# What's this coin game called?

I play this whenever I go drinking. Someone from my chess club taught it to me years ago.

Take sixteen coins, organized like so:

``````    X
XXX
XXXXX
``````

XXXXXXX

You can take as many coins as you like from any single row at a time on your turn. The object of the game is to get your opponent to take the last coin. It’s a sophisticated tic tac toe that gives us something to go with our beers.

Does it have (a) name(s)?

This is close: Nim - Wikipedia

Confirmed: it’s Nim. And there is a trick to winning (which makes it a puzzle, not a game). Force your opponent into the no-win situation of two rows of two.

All games out of a very broad category have a trick to winning. Chess has a trick to winning. Go has a trick to winning. What makes Nim special is that the trick for winning it is known, and is simple enough that a human can apply it at any stage in the game.

Cool! Thanks all.

yes thanks…

If you can take any number of coins on any turn, why not just do this on the first turn every round?

Also, if you force your opponent into two rows of two, what if he takes three coins? Aren’t you forced to take the last one?

You can only take coins from one row.

The rules say that you can take any number of coins from one row – not from more than one row.

Ah, I missed that. Thanks.