The Farmer-Chicken-Wife Game

How to cheat with this game.

The program FCW was a puzzle program for members of the IWPC User Group to solve for the month of February 2002 but is made available here as an interesting game.

This is a two-person board game where the computer is one of the participants -- it's you against the computer.

One side controls the Farmer and his Wife. The other side is the Chicken. The board represents a farmyard where the Chicken is roaming free and must be caught. So the person playing the role of the Chicken must play to avoid capture for as long as possible whilst the object of the game for the person playing the Farmer and his Wife is to catch the Chicken. (The point about the capitalisation is that these letters are used on the board.)

To win at this game, you must play the side of the Farmer and his Wife whilst the computer plays the side of the Chicken. You can swap roles if you want, to see how the computer plays the other way round but that is for fun and interest only.

When you are playing the Farmer and his Wife, you can only move either the Farmer or his Wife in one move, not both.

In board games of this kind, the winning strategy often depends on who moves first, so you have the choice, whichever side you decide to play.

All these facts and more are available in information screens so you don't need this information at this stage except to give you an idea of what it is all about.

How to Cheat

The version made available here is identical to the original program with one exception -- it allows you to cheat! Cheating in this case is a very interesting thing to do because there is an optimum solution from any board position to any end position where the chicken is caught and it is interesting to know what the optimum moves are. You could guess the right move and then check the "correct" one or you could just cheat every time to see how quickly the game can be won by the FW side or how long the game can be optimally prolonged if you are the chicken.

The thing you have to know is the key to press to find the optimal move or moves. It is the colon character. You may not want to reveal this fact at first if you give the game to a friend. It is not likely that the key will be discovered by accident.

When you key in colon (requires the shift key) when it is your turn to move you will see some symbols at the right of the board. The number tells you the number of moves from the current position to the end position if the game is played optimally. The letters are: F = farmer move; W = wife move; C = chicken move; U = up; D = down; R = right; L = left. When more than one move is shown it means that there is more than one move that is optimal. If you always play one of the optimal moves you will win in the shortest number of moves if you are the FW side or you will prolong the game the maximum length if you are playing the chicken side. The computer program knows these optimal moves which is why it plays so well!

If you play one of the optimal moves you will notice that the number of moves to reach the end of the game reduces by one each time. This defines an optimal move. If you do not play one of the optimal moves you will notice that the number of moves to go will increase or stay the same.

The file to download is called FCW2.EXE. The program will run in any Windows or DOS operating system. When you are successful, a secret code word is shown that you can quote to prove you have done it. But of course the closing date has passed so that is not much use now. Have fun, just the same.

Click here to download the file FCW2.EXE. The file has been checked to be free from viruses using Norton Anti-virus software. You can also ensure file fidelity using my program FID. If in doubt, check the FID code before running.

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