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Mastermind Rules & Guide

The game is to find the correct color combination of the pebbles. The colors of the pebbles can repeat and empty squares are also possible in the correct code. Since there are only four squares to guess, the difficulty level is just right. Seven attempts are available per game. A green light indicates a correct stone in the correct position. A white light indicates a tile is correct, but the spot is not.

To find the right combination in the mastermind, the green and white lights should be used wisely. By means of exclusion procedures, it can be quickly determined in this way which pebbles are present in the code at all. In the first phase, it therefore makes sense to lay all the pebbles once, so that colors that do not occur can be disregarded.

The Mastermind memory training game was invented in 1970 by Israeli telecommunications expert MordechaiMeirovitz. Since major game manufacturers showed no interest in the product, it was not until 1971 that he was able to sell his masterpiece, thanks to the InvictaPlastics company. By 2000, over 55 million copies of the game had been sold in 80 countries.

Mastermind, also called SuperBrain, is a logic game for two people played with colored pens inserted into a special rack. One player (the coder) sets a four-digit ordered color code at the beginning, chosen from six colors; each color can be used more than once. The other player (the guesser) tries to figure out the code. To do this, he sets a similar color code as a question; on the first move he guesses blindly, on the subsequent moves he guesses with the help of the answers to the previous moves.

On each move the guesser gets the information how many pegs he has set correctly in color and position and how many pegs have the right color but are in a wrong position. A hit in color and position is indicated by a black pencil, a correct colored pencil in the wrong position by a white pencil. There are also versions with red instead of black pegs to indicate hits in color and position. All questions and answers remain visible until the end of the game. The goal of the guesser is to guess the color code with as few questions as possible.

The essential structure as well as the rules of the game are quickly explained. First, the computer selects a color combination, which is placed on four holes from a set of six colors. It is important to note that colors can occur more than once in a color combination to be guessed. In extreme cases, even a four-digit color combination consisting of only one color is possible.

Click on a circle to scroll through the colors. Click Submit after you have selected four colors. For each correct color in the right position a black dot appears, for each correct color in the wrong position a white dot.

Your task now is to find out which color combination the computer has come up with by clever and clever combinations. In the course of time you will develop your own strategies, which should be adapted to your individual thinking habits. One thing is for sure: as long as you combine logically correct, every color combination can be solved within the given maximum of 10 rows.

How to play Mastermind correctly

For each correct color in the right place there is a black pin and for each correct color in the wrong place there is a white pin. This gives the player a clue as to what the correct color sequence would be. The game goes on like this and the player wins if he manages to guess the correct color sequence before he has used up all the rows on the board. A color may be used more than once.

In this game it is important to be able to think logically. A big challenge is knowing that a color is in the right place in the row, but not which one. Here you have to use clever moves to find out which color it is. At the same time, the other colors must also be placed correctly. It is also possible that a slot is not occupied by a pin. Thus one has an additional possibility and/or difficulty apart from the six colors.

The exclusion procedure plays a major role in the Mastermind. Thus, at the beginning, all colors have to be laid once to find out if they occur in the code at all. The first line or the first two lines are mostly a blind guess. Afterwards you can approach the solution based on the coder's evaluation.

A possible game variant is to use two game boards, where the function of the player and the coder are swapped. This way both players can play and evaluate at the same time. The winner is the one who reaches the goal with fewer moves.

Plug Solitaire is about eliminating as many tiles as possible. The game can be played alone. On a cross 32 stones are placed on 33 squares. The game works in such a way that you have to skip one stone at a time and place it in the empty gap. The goal is to have only one stone left at the end. The whole thing is more difficult than expected. Because often there are too many single stones left and no neighboring stones to jump over. A trick can be to work in such a way that the last piece is in the middle. This is because you have to work out of four corners due to the cross.

There are several types of quizzes. In any case, in each quiz something has to be figured out, which sometimes requires sharp thinking. Again, the more often you puzzle, the better your brain is trained and the better you can do in this memory game.

5 tricks how to win at mastermind

Games like Kakuro or Memory challenge the brain. Logic games, in particular, keep the gray cells sharp, and one of the most popular logic games is Mastermind. Even the name reveals that a lot of memory is required to win here. However, there are some tricks that will help you reach the goal even without much brain jogging. The game from the 1970s can get quite tricky if there is no strategy you follow.

Trick 1: Start with two colors

The game gives you six colors and four slots per row to choose from. However, don't make the mistake of starting with four colors in the first row. In the so-called worst-case optimization, however, you always start with only two colors. This has the advantage that, if you have hits, you can also locate the positions more quickly. If you continue to follow this strategy, Mastermind can even be solved in an average of five moves.

Trick 2: Consider all previous attempts

Before you make a new move, always take a close look at the results of all previous moves. Due to the fact that you have only a limited number of moves, you cannot afford to repeat colors or positions that have already been excluded.

Trick 3: Exclude colors

Mastermind has only a limited number of attempts to determine the correct sequence of colors. This means that you have to be sparing in your attempts. Usually the game can be solved with only five moves, but you can make it a bit easier if you can exclude colors in advance.

To do this, take only one color per line, so you can be sure right from the start whether the colors are included or excluded.

Trick 4: Cut lines in half

You can reach your goal faster if you divide each betting line into two parts and work through each area separately. This way you have only two tries per combination where you can have a hit or exclude something. The important thing here is that you always concentrate on just one area of two. This can be two places on the side, but also, for example, the two points in the middle.

Trick 5: Work systematically

If you follow a strict system in Mastermind, you will usually reach your goal within the possible moves. Don't let the approaching end put you off, but follow your tactics consistently. Theoretically, there are 256 possible combinations in the game, provided that only one color is allowed at a time. The important thing in Mastermind is to correctly interpret and combine the clues in the form of the plugs that indicate a color in the right place or in the line.

