the game WFF 'n Proof

Is this game interesting? I do not expect that it is fun in the way chess is, or Twister, but say one has taken math and computer science classes, but not a mathematical logic or computability class, will the game teach anything?

My father used to have a WFF 'n Proof set, way back when, and we played the game a few times when I was a young teenager. He trounced me every time, as I recall, and I quickly lost interest. Perhaps I was just a sore loser.

I learned formal logic on my own, and later in my university courses, far better than anything WFF 'n Proof taught me. In particular I read Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach soon after it was first published (1979?), and that may be when lightning struck in my appreciation of the subject. Of course logic is just a small part of the book. Hofstadter rambles on into many other areas besides that, since he’s tackling the entire field of artificial intelligence.

I also have fond memories of Smullyan’s logic puzzle books (What is the Name of this Book?, The Lady and the Tiger, and such). He doesn’t actually cover propositional calculus or theorem proving in them, but he makes logic come alive with entertaining puzzles.

All this is just one person’s anecdotal experience of course. I have nothing against the game, but I personally wouldn’t recommend it as an introduction to logical analysis, especially for kids. Maybe for high school or university students? But how many of them would have the patience for such an abstract game?

I’ve never heard of this game. I’m curious–Could someone please explain, in a nutshell, how the game is played?


I had one in high school, 35 years ago. I agree that it is not a good way of learning logic, since the game deals in symbol manipulation. Perhaps if I had spent the time to read the entire book I might have learned, but I could play without worrying about what was going on.

The first program I ever wrote, in machine language on an LGP-21, was to determine whether a set of characters was a WFF, so I have a fond place for this game in my heart.

One more problem - you need to find another geek to play!

Here’s a link.