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Game - Being Rare

Phloeonomus looks at stochasticity

"I hate names that I cannot say!" said Phloeonomus crossly, "what is wrong with scientists. Can't they speak English? I hope you enjoy this game I invented to show you how sto-kas-ti-city works. Please write in and tell me how you enjoyed it." Protea Atlas Logo

"Take two white dice, and colour one die pink and one die blue with a marker pen. You will need a pen and paper. Get a friend to play against you. Both you and your friend each have 14 monkeys: seven boys and seven girls.

- You each throw the two dice in turn and add the number of boys (blue die) and girls (pink die) to your number of monkeys: this is your birth rate.

- Then you throw the two dice in turn again, but this time subtract the numbers (blue for boys and pink for girls): this is your death rate.

- Continue throwing the dice in turn, alternating the birth and death rates.

The winner is the first one to have 30 monkeys, or else the one who still has monkeys when the other has either no boy or no girl monkeys left.

"Your games will not last very long. On average, you will have fourteen monkeys at the end of the game (the average number of births should equal the average number of deaths because you are throwing the same dice!) But you will find that the number of monkeys will change a lot during the game. Also you will have, on average, an equal number of boy and girl monkeys, but I bet you would not think so while playing the game. I bet you never guessed how important stok-as-tici-cici-what-sis-name was. I played with Myrmecos the ant. I won, because Myrmecos had no more boy monkeys! Enjoy yourselves."

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