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Interview Question

Software Development Engineer In Test Interview



The Game of Nim worded diffently.

Tags:brain teaser, design

Interview Answers

11 Answers


There is a game called 'The Game of Nim' that has a specific mathematical equation that must be utilized in order to win the game. Nimm is the German word for Take, so you must figure out the best way to take the matches without your opponent beating you at it.

SelenityHyperion on


The Game of Nim is a simple board game in which you and your opponent take turns removing a number of matches from one of the rows (normally about 5 rows) of matches on the board. The person to take the last match off the board is the winner. The reason why it is of interest to us as prospective software engineers (and why you probably asked this question) is that it has some interesting binary number properties making it fairly trivial to write computer code to ensure a win every time (every time there is a starting advantage, that is). Would you like me to go into more detail? Ok, well in brief then, basically the trick is to take the number of matches in each row and represent this as a binary number. Then, either by hand or with a program, do an Exclusive Or operation on the numbers. Then whenever you take some matches, just ensure that the remaining total is always zero after your turn and you will be sure to win by the end of the game. Maybe I should also add (and I'm thinking out the box here), that sometimes we as people are up against a challenge or opponent where succeeding or beating them is seemingly reliant on chance or luck. However, with careful analysis of the problem and good strategising, it turns out it is actually possible to ensure success just about every time. On the other hand, there are times when the odds are against us from the start. Then either we must stand up for what we believe is fair (i.e. be aware and vocalise that we cannot possibly win), or else acknowledge that our opponent is worthy and will ultimately get the better of us. Yet it should be noted that we can still stay strong and be competitive from the beginning allowing us to possibly take advantage of any mistakes or weaknesses our opponents or challenges might display. That is the Game of Nim worded differently.

Andrew_Bryce on


Nim's Game If I was interviewing you and asked you that question, I would be trying to determine if you could take a simple problem and provide a simple solution. If you went off into the weeds like Andrew_Bryce did, I would be wondering how effective you would be solving tons of simple issues. Also, if you answered the wrong question (what is the Game of Nim?) and not the question I asked (how would you word differently the phrase The Game of Nim?), I would be wondering how good your communication skills were.

OneEye on


If I were being interviewed, I would wonder about the interviewer's communication skills. "The game of Nim worded differently" isn't a question. It isn't even a sentence.

Count Negroni on


"Foaming Theme" 1) I cheated 2) I didn't even know what Nim was before I looked it up Here's how I would interpret some answers and the job I would recommend for them Anonymous: Huh? I think you're trying to be a smartass, but I don't get it - Cafeteria Worker Ryan: Knowledgeable - Content provider SelenityHyperion: Knowledgeable, informative and relatively succinct - Writer Andrew_Bryce: Detail oriented and a perfectionist - Software tester, some forms of coder Astrochimp: Focused - Project Manager OneEye: Thinks his answer is the only correct one - Clearly VP material Count Negroni: Nit Picker - Editor I don't think there's supposed to be one correct answer

The Nim Master on


Ha ha, jokes on me. "The Game of Nim worded differently." is not the actual question, just a vague description.

The Nim Master on


Strategic domination



I would answer: "Are you talking to me?" Because it sure sounds like you're high. Then I'd get up and leave.

io6060 on


What does this question have to do with Quality?

Astrochimp on


The anwer is 'Take' from the german word nimm.

Ryan on


The Name of the Game.

Anonymous on

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