# The Dot Game That Breaks Your Brain

The basic setup of Sprouts is easy: start with any number of dots, then connect them with lines. When a dot has 3 lines coming to or from it, that dot can no longer be played. Lines are not allowed to cross, and the player to draw the last line wins. But the most important rule came from Paterson: every time a player draws a line, he or she gets to add a new dot anywhere on that line. As Conway put it, at that point “sprouts sprouted.”

Despite its simplicity, Sprouts is actually a game teeming with mathematical complexity and depth once it’s played with more than a few dots… and at a certain point, the human brain is overwhelmed by the possibilities. Not only is there no straightforward ‘perfect’ strategy for Sprouts, but the sheer number of ways the game can play out push the limits of microprocessors that attempt to map optimal approaches.

The complex world of Sproutology presents a delicate dance between making the most of surviving dots and engineering your opponent’s failure. Grab a pencil and paper and get ready to break your brain.

SOURCES:

Elwyn R. Berlekamp, John Conway and Richard K. Guy, “Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays”:

Martin Gardner, “Mathematical Carnival”:

World Game of Sprouts Association:

David Applegate, Guy Jacobson, Daniel Sleater: “Computer Analysis of Sprouts”:

Julien Lemoine and Simon Viennot, “A Further Computer Analysis of Sprouts”:

Riccardo Focardi and Flaminia L. Luccio, “A new analysis technique for the Sprouts Game“:

Julien Lemoine and Simon Viennot, “Computer Analysis of Sprouts with Nimbers”:

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Research And Writing by Matthew Tabor

Editing by AspectScience

Huge Thanks To Paula Lieber

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#education #vsauce2

I feel my brain expand

7:48 After I heard this part, I basically stopped the video and roared with laughter for an hour.

Dbdb

XDD ikr

Why play a game when the winner is always known? Like Joshua said in Wargames. The only way to win is to not play…

But why are we trying to compute all possible results of games for all the number of dots?

3:40 to bem tadeu

I just realized that vsauce is left handed

does it supposed to be hard

Turns out this game isn’t that hard… I literally played it in maths (year 7)

He's having way too much fun with his puppet.

You know it is funny how I had just watched the meme where the guy hits the yoda puppet and he has the exact same one.

Sprouts make you fart

I got a better game it's called

I made it up

Did you know that Yoda is worth like $300?

Of course you can play with yourself, I do it all the time

I wish this was on coolmathgames it’s a more of a math game than half the stuff and is perfect for vector graphics

vsauce:r u sweat yet

me:*forgets to on the fan

I love this i played it with my uncle for hoirs on end but he called it "flees" and not sprouts

3:17 yoda has a seizure

Can sprouts be classified as an undecidable problem like Conway's game of life?

Jesse Pinkman thought he was to do a meth video.. but forced to do a math video instead..

Xd master Yoda become master sith

imagine the connect the dots thing at bonefish grill actually hides a secret to the sprouts game

A game starting with 500 dots would probably brick my computer.

So unless we use quantum computers we will probably never reach more than 200 dots

There should be professional sprouting

My idea: make it a 3d game! Surely there is a way to make it fun and complicated

he is unknowingly drawing disfigured baymax faces lol

Yoda is me after a losing streak of 10 in ANY gaming session

2 dots appear

Me: HELP ME I'M SCARED

If you can draw a line from a dot back to itself, then how does Yoda lose?

i had played this game with my friend at i lost a few braincells every round

His first Yoda impression sounded more like Scooby Doo, lol

I must say thanks for the new game for me to play It's pretty nice.

3:14 Yoda finally has a stroke and dies after centuries alive.

YO

Love the Yoda.

When switching back and forth with ‘Yoda’ it looks like you’re ambidextrous.

Why did I laugh so much at the breakdown Yoda had.

3:14

3:34 What did I just watch

first time noticed that kevin is left-handed

My head hurts

lyrics to 3:14 : HA, HUEAGH HHHHEHH.. MMMMMMMMEHEAMHAEMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmMMMMERMEMRGEHEHEGEGEHEHHGHGHGMMMMMMMMMMMM EHAHAHAEAEA HUA HEAHEUAHEUAEGUEHUAEGUAEH lays down* EAHRGEAGEHGREAHRGHAEGRAHGEHGHR, BAAAAA, BAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, BUEAHHAHHHHHHHHH EAHEHEHEEEE EEEHHEHHHAHHHHHH…. EXPLAIN.. WHY I LOST, MMM- YOU MUST..

accepts fate*

Dang Conway made a lot of games.

0:37 the fnaf lore

I love it when his face collapses in on itself

3:14 went one much much much much longer than I would have expected. wow.

teacher: the homework isn't that hard

the homework: memorize this game's tactics