Simplified Scale Game Nov 3, 2021 | 2 minutes

Simplified Scale Game

As I’m exploring machine learning, I have found it helpful to have a simple game I can use as a context in which to test ideas. This blog post describes one such game. I call it the “Scale Game”. The version I’m going to describe is the simplified version of the game.

The game works as follows:

  • There are two players (players ‘a’ and ‘b’)
  • Each player in the game gets one turn
  • Each player makes his/her turn simultaneously (at least without knowledge of the other player’s move)
  • Each player starts with ten marbles and ten dollars
  • Each marble weighs one unit
  • Each player chooses how many marbles of his/her marbles to place on his/her side of the scale
  • It costs one dollar to put a marble on the scale
  • The player with the most weight on the scale is the winner
  • If there’s a winner, he/she gets one hundred dollars
  • In case of a tie, the players split the one hundred dollars (getting fifty each)

Encoded in Python, this game could look like:

from typing import Optional, Tuple

starting_marbles = 10
starting_money = 10

def calculate_payout(player_a_move, player_b_move) -> Tuple[int]:
    money = ((starting_marbles - player_a_move), (starting_marbles - player_b_move))
    if player_a_move > player_b_move:
        return (money[0] + 100, money[1])
    elif player_a_move < player_b_move:
        return (money[0], money[1] + 100)
        return (money[0] + 50, money[1] + 50)

def find_winner(player_a_money, player_b_money) -> Optional[str]:
    if player_a_money > player_b_money:
        return 'a'
    elif player_b_money > player_a_money:
        return 'b'

def get_marbles_to_place() -> int:
    """Determine how many numbers to play."""
    # these values are just demonstrative... we'll update them later
    player_a_marbles = 5
    player_b_marbles = 10

    return player_a_marbles, player_b_marbles

def play():
    player_a_move, player_b_move = get_marbles_to_place()
    player_a_payout, player_b_payout = calculate_payout(player_a_move, player_b_move)
    victor = find_winner(player_a_payout, player_b_payout)

    if victor is not None:
        print(f'And the winner is: player {victor.upper()}')
        print(f'It\'s a tie!')


In future posts, we’ll explore some ways to programmatically play this game.

© 2021 Floyd Hightower

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About me

Welcome! I’m Floyd Hightower.

I am a programmer who is passionate about making the world a better place using technology.


Life Principles

Here are some of the principles I try apply to every area of my life:

  • Let your ideas see the light of day
  • Always be willing to accept feedback and criticism (even when it is poorly delivered)
  • Rome ne s’est pas faite en un jour (Rome wasn’t built in a day)
  • Don’t be too proud to follow a good example
  • Loose ends always unravel
  • Unanswered questions never go away
  • The Tisroc won’t live forever whether you want him to or not
  • Talk less; listen more
  • Use more semi-colons
  • Use oxford commas
  • Learn how to politely say “No”
  • Don’t let the possibility of failure scare you away from starting something
  • To do something, you have to do something
  • A whiteboard is worth a thousand laptops
  • Ideas have consequences