Many simple games, such as Nim or Connect 4 are solved meaning that there is an unbeatable strategy for the person who either starts, or plays second.

Despite knowing this - People still play these games, why?

  • 3
    And "solved" doesn't necessarily imply anything about what the game is like when you play it. Consider the game of Checkers. It is "solved" in the sense that computers have brute-forced through all possible board states, but it is not feasible for a human to implement that solution during a game and play at a reasonable pace. – murgatroid99 Jan 21 '16 at 4:38
  • "Why do people play solved games?" is a primarily opinion-based question. I play Connect 4 because I think it is fun, but I don't see the value of writing up an answer about why I personally find the game fun. – Rainbolt Jan 22 '16 at 15:02
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    @Rainbolt Unless you find it fun because you just really like red and black circles, the reasons you personally find it fun are likely reasonably rational, and there isn't an endless list of such reasons, so it's useful to mention them (in the vein of user1108's answer, for example). The question isn't "what's the best reason they're fun" or anything; it's fine that there's a decent handful of possible reasons. – Cascabel Jan 22 '16 at 15:34

Here are 3 reasons why I sometimes play solved games:

  1. For the benefit of the other player. I play connect 4 with my 4 year old nephew. The point of the game for me is the bonding part. For him, its bonding, thinking ahead, playing to win and the tactile feedback of playing with the pieces
  2. To find the solution independently. I was introduced to Nim in a mathematics lecture, where the problem was to solve the game and prove the solution works. The point of the 'game' in this context is not to play it at all, but to have a concrete subject matter to apply abstract reasoning to
  3. To add more complexity later. Tic-Tac-Toe on a 3x3 grid is solved, but I'll introduce the 3x3 grid to new players before going to larger grids

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