Origin of the Game
The Tower of Brahma, or the Tower of Hanoi, as it is sometimes called, was the invention of the French mathematician Edouard
Lucas and was sold as a toy in France in 1883.
The legend of the Temple of Benares is also his invention (see History).
This is a great game to get young children (5- or 6-year olds) started and on a par with HopOver.
The original device consists of a base supporting 3 vertical pegs placed in a straight line,
with a conical tower of 8 to 10 disks of the same or indeterminate color.
The tower of disks must be transported from the left peg to the right peg,
(a) moving only 1 disk at a time, and
(b) never placing a disk on a smaller one than itself,
thus always conserving a tower, cone-like, shape.
The middle peg is evidently temporarily employed in the process.
The game is fiendishly difficult with this model.
To see the mathematics involved in the game.
Several things can be done to help the child observe and understand
the mathematical regularities of this game -
(a) Place the pegs preferably in triangular rather than linear form
to clearly observe the direction of the movement of each disk.
(b) Color the odd-numbered disks one color and even-numbered disks another color,
to clearly observe the alternation of colors at all times,
disks of the same color NEVER touching each other.
A detailed pedagogical approach is seen later in the "card model".
Here is an excellent model for starting the kids -
There are only 6 disks.
The game is uncluttered, robust and of bright colors.
The detailed pedagogical approach of the "card model"
is ideally suited to this pedagogical model.
Though not quite as agreable as playing with a board,
colored games can be economically produced with a deck of playing cards.
1. Divide the pack into the four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs).
2. Using the spades and hearts,
interlock the two colors to produce 2 games of alternating colors.
The same can be done with the diamonds and clubs
to produce 4 complete games.
3. Use the King, Queen, and Jack as "pegs", and place them in a triangle,
the Queen a bit behind (farther than) the other two.
4. The numbered cards will be used as disks (from the "10" up to the Ace),
placed over the "pegs" leaving only the top indication showing,
as one does in the "Camfield" Solitaire game.
5. The pile of "disks" will move according to the rules of the Brahma game,
from the King to the Jack.
(a) Have the child start gradually by using only 1 "disk", the "10", placed on the King.
It is simply moved from the King to the Jack.
(b) Then use 2 "disks", the "10" and the "9", placed on the King.
The "9" must be placed on the Queen to liberate the "10".
NOTE the alternation of colors.
The "10" on the Jack
and the "9" on the "10".
(c) Now, use 3 disks, "10", "9", and "8", always placed on the King.
The "8" must be placed on the Jack to liberate the "9".
NOTE the alternation of colors.
The "9" on the Queen,
the "8" on the "9",
the "10" on the Jack,
the "8" on the King,
the "9" on the "10",
and the "8" on the "9".
NOTE the direction of the "disks" -
the "10" and the "8" move counterclockwise,
and the "9" moves clockwise.
(d) Next, use 4 "disks", "10", "9", "8", and "7", always placed on the King.
The child is successffully started !