May The Fours Be With You – baron m.

baron m. from thus spake a.k.

Sir R-----! Come join me for a glass of chilled wine! I have a notion that you're in the mood for a wager. What say you?

I knew it!

I have in mind a game of dice that reminds me of my time as the Russian military attaché to the city state of Coruscant and its territories during the traitorous popular uprising fomented by the blasphemous teachings of a fundamentalist religious sect known as the Jedi.

On Fruitful Opals – student

student from thus spake a.k.

Recall that the Baron’s game consisted of guessing under which of a pair of cups was to be found a token for a stake of four cents and a prize, if correct, of one. Upon success, Sir R----- could have elected to play again with three cups for the same stake and double the prize. Success at this and subsequent rounds gave him the opportunity to play another round for the same stake again with one more cup than the previous round and a prize equal to that of the previous round multiplied by its number of cups.

Fruitful Opals – baron m.

baron m. from thus spake a.k.

Greetings Sir R-----. I trust that I find you in good spirits this evening? Will you take a glass of this excellent porter and join me in a little sport?


I propose a game that is popular amongst Antipodean opal scavengers as a means to improve their skill at guesswork.
Opals, as any reputable botanist will confirm, are the seeds of the majestic opal tree which grows in some abundance atop the vast monoliths of that region. Its mouth-watering fruits are greatly enjoyed by the Titans on those occasions when, attracted by its entirely confused seasons, they choose to winter thereabouts.

On Two By Two – student

student from thus spake a.k.

The Baron's most recent wager with Sir R----- set him the challenge of being the last to remove a horizontally, vertically or diagonally adjacent pair of draughts from a five by five square of them, with the Baron first taking a single draught and Sir R----- and he thereafter taking turns to remove such pairs.

When I heard these rules I was reminded of the game of Cram and could see that, just like it, the key to figuring the outcome is to recognise that the Baron could always have kept the remaining draughts in a state of symmetry, thereby ensuring that however Sir R----- had chosen he shall subsequently have been free to make a symmetrically opposing choice.

Two By Two – baron m.

baron m. from thus spake a.k.

Hello there Sir R-----! Come join me by the hearth for a dram of warming spirits! I trust that this cold spell has not chilled your desire for a wager?

Good man! Good man!

I must say that the contrast between the warmth of this fire and the frost outside brings most vividly to my mind an occasion during my tenure as the Empress's ambassador to the land of Oz; specifically the time that I attended King Quadling Rex's winter masked ball during which his southern palace was overrun by an infestation of Snobbles!

On The Octogram Of Seth LaPod – student

student from thus spake a.k.

The latest wager that the Baron put to Sir R----- had them competing to first chalk a triangle between three of eight coins, with Sir R----- having the prize if neither of them managed to do so. I immediately recognised this as the game known as Clique and consequently that Sir R-----'s chances could be reckoned by applying the pigeonhole principle and the tactic of strategy stealing. Indeed, I said as much to the Baron but I got the distinct impression that he wasn't really listening.

The Octogram Of Seth LaPod – baron m.

baron m. from thus spake a.k.

Salutations Sir R-----! I trust that this fine summer weather has you thirsting for a flagon. And perhaps a wager?

Splendid! Come join me at my table!

I propose a game played as a religious observance by the parishioners of the United Reformed Eighth-day Adventist Church of Cthulhu, the eldritch octopus god that lies dead but dreaming in the drowned city of Hampton-on-Sea.
Several years ago, the Empress directed me to pose as a peasant and infiltrate their temple of Fhtagn in the sleepy village of Saint Reatham on the Hill when it was discovered that Bishop Derleth Miskatonic had been directing his congregation to purchase vast tracts of land in the Ukraine and gift them to the church in return for the promise of being spared when Cthulhu finally wakes and devours mankind.

On The Hydra Of Argos – student

student from thus spake a.k.

When the Baron last met with Sir R-----, he proposed a wager which commenced with the placing of twenty black tokens and fifteen white tokens in a bag. At each turn Sir R----- was to draw a token from the bag and then put it and another of the same colour back inside until there were thirty tokens of the same colour in the bag, with the Baron winning a coin from Sir R----- if there were thirty black and Sir R----- winning ten coins from the Baron if there were thirty white.
Upon hearing these rules I recognised that they described the classic probability problem known as Pólya's Urn. I explained to the Baron that it admits a relatively simple expression that governs the likelihood that the bag contains given numbers of black and white tokens at each turn which could be used to figure the probability that he should have triumphed, but I fear that he didn't entirely grasp my point.

The Hydra Of Argos – baron m.

baron m. from thus spake a.k.

Ho there Sir R-----! Will you join me for a cold tankard of ale to refresh yourself on this warm spring evening?

And, might I hope, for a little sport?

I should not have doubted it for a moment sir!

This fine weather reminds me of the time I spent as the Empress's trade envoy to the market city of Argos, famed almost as much for the remarkable, if somewhat fragile, mechanical contraptions made by its artificers and the most reasonably priced jewellery sold by its goldsmiths as for its fashion for tiny writing implements.

On Pennies From Heaven – student

student from thus spake a.k.

Recall that the Baron and Sir R-----'s most recent wager first had the Baron place three coins upon the table, choosing either heads or tails for each in turn, after which Sir R----- would follow suit. They then set to tossing coins until a run of three matched the Baron's or Sir R-----'s coins from left to right, with the Baron having three coins from Sir R----- if his made a match and Sir R----- having two from the Baron if his did.

When the Baron described the manner of play to me I immediately pointed out to him that it was Penney-Ante, which I recognised because one of my fellow students had recently employed it to enjoy a night at the tavern entirely at the expense of the rest of us! He was able to do so because it's an example of an intransitive wager in which the second player can always contrive to make a choice that will best the first player's.