Match Game is an Alexa skill for the classic memory game, also known as concentration, match up, or pairs.<br/><br/>A memory game typically uses a set of cards. Match Game instead uses a set of boxes or chests with unknown words or phrases in them. Boxes are labled with sequential numbers starting from 1. Try to visualize the arrangement of boxes on a rectangular grid.<br/><br/>You can start a new game by saying "start a game" or "start a game with 20 boxes". The default box count is currently 12. Note that the number of boxes has to be an even number, within a certain valid range (currently, between 6 and 100(!)). If you specify an invalid number, the most reasonable/closest number will be picked instead. (For example, if you specify 9 for the box count, Match Game will automatically use the closest valid number 8 that does not exeed 9.) You can also specify the word category. For example, you can say "start a new game with word category Fruit Names". For a list of valid word categories, you can ask "what are the word categories?" Or, just say, "tell me the list of word categories." If you don't specify a word category, Alexa will pick a random category for you.<br/><br/>You try to open two boxes at the same time by saying, for example, "open box 1 and box 2" or "open boxes 1 and 2". Or, you can say "match boxes 1 and 2" or "match 1 and 2", etc. You can even say "box 1 and box 2" or "boxes 1 and 2". (But, if you just say "1 and 2", Alexa may or may not recognize it. Give it a try.) If the words or phrases in those boxes match, Alexa opens the boxes for you and you get a point according to a predefined rule. The best possible score is 100. Please try your memory skill with Match Game. The goal is to open all boxes with as few tries as possible. Don't be frustrated. It's much harder than it sounds.<br/><br/>Any time during a game, you can ask Alexa for a list of open/known boxes or for a list of remaining/closed boxes. Just say, "give me the list of all open boxes" or "what are the remaining boxes?", etc. You can also ask "what is my score?" with the same result. If you feel like the game is too fast, you can ask Alexa to slow down. Or, you can ask for a timeout. Just say, "I need more time", "more time", or "give me a timeout", etc. If you take a long pause without taking a timeout, the game will end. So, it's important to keep in mind that you should keep talking to Alexa. (But, beware, if you say things that Alexa doesn't understand, she might just end the game.) If you want to start a new game in the middle of an ongoing game, just say things like, "start over", "start again", or "next puzzle", etc. You can also ask Alexa to start a new game with a different box count and/or different word category, etc.<br/><br/>Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.<br/><br/><br/>** Some Simple Math for the Geeks<br/><br/>Suppose that there are N boxes (N can be an even number like 12, 20, etc.).<br/><br/>(1) If you are clairvoyant or if you are a David Blaine, you can solve the memory game puzzle in N/2 tries. That is, for 20 boxes, you will need only 10 tries to open all (matching) pairs of boxes.<br/>(2) If you have a perfect memory, it'll take N tries in the worst case. It'll take N/2 to open all boxes at least once (to see their content), and it'll take another N/2 tries to solve the puzzle. But, you might get lucky once in a while and it may take less than N, that is, the actual number will be somewhere between N/2 and N. For a puzzle with 20 boxes, it'll take 10~20 tries if you have a photographic memory (or, a "phonographic memory" in this case).<br/>(3) If you don't have any memory skill, or if you are a monkey, then it'll take N(N-1)/2 tries to open ALL possible combinations of two boxes. That is, for a puzzle with 20 boxes, it'll take a (smart) monkey up to 190 tries to solve the puzzle just by trying out random pairs of boxes.<br/><br/>Now, the question is, how fast can _you_ solve a puzzle with 20 boxes?

September 22nd 2017