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A Puzzling Situation

Mississippi Queen 1.0

In Mississippi Queen the players are riverboat Captains racing their paddlewheelers down the winding river. Each players turn is simple: Captains may increase or decrease their speed by one (minimum of 1 to a maximum of 6). They then move their boats one hex for each point of movement they selected. These aren't speedboats though, you can only make one 60 degree rotation during your movement so careful planning is a must. Fortunately, you do have some help in that you have a supply of coal which may be used to increase or decrease your speed by one point for each coal spent. You may also spend coal to make extra rotations during your move (one coal for each extra rotation).

e.g. (Refer to the picture below) One possible move for Red would be: Increase to Speed 5, move to hex J, rotate right (that's your "free" rotate), move to hex G, spend one coal to rotate left, move to hex C.

The ultimate object of the game is to be the first to stop at one of three docks and to arrive there with a speed of one. (Note that in the above example Red doesn't win as he's arriving at the dock with a speed of 5. You set your speed only at the start of your turn so Red couldn't then spend 3 coal to reduce his speed to 1 and claim victory.)

Sometimes the race gets a little rough and the Captains bump each other. If you move onto another riverboat it cost 2 points of movement to do so. You then move that Captain to any adjacent hex except the one you just came from. (The moved Captain may orient his boat anyway he chooses after this.)

Finally, turn order is based on where you are in the river: players further ahead always move first. If two players are tied then whoever had the greater speed on the last turn goes first. If they're still tied then whoever is furthest to the starboard side of the river goes forst (that's the right side to you landlubbers).

It's nearing the end of the game with two players contending for the win. Red will be moving first (he's further ahead than Green). The question is who's going to win the race? If played correctly there's a guaranteed win for one of the players. Your challenge is to discover which and what moves that Captain needs to make. (You may use the letters for notation when sending in your solution. If you need to specify a facing use the numbers as per the key.)

Bonus Puzzle 1.1: In the event that the "winning" Captain doesn't make the correct move, what should the other Captain do?


- Greg Aleknevicus

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