John Toczekpuzzlor@gmail.com

Four different fighters are having an all-out battle to determine who among them is the strongest. Figure 1 shows the four fighters: Allan, Barry, Charles and Dan.

Each fighter has varying attack and health abilities. At the start of the battle, they have differing health points: Allan has 10, Barry has 12, Charles has 16, and Dan has 18. Also, each fighter has differing attack points: Allan has four, Barry has three, Charles has two, and Dan has one.

Figure 1: Four fighters enter, only one will win.

Figure 1: Four fighters enter, only one will win.

The battle takes place over multiple rounds, each round consisting of a single attack. In each round, one random attacker and one random defender are chosen. When the attacker attacks a defender, the defender loses health points in the amount equivalent to the attacker’s attack points. For example, if Allan is the attacker and Barry is the defender, Barry would lose four health points.

The fighters continue to randomly attack and defend in subsequent rounds until there is only one fighter left, who is then declared the winner. A fighter is removed from the battle when his life points become zero (or less).


Which fighter is most likely to win the battle?

Send your answer to puzzlor@gmail.com by Dec. 15. The winner, chosen randomly from correct answers, will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Past questions can be found at puzzlor.com.

John Toczek is the senior director of Decision Support and Analytics for Aramark Corporation in the Global Operational Excellence group. He earned his BSc. in chemical engineering at Drexel University (1996) and his MSc. in operations research from Virginia Commonwealth University (2005).