Posts Tagged ‘combinatorics’

Counting Bejeweled Boards

June 30, 2013

I’ve recently become hooked on Bejeweled Blitz, an addictive match-three puzzle game. It’s got enough bright colors, explosive sounds, and variable reward mechanics to redline your dopamine levels.

Coders have an interesting coping mechanism to deal with these sorts of things: program a bot to automate the addiction. This is a bit better than grinding for points; it’s a nice programming exercise that is slightly subversive and without intellectual property issues that could worry one’s employer.

During the design phase of the bot, I’ve become stuck on a little mathematical question that has led me on a journey from coding to mathematics via some impressively knowledge-dense internet resources:

How many different Bejeweled boards are there?