October 19, 2007

Continuing on with the rice for hungry people

I constructed a game from the quiz found at freerice.com, as discussed in the preceding post here at the Quotidian (formerly the Diurnal Journal).

Say you may test your vocabulary against however many words you can evaluate in thirty minutes time but must stop play if you fall from Level 50 (judging by languagehat's experience, you will). With best play, how many grains of rice can you accumulate for hungry people?

It would probably be best to read that previous post to get a sense of what the freerice quiz is about, but as for the the description of the game made from it, the statement above is unexceptional. The participant's vocabulary is tested. All who can play to Level 50 and out in thirty minutes time, do, and are discharged from the game. The remainder flounder about for half an hour accumulating more and more correct answers along their longer path to the unachieved goal, Level 50 and out, and then they stop.

The more correct answers necessary to arrive at level 50 and then out, the better for the hungry people waiting on their rice, since correct answers instantly translate into grains of rice for hungry people by the rules of the game.

So best play in this game would be to play for the entire thirty minutes, accumulating scads of correct answers, but choosing some errant definition of the word given in the quiz from time to time instead of plowing with a perfect string of correct answers directly toward the inevitable moment of exit from Level 50 and from the game, an inevitability foretold by languagehat's experience with the quiz and my own.

No one knows all the words. No one knows all the words in the list of them in Level 50 of the quiz, and few know all the words in the list of them in Level 49, and only slightly more know all the words in the list in Level 48.

The path of best play is the longest path that doesn't quite arrive at Level 50, but that extends all the way to the end of the half hour, grabbing up as many correct answers as possible without ever reaching that state where one bad choice ends the game rather that prolongs it.

This game is left as an exercise for the reader.

No comments: