The clever race game with a classic theme
where even he who hesitates can win!
A pile of boxes
What's it all about?Hare & Tortoise is an unusual race game in that movement is governed by skill rather than chance. Instead of rolling dice to find out how far to move, you can always move forwards as far as you like - but only if you can afford to pay for it. This you do by consuming units of energy called carrots. The 65 carrots you start with are just enough to get you home one square at a time by spending one carrot per move. Alternatively, they're enough to get you up to ten squares forward in a single leap, and you can earn more by carefully choosing which square to land on. But there's a catch! The catch is that the further you move in one turn, the faster the cost of moving accelerates. Therefore -
- If you play hare-wise, taking great leaps forward at each move, you risk running out of carrots so fast as to lose valuable time trying to get them back. But:
- If you play like tortoise-wise, plodding along as cheaply as possible, you risk lagging so far behind as to never have time to catch up with the hares.
Mathematical stuffThe actual cost of moving is: 1 for the first square, plus 2 for the second, plus 3 for the third... and so on. It therefore costs 1 carrot to move 1 square, 3 to move 2, 6 to move 3, 10 to move 4, etc. To generalise, moving forwards n squares in one turn costs n(n+1)/2 carrots. So, given 65 carrots to start with, you might play tortoise-wise and get home in 65 moves at 1 carrot each and still have 1 carrot left over. Playing hare-wise, you could get home in just one move, but only if you could afford the 2080 carrots such a leap would cost. To add to your problems, the further ahead you are, the fewer the carrots you earn when you land on a pay-out square. In Hare & Tortoise, unlike certain other games, you don't collect 200 carrots every time you pass Go.
In Aesop's classic fable the hare is so confident of winning that he takes a nap and wakes up, too late, to find himself overtaken by the plodding tortoise. His moral is "Slow but steady wins the race". In the equivalent fable collected by the brothers Grimm the hare races against a hedgehog and doesn't nap but speeds ahead. The hedgehog wins, however, by concealing all his relatives along the route. At each lap's start the current hedgehog immediately hides and the next one pops out of concealment just ahead of the hare. This moral is "Slow and cunning wins the race". Or perhaps: "If at first you don't succeed, cheat".