S        -                   4    -
9       11 (+OOOO)      10O, 5G, 5S       draw 4 VP cards,    10   OOGS
                                          play 1 road card,
                                          trade OOOO->BW to
                                          build 5th road
There's still some looseness; maybe someone can improve it...
posted by equalpants at 12:45 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


A couple of good solutions working around the auction problem are posted in the comments to the linked article. They might take longer because purchases are going on, but I'll trade that for fewer turns, which is what they've achieved.
posted by nthdegx at 12:59 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fastest Catan:

"Wanna play Settlers?"
"Sure. We paid a fortune for it, so it'd be a shame to only play it once."
"I build a road. Got any sheep?"
"How much do you think we'd get for this on eBay?"

Fastest Illuminati:

Mr Obiwanwasabi: "What are you kids playing?"
Kids: Illuminati!
Mr Obiwanwasabi: What, like freemasons? Not in this God-fearing house!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:52 AM on June 8, 2010


Thank you all very much. I came to this thread, weary from the rigors of yet another I/P discussion, and found wit, humor, intelligence and good will. I must come here more often.
posted by vac2003 at 3:03 AM on June 8, 2010


When I was a kid, me and another kid played monopoly all day for three days. THREE DAYS MAN! Three days of fun and music and nothing BUT fun and music!

After 3 days we both had like $150,000 each. We'd both made so much money we'd both become bankers. We had so much money, nothing the game could throw at us could hurt us any more. We were Monopoly immortals.

Never played the game again.
posted by Twang at 4:30 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


@vac2003 "I came to this thread, weary from the rigors of yet another I/P discussion, and found wit, humor, intelligence and good will."

Beginner's luck!
posted by Twang at 4:32 AM on June 8, 2010


Step 1) Player 1 is declared the winner.
Step 2) There is no step 2.

(This is under a modified ruleset where Player 2 is always the loser.)


This sounds like half the games I played with my sister when I was little.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:57 AM on June 8, 2010


"shortest possible game of x:
turn i) shoot opponent's face"


Actually, in Diplomacy, the whole point of the game is to surprise stab your friend in the back of the neck with a knitting needle. Well, metaphorically speaking, anyway.

Doing it immediately just shortcuts to the endgame and the loss of a friend that is inevitable.
posted by darkstar at 9:47 AM on June 8, 2010


Could the Catan game be shortened by using 5 or 6 players, since the rules allow the "Special Building Phase" at the end of each player's turn, in which any player can either build or purchase development cards?
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:25 PM on June 8, 2010


equalpants, the four-player solution is very nice.

The Great Big Mulp, you're right, the game can be shortened to (at least) 8 turns by using the Special Building Rules. To be fair, you should switch to a 5-6 player board, though, which has a different setup. The position we use is equivalent to the one on the smaller board: Town #1 has an ore(3), a sheep(6), and an ore port, and Town #2 has an ore(3), and two wheat(2,6). We'll build the road straight up to connect them.
                      
                     ____
                ____/4   \____ 
           ____/6   \____/5   \____
      ____/3   \____/12  \____/2   \
     /9   \____/D   \____/11  \____/          
     \____/D   \____/12  \____/10  \
     /8   \____/3  O\____/9   \____/ 
     \____/10  \____/6  G\____/8   \
     /11  \____/2  G\____/5   \____/
     \____/5   \____/9   \____/4   \
     /11  \____/4   \____/8   \____/
     \____/10  \____/3  O\____/
          \____/6  S\____/  
               \____/O 
                   


Turn    Roll         P#1 cards           Action         VP afterward  P#1 cards afterward
0       -               OGG               -                    2          -
1       3 (+OO)         OOOGG             Town #2 -> city      3          none
2       6 (+GGS)        GGS               -                    3          -
3       3 (+OOO)        OOOGGS            Town #1 -> city      4          S
4       6 (+GGSS)       GGSSS             -                    4          -
5       3 (+OOOO)       OOOOGGSSS         Draw 1 RB Dcard      4          OOS
                                          Draw 1 VP Dcard
6       6 (+GGSS)       OOGGSSS           -                    4          -
7       3 (+OOOO)       OOOOOOGGSSS       Draw 2 VP Dcard      4          OOOOS
8       3 (+OOOO)       OOOOOOOOS         OOOOOO->BWG at 2:1   10         O
                                           BW -> road,
                                           RB + road -> LR
                                           Draw 1 VP Dcard &
                                           play all 4 VP card

If this is a 5-player game, then the winner goes third. If this is a 6-player game, then the winner goes second. (The requirement is that it has to be the player's turn when he plays the big pile of development cards at the end.)

By the way, if you allow robbing but no trading, you can get it down to 7 turns with appropriate placement of the opponent's settlements and a slight modification of the board:
            ?   ____   ?
           ____/9  ?\____               
      ____/12 ?\____/10 ?\____
    ?/ D  \____/5  G\____/8  ?\?
     \____/6  ?\____/4  O\____/
     /11 S\____/11 G\____/3  ?\
    O\____/3  ?\____/9  ?\____/?
     /4  O\____/10 ?\____/6  ?\
     \____/8  ?\____/2  ?\____/
         ?\____/5  ?\____/? 
               \____/  
                  ?

Turn    Roll      P#1 cards           Action                VP afterward  P#1 cards afterward
  0      -          OGG                -                          2          - 
  1      4 (+OO)    OOOGG             Town #2 --> City            3         None 
  2      4 (+OOO)   OOO                 -                         3          - 
  3      4 (+OOO)   OOOOOO              -                         3          - 
  4      11 (+GGS)  OOOOOOGGS         Town #1 --> City            4         None
                                       OO->G at 2:1
                                       1 Monopoly Dcard drawn
  5      4 (+OOOO)  OOOO                -                         4          - 
  6      11 (+GGSS) OOOOGGSS            -                         4          - 
  7      11 (+GGSS) OOOOGGGGSSSS      Monopoly for 12 O           10        None
                                       12 O -> 3B 3w 
                                        -> 3 roads for LR
                                       4 VP Dcards drawn
Requires 12 O from other players; to get this, you need settlements at three of the four open spots around the two 4-hexes. (This is why the resource placement was switched--you can't get 12 ore in four rolls on the previous board without settlements breaking the longest road.)
posted by Upton O'Good at 4:06 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mulp's Arkham Horror solutions are unsatisfying because they rely on some of that game's rulehacks to work around situations like the monsters getting out of hand or too many gates open, which allows misere players to bypass the doom track entirely. The Ancient One can even awaken by the players simply hording too many gate or monster trophies. (By the way, the minimum number of players in an Arkham Horror game is actually 1.)

For the record, the shortest game of Carcassonne is the same length as the longest, because it's of fixed length.

The shortest game of Nuclear War is, I believe, in a two player game, when one player draws little population then is wiped out by drawn Secret cards before the first turn even happens. Assuming no Secrets are drawn, it's the number of players + 1 turns long. First player plays a Saturn rocket, other players can do whatever, then first player plays the biggest warhead but gets the "end of the world" result on the spinner.

Paranoia's shortest possible game has probably happened in actual play.
posted by JHarris at 2:06 AM on June 9, 2010


My solution for making Candyland faster and more tolerable was to play the "Go Fish" version:

Each player is dealt 5 cards. The first player asks any other player, "Do you have any [color]?" If the player has any reds or whatever the first player asked for, she must give them all to the first player, who then plays all the reds from both hands and moves forward that many red squares.
posted by straight at 8:31 AM on June 9, 2010


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