Years ago, a teacher friend sent me an online version of the game Nim. "Try it out!" they said innocently enough, "See if you can figure out the strategy!"
The game seemed simple enough, basically just a set of three rows of objects. So I gave it a shot, and I lost. And then I lost again, and again. I finally walked away from my computer, a broken man.
In the years since then, I've moved cities and schools, had three kids, and STILL CANNOT BEAT THIS GAME.
In preparation for this newsletter, I finally gave in and looked up the solution. And having seen a lovely explanation from one of my favorite mathematicians, James Tanton, I think I can provide a way to turn this maddening little game into a meaningful mathematical exploration for you and your child.