For most of us, the board game Battleship involves a little bit of strategy and a lot of luck. You either blindly bomb your competitor, painstakingly narrow down their position through the process of elimination, or—if you’re feeling particularly frustrated or dishonest—just try to sneak a glance at their board when they’re not looking.
But now, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, there’s a more strategic approach you can take. C. Liam Brown has developed a Battleship probability calculator, available for free online, which automatically checks possible ship configurations for a given board layout and tells you the best possible moves. You can check it out on his website, which also features an online version of the game.
The calculator doesn’t just suggest Battleship moves, it breaks down the entire board into color-coded percent probabilities which change as you play.
Even if you’re not currently playing a game of Battleship, the calculator is a neat educational tool—you can click around in the web app and watch how probabilities change as the computer gathers more and more information. It’s a fascinating visual representation of the underlying mathematic principles of the game—as well as a great secret weapon to have when you play that next game of Battleship.
[h/t: C. Liam Brown]