# Unused Cycles

## August 3, 2008

### The Gordon Game

Filed under: Mathematics — Tags: , — Kevin @ 11:30 pm

The Gordon game is a game to be played by two people who know a bit about group theory (and by a bit, it’ll suffice to read my introduction to group theory). I found of the game in the book “Adventures in Group Theory: Rubik’s Cube, Merlin’s Magic and Other Mathematical Toys” by David Joyner.

According to the book, the rules are as follows. Take two copies of a set corresponding to the group $(G,\ast)$ and call one $M$ and the other $P$. The rules are then as follows:

1. Player one chooses an element $p_1$ from the group $P$ and $m_1$ from $M$. These can be any element he chooses, and once they are chosen they are removed from the sets $P$ and $M$
2. The next player chooses an element $m_{i+1}$ and $p_{i+1}$ such that $p_{i+1}=m_{i+1}p_{i}$. Both elements are removed from their respective sets.
3. Repeat the previous step. The first player that cannot move loses.

I’ve written a program in C++ that will compile under GCC. The group used here is $\mathbb{Z}/7\mathbb{Z}$, that is, the integers modulo 7. You can download it here, although this link may change after I graduate. I wrote it hastily, so it’s not commented well and it probably has bugs. To compile, use the command

``g++ gordon.cpp -o gordon``

I can compile it fine on OpenSUSE 11.0. There’s no AI yet, so it simply switches between two human players. In the future, I may add support for user-defined groups and possibly some rudimentary AI.

Enjoy!

UPDATE: I updated the program a little bit so that you can make your own groups. As a result, you’ll now need to download the default file, z7z.grp, if you  want to be able to run the program.

1. On the first line, list all of the group elements separated by a space and followed by an exclamation mark.
2. Now just list the multiplication table, with a space between columns and a new line between rows.

For example, the group $\mathbb{Z}/7\mathbb{Z}$ looks like this:

``````0 1 2 3 4 5 6 !
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 2 3 4 5 6 0
2 3 4 5 6 0 1
3 4 5 6 0 1 2
4 5 6 0 1 2 3
5 6 0 1 2 3 4
6 0 1 2 3 4 5``````

To use your new group, pass it on as a command line argument, i.e. run

``./gordon mygroup.grp``

That’s it! Try it with a complicated group, for example a large order dihedral group.