# Fort Boyard - why using a solved game?

In early seasons during the Time Hunt stage they played a game of 20 sticks - a participant played with Maître de jeu and has always been the one to make a first move.

I found out they played a variation of Nim game, which has a pretty simple mathematical solution! Which means that first mover could guarantee a win using a special tactics no matter what the opponent does:

You have to take 3 sticks to leave 17. Then leave 13, 9 and 5. The opponent will have to take 1-3 sticks, which leaves 2-4 to you and you'll take 1-3 to leave the opponent with 1 remaining stick to take. If you're the one to make a first move, the opponent cannot push you into this "17,13,9,5" death row! And your job is simple - to keep him there.

My question is - how the hell did participants manage to lose this game occasionally during multiple seasons?!

Added: Simpler and more straightforward guide:

2. Take 3 sticks (17 left).
3. Your opponent takes N sticks, where N equals 1, 2 or 3.
4. Take 4 - N sticks: if your opponent took 3, you take 1. If 2, take 2. If 1, take 3.
5. Repeat steps 3, 4 until you win.

Also, "solution" of the game gives different benefits. Checkers had also been solved, but the solution does not allow you to win in 100% cases, only guarantees a draw.

• that's the game plan? I dunno. anyway, could you please simplify and edit your question to be a one with better understanding? that'd be helpful on getting a good answer. Welcome to Movies and TV SE! Oct 19, 2018 at 3:38
• Seems like the question is either "why would the game show use a game that has a known solution?" and/or "how could people lose a game that has a known solution?" Answer is that just because the solution is known doesn't mean its known to everyone. That's the nature of a puzzle. Oct 19, 2018 at 4:00
• Yes, players don't have to know. But shouldn't masters of the game do? Season 1 Ep. 5, 1997, Game Master has 7 sticks and he takes 3, literally giving away the victory to the participant! Even if you're a novice, you could deduce in seconds that handing 4 sticks over to your opponent is almost a 100% failure. Something's clearly not right here and I became curious about the backstage. Oct 19, 2018 at 20:20