Mathematicians love games. Not only can they have fun while looking like they’re busy working, but even the simplest games can demand clever tactics and strategies to win. These are the perfect kinds of problems for solving with maths.
One branch of mathematics, called Combinatorial Game Theory, was developed around 30 years ago specifically to deal with the analysis of games. It prescribes a way of breaking games down into smaller parts that are easier to examine, and then using a special kind of algebra to add up the values of the individual subgames. And if there’s one thing that mathematicians are good at it’s counting.
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