Here is a list to help you find historical data on the various games.
The titles in this list are placed in alphabetical order.
• Hop-Over • Nim • Tower of Brahma (The) •
The Tower Of Brahma
The Canterbury Puzzles
This is where we found what seems to be the very first mention of this kind of puzzle.
The Reve was a wily man and something of a scholar. As Chaucer tells us, "There was no auditor could of him win," and "there
could no man bring him in arrear." The poet also noticed that "ever he rode the hindermost of the route." This he did that
he might the better, without interruption, work out the fanciful problems and ideas that passed through his active brain.
When the pilgrims were stopping at a wayside tavern, a number of cheeses of varying sizes caught his alert eye ; and calling
for four stools, he told the company that he would show them a puzzle of his own that would keep them amused during their
rest. He then placed eight cheeses of varying sizes on one of the end stools, the smallest cheese being on top, as clearly
shown in the illustration. "This is a riddle," qwoth he, "that I did once set before my fellw townsmen at Baldeswell, that
is in Norfolk, and, by Saint Joce, there was no man among them that could rede it aright. And yet it is withal full easy,
for all that I do desire is that, by the moving of one cheese at a time from one stool unto another, ye shall remove all the
cheeses to the stool at the other end without ever putting any cheese on one that is smaller than itself. To him that will
perform this feat in the least number of moves that be possible will I give a draught of the best that our good host can provide."
To solve this puzzle in the fewest possible moves, first with 8, then with 10, and afterwards with 21 cheeses, is an interesting
(Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions, Martin Gardner, Penguin Books, page 24)
Working with 4 stools (pegs) rather than 3, is not recommended for children,
because the minimal-move solution is not as rigorous
as it is with 3 pegs with its alternation of colors.
However, some adults might enjoy working these out.
The Temple of Benares
In the great temple of Benares, so legend has it, are 64 golden disks, all of different sizes and mounted on diamond pegs.
At the time of creation, the god Brahma placed all the disks on one peg, in order of size with the largest on the bottom.
The task of the temple priests is to transfer the disks unceasingly from peg to peg, one at a time, never placing a larger
disk on a smaller one. When all the disks have been transfered the universe will end. (Edouard Lucas, Paris, 1883)
At the rate of one displacement per second, this would take 585 billion years !
(264 - 1) / (60 x 60 x 24 x 365)
This puzzle is also known as Jumping Frog, and, in French, as Jeu des grenouilles or Saute-mouton. It dates from around the turn of the XXth Century and was made in France by Watilliaux of Paris. This puzzle and its solution
were described by Edouard Lucas in !883 and by Professor Hoffmann in 1893.
This puzzle is also known in French as Marienbad because it plays an important role in the film L'année dernière à Marienbad by Alain Resnais, in which four complete games are played, the husband-instigator always winning, as can well be expected.
It is, however, interesting to note that, in the second performance, in which the husband plays with a stranger rather than
with the lover, he makes a serious mistake with which he could very well have lost and made a fool of himself. The stranger,
unfortunately, also makes a bad mistake and the husband wins as usual.