IFComp 2007: Fox, Fowl and Feed

Chris Conroy gives us a variation on the classic river-crossing puzzle. You know the one: you have a fox, a duck, and a bag of grain (you may have heard it with different animals), and can only take one at a time in a boat, but leaving the duck alone with either of the other two items results in something getting et. Spoilers follow the break.

When I call this a “variation”, what I mean is that this telling provides some realistic complications. Animals don’t always stay where you put them. The fox doesn’t want to be in a boat. Even if you remove the rope that’s normally used to secure the boat and use it to tie the duck to a tree, the duck is capable of slipping free and swimming back to the wrong side of the river while your attention is elsewhere.

And I have to confess that that’s as far as I got. I figured out that I can swim across the river with the duck tied to me, but that doesn’t help. I keep trying things, though. My last failed inspiration was that maybe I could tie one end of the rope to the left oar and one end to the right oar — the game does allow you to refer to the oars individually — and use that to hang it from a tree and put the duck inside. You can’t do this — you can’t lift the boat, and even you could, it would just leave you with no way to get the fox and grain across. But it’s a little bit great that the game lets me trust the implementation enough to even think of trying things like that.

Rating: 5

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