" />
Search

Keyword

# Chutes and Ladders for the Impatient

Award: George Pólya

Year of Award: 2012

Publication Information: College Mathematics Journal, vol. 42, no. 1, January 2011, pp. 2-8.

Summary (From the MathFest 2012 Prizes and Awards Booklet)

After providing a brief review of the game, the authors extend a Markov chain model that uses the "official" $$1$$-to-$$6$$ spinner to one that uses an arbitrary spinner labeled $$1$$ to $$n$$ in order to understand the relation between spinner range and the expected number of turns for the game. They discover that a spinner with range $$1$$ to $$15$$ will provide the impatient player with the shortest game on average (with an expected length of $$25.81$$ turns). Readers are invited to consider additional variations on their own, and to model other childhood board games, aided by modifiable Maple code provided by the authors.