Bulls and Cows is a very popular game that has been around for many years probably without many people realising as it is better known under various names and was produced commercially under a different name altogether and proved to be a best seller in the 1970's. This game is often also referred to as pigs and Bulls but they are all the same game.
It is a game that can be played anywhere all that is required are a minimum of two players, each with a pen or pencil and a piece of paper and that is basically it. The idea of the game is to work out a number that each player invents and by taking turns and using the power of deduction and trial the number is eventually guessed, the player to do this being declared the winner.
As mentioned above this was produced commercially by the Parker Brothers under the name of “Mastermind” but instead of using numbers, different coloured pegs were used for the coded answer and black and white pegs were used to reveal how close the guess from the other player was with each turn.
So to start the game you need a minimum of two players, each player then writes down their secret number comprising of four digits, the only rule here for a basic game is that each digit has to be different to the rest i.e you cannot use the same number twice in your secret number. Make sure that the other player cannot see your number and now turns are taken to try to work out what the number actually is.
So to provide an example we will refer to the players as player 1 and player 2 and each has written down their secret number. Just for this example we will say that player 1 has chosen 1234 for their number and player 2 has chosen 2468 for their number. The two players then decide between them who is going to guess first, in this case we will assume that player 1 is the first to guess. For the first guess player 1 has chosen 1364 as their guess, player 2 now has to reveal how accurate the guess was, this is revealed by player 2 announcing which numbers are correct and which are correct and in the correct order. A number that is in the secret code but in the wrong place is announced to be a cow, a number that is in the secret code and in the correct place is announced to be a bull. So in this case 4 is a correct digit but in the wrong place (cow), 6 is a correct digit and in the correct place (a bull), so now player 2 has to declare that player 1 has guess 1 cow and 1 bull. Player 1 will then make a note of the result on their piece of paper and player 2 will then take their guess.
Through the power of deduction over a number of turns it does become possible to work out the secret code of each player, changing the guess each turn will soon let you work out which are the bulls in the turn and which are the cows, the final result ending with four bulls, hence the perfect guess.
The only other rule with this game is that if a player guesses the correct result by having an extra turn then the other player has the right to take one more turn to get the result, if not then the original guesser wins but if each player works out the results with the same number of turns the game is declared a draw.
The game can be made easier by only using 3 digits in the secret code or by using more digits i.e. 5 or 6 digits, teams can also make the game more fun comprising of 3 or 4 players to each team.