coin on a table coin on a table  aha:!!! you die and the devil says he'll let you go to heaven if you beat him in a game. the devil sits you down at a round table. he gives himself and you a huge pile of quarters. he says "ok, we'll take turns putting quarters down, no overlapping allowed, and the quarters must rest on the table surface. the first guy who can't put a quarter down loses." the devil says he wants to go first. --- Another solution: you arrange to take the first turn. You CAN put a quarter down but choose not to. The devil cannot put a quarter down because it is not his turn. So the devil loses. If you try the solution of placing at the centre, the devil does not put a quarter down on his turn, and you cannot put a quarter down because it is not your turn so you lose. WanFactory Thursday, February 24, 2005 No.  I'll elaborate the rules a bit: The first person who can not place a quarter, when it is their turn, will lose. You're just lengthening the turn of the prior player, not forcing the next player to lose.  That is, one cannot lose (be unable to place a quarter when it is their turn) if their turn never comes up. Lou Thursday, February 24, 2005 well, if I was facing the devil and he said "first person who cannot place a quarter" rather than "first person who cannot place a quarter when it is their turn" I certainly would not be making any assumptions. WanFactory Friday, February 25, 2005 By that logic whomever does not start the game will lose automatically. Between the start of the game and when the first coin is played the second player cannot place a coin - therefore they will always lose by your reasoning.  Your example simply makes this starting period "infinitely long" but your reasoning applies to a player taking 5 seconds to place the coin as well. Lou Friday, February 25, 2005 but them - you always lose.  the devil isn't a person....... right? mark jones Sunday, February 27, 2005 whether the devil is a person or not enters the realm of theology. some religions say that God is not a person. Some say God is a person. Some say God is three persons. Some say the devil is a fallen angel. So whether angels are persons seems like a metaphysical question beyond the scope of the problem. but if you always lose, then you cant say that your strategy was bad. so perhaps the second person to go always loses which is why you need to go first. WanFactory Tuesday, March 01, 2005   Fog Creek Home