Expert Codebreaker is an implementation for Zillions of a game similar to Mastermind, although more difficult. Digits are used instead of colours. The computer chooses a pattern of five digits. In the standard variant it uses digits 1-6. Duplicates are allowed, so the computer could even choose the same five digits. To invoke a random hidden code, press ‘Start Thinking’. The chosen pattern is placed upmost but hidden to the player. If you give up and want to view the code, press ‘Switch Piece Set’.
The codebreaker must try to guess the pattern, in both order and correct digit, within nine turns. Each guess is made by placing a row of code digits on the decoding board. Once placed, the program provides feedback by placing from zero to five key pegs at the sideboard. A black key peg is placed for each code digit from the guess which is correct in both digit and position; a white peg indicates that a correct digit is placed in the wrong position. The black pegs are always placed leftmost, so there is no correlation of position. Once feedback is provided, another guess is made; guesses and feedback continue to alternate until either the codebreaker guesses correctly, or nine incorrect guesses are made.
Mastermind or Master Mind is a code-breaking board game for two players, invented in 1970 by Mordecai Meirowitz, an Israeli postmaster and telecommunications expert. A similar pencil and paper game, called bulls and cows, was played at least as far back as the early 1960’s (Wikipedia). With 5 positions and 6 digits, there are 65 = 7776 different patterns. The standard version, with variants, has also been implemented (see Codebreaker).
☛ You can download my free Codebreaker program here, but you must own the software Zillions of Games to be able to run it. (I recommend the download version.)
© Mats Winther 2012