Increased difficulty - same tactics

Mastermind comes in different variants. For example, the same color can be used several times in the searched combination. This makes it more difficult at first sight, but you can follow the same system as if you used a color only once.

In addition to the small version of Mastermind, it also comes in a larger version with more colors, lines and also a larger solution combination. But you can also adapt the system of division to the size. For example, if six colors per line are possible, divide the blocks into areas of three rather than areas of two.

How to play Mastermind online?

Here you play the classic game without pens, but with colored pebbles. But the principle of the game is almost identical. The computer gives the code, which you have to guess. To crack it, you can choose from eight colors. Choose a color and place the pebble in the guessed position. If a color matches in the correct position, you get the corresponding hint with a green dot. It only gives the hint whether a stone is in the correct position, but not whether a color occurs in a different position in the code. This is the main difference to the classic Mastermind and makes the game online a bit more difficult.

If you get stuck at all, you can give yourself hints or have the color code revealed as well. Important to know: Colors can appear several times in the code. Blanks are also possible.

Can you get better at mastermind?

Yes, because as we all know, practice makes perfect! Although the game principle is very simple, you should not underestimate Mastermind. The combinations of colors are so varied that it is practically impossible to simply guess the code blindly. But even if you have already scored one or two hits, that is no reason for joy. After all, there are still many possible combinations left.

But you can increase your chances of success the more often you play Mastermind. This game falls under the category of logic and brain jogging games. Like most games in this category, you can train your brain with it and become faster and better at such tasks. Another game that also requires a lot of logical thinking is, for example, chess. Somewhat less strenuous and just as nice a pastime is the classic Four Wins.

What mistakes you should avoid when masterminding

  • Play with concentration, make sure there are few distractions.
  • Pay attention to your previous moves.
  • Lost track? Sometimes it can help to make a note of the colors you have already determined.

Game rules in a nutshell

"Mastermind Mastermind" Quick Start Guide

Agree on who will start as the code setter - then alternate round by round. Separate signal pens from each other and have them ready, as well as the game board.

Set the secret color code
The code setter thinks of a secret color code and puts it in the small pocket at the edge.

Guessing the code
The code breaker begins, row by row, placing four code pegs of his choice to guess the code.

Giving clues
Row by row, the code setter gives clues to the code with the white and red signal pins. Red ones stand for correct pins, white ones for correct ones in the wrong place.

The code breaker gets one point per row, which he marks with a red signal pen. If the code-breaker has reached the end of the board, or if the code has been guessed, the game is switched. The second code-setter marks his points with a white signal pen.

End and winner
When all the agreed rounds have been played, everyone counts their points - whoever has collected the most wins.

Mastermind, the classic brain and logic game

The ability to think logically is demanded of us humans at almost all ages and in a wide variety of situations. No matter if you are a pupil, a student or an adult, we are always asked to be able to think logically. In principle, this means that we are able to assess or evaluate situations - often very complex ones - logically with regard to further developments.

Beginning in the primary school time, over secondary schools up to the vocational training or to the study, everywhere and again there are situations, with which logical thinking ability can be either compelling, or at least very helpful. In this respect, the question arises in which way logical thinking can be trained as effectively as possible?

A real classic among the so-called thinking and logic games is the original version of "Super Brain" (in the English version: Mastermind), which dates back to 1976. Although this fascinating logic game has a very simple structure (the rules can be fully explained within a few minutes), it has captivated children, young people and adults for generations.


Well, with the Super Brain Logic Game you can train a wide range of skills that are of particular importance in various areas of life. Among the most important "side effects" that can be trained here are above all:

  • the ability to think logically
  • a good visual memory,
  • improvement or development of strategic thinking skills,
  • optimization of combinatorial skills,
  • perseverance and patience, and - last but not least - learning and practicing
  • learning and practicing fairness.

The Mastermind game is available in the classic game variants with 6 colors and 4 holes, as well as 8 colors and 5 holes, in each of which the goal is to determine an initially hidden color combination through logical thinking as well as skillful combining.

This great logic game is suitable for young and old alike. According to the simple formula: Number of colors Number of holes, it is possible to calculate in advance how many combinations are theoretically possible. In this way, everyone can choose an individually desired playing strength.

An example: Let's assume you decide on an easy beginner's variant with six colors and four holes. This would result in 64 combinations, i.e. 1296. More experienced logicians, for example, choose the version with seven colors and five holes, which results in 75 combinations, i.e. 16807 variants.

Logic games increase your intelligence

Recent results of brain and intelligence research have shown that above all the recognition of patterns and the finding of structural connections in given situations are decisive prerequisites for what is understood by intelligence. At first, it is relatively unimportant in which concrete form patterns present themselves. Complex structures can be found in a wide variety of contexts. For example, a linguistically gifted person will often discover speech patterns in texts, whereas a musically gifted person, for example, will easily find clear structures in a piece of music. A mathematically gifted person, for example, will have little problem discovering patterns in number sequences that obey strict mathematical rules. In short, there are many ways to train the recognition of patterns and structures in everyday life.

Tip for improving your logical thinking skills

In addition to the initial goal of being able to solve any color combination in the Mastermind game within a maximum of 10 rows, at an advanced stage you could switch to completing each game with a gradually increasing time limit.

For example, after your first training phase would have taken you an average of about 10 minutes to solve a color combination, you could systematically shorten the time limit further and further, so that eventually you would be able to solve any combination (consisting of six colors and four holes) within a maximum of five minutes. Thus, another helpful "side effect" of the Mastermind game is that you have to think logically under time pressure, and thus develop an advantage over people who can't do this.

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