Candy Crush: Beating the Odds
For anyone who doesn’t know, Candy Crush Saga is the reigning mobile gaming king. Candy Crush is essentially Bejeweled’s distant cousin in that you have to move adjacent candies to make combinations of 3 or more. The game’s addictive qualities has gained it such a staggering number of users that it nets roughly $633,000 a day between in-app purchases and ad revenue. I was recently stuck on a level that was a 9×9 board consisting of all 6 kinds of candies (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). I was stuck on it for so long, I discovered an exploit where you could exit to the main menu from within a game and not lose a life as long as you haven’t made a move yet. With this knowledge, I began resetting the board every time I didn’t like the beginning candy layout and this got me curious as to what are the chances of starting with a good board. “Sprinkled” candies are the result of a 5 candy combo and are arguably the best single candy in the game. In order to make a one, you need two candies in a row of the same color, an offset candy of the same color, followed by two more candies of the same color. When you move the offset candy between the two pairs of same colored candies, a sprinkled candy appears. One of the best ways to start a game is being able to make a sprinkled candy on the first move, so I decided this would be my criteria for a “good” starting board.
(An example of a 5-combo on the first move)