We break the memory game: a whole detective

We break the memory game: a whole detective

This game did not give us rest for several months. The rules are very simple: you need to lay out cards with pictures and invent a fairy tale. Then remember her.

A simple thing to memorize, we thought. A hundred times this is played, and all of our education just screams that now will be easy.

Three months. Three fucking months passed before we almost learned how to win. Along the way, we had to pick up the translations of “War and Peace” and in general learn a lot about the word length in different languages. At the same time reached the psycholinguists. And they decided for themselves a long-standing question about the length of the message in Russian and English.

Spoiler: Russian language on average (in long phrases) is not longer than English. In general, all languages ​​are about the same in terms of information transfer speed - at least, as we were told in the RAS. But they immediately said that it was impossible to quote them, because there is no research, and REN-TV is walking somewhere nearby. Here the release of the English version of Habr with translations came in very handy - so we quickly found a base of equivalents.

But let's start from the beginning.

This is how it looks

Some player says:
- We flew once in an airplane - and puts the map:

You have these three cards:

You can just shut up, you can continue one of them in the spirit of "And here we were kidnapped by aliens," but you decide to change the plot and say:

- And the funds of the Lenin Library were transported!

The following player clarifies:

- In Ryazan!

The plot can then go in any direction depending on what the players put:

"Because all the books have already been digitized, and the originals went to feed the silkworm on the new farm." Or: “Because our friend Zinovy ​​married an autistic girl Elena, and she calmly felt only in a house with many books. He bought out unnecessary in libraries, restored them and turned his estate into a book, but once ... ” Or: "During takeoff, the main interior lighting was turned off, and we suddenly saw that there was someone among the books ...". In general, whatever. And you continue. If there is a suitable drawing.

Then it will be necessary to turn the deck over and tell the dream tale from the very beginning.

What is the ambush?

In time. You have only 2 minutes to lay out the cards.

To win, you need to score 61 points.

When you tell a fairy tale, for each correctly guessed card you get 2 points, for a miss - minus two points. If you do not remember, but a neighbor can tell - 1 point.

In our example, at first you see nothing and must remember the beginning - “We flew in an airplane”. Open the plane, this is it. You 2 points. Then the next player remembers: "We were carrying books from the library." 2 more points. Next: "The light went out, and there was someone there." Minus 2 points for missing Ryazan.

That is, you need to make 31 cards without errors. A better 32-33. And there is less than 4 seconds per card to tell something about it, and everyone remembers.

The final task (for us, not for children) is to take 61 points, that is, lay out at least 31 cards and then not really mess up on restoring the plot.

Attempts to break the game in the first tests

On the forehead, take 61 points did not work. It seems that not the most stupid people have gathered, but still it is really difficult to rise above 45.

The game seemed at first glance a cute childish thing, but then she just hooked. We all felt that we needed to win those damn points. More precisely, to beat the game. The box brazenly lay before us and provoked its silence.

It became clear that there is no goal to lay out more cards for a limited time. There is a goal to lay out 31 cards, and then remember them exactly. 33 or 37 - no difference. Before that, we were in a hurry to spend more cards.

Sat down again. An amendment to the strategy did not help.

We start to break.

First Pass Optimization: The obvious mistake is that players try to somehow use their cards at times when they find them suitable. And in the game there is no reference to how many cards you fold. That is, this action is clearly dictated by some past experience or desire to participate. In a degenerate case, one player can tell a fairy tale, and the rest must memorize it. The point is this.

We agreed to avoid excessive use of maps so that the plot would not turn sharply towards the drawing. That is, to avoid twists like: "And then they took and went to the mountains!"

Did not help. More precisely, it helped, but not much.

We tested the hypothesis with one narrator . It does not roll, a set of 3 cards in the buffer still fits worse than a set of 12-15 cards at all at the table.

Another hypothesis : in the "promotion" of the story, everyone put the cards in a pseudo-random order, and you need to tell each by one card in a circle. Is it possible to agree that we will lay out in the order that you tell, so that it is easier to remember?

We check the same forks: the plot needs to be rotated too much to use the available pictures in the buffer of 3 player cards. We establish empirically that these costs of remembering are stronger than the gains from the story about our cards.

Another hypothesis: is it possible to assign one player as a memory to contact him for 1-point cards in case of problems? The result - does not give a clear benefit. Own participation helps to memorize the pieces of the plot nearby.

The rules are not prohibited to talk about the following cards. Players begin to tell not only their map, but also give hints on the next one, if they remember. We feel that it breaks the spirit of the game, and still does not give a clear win.

We continue to break hard.

Hypothesis them. Dijkstra: you need to memorize pairs of maps for one story block . That is, to make such "syllables" of the cards. It does not work in the direct form, but it comes to the understanding that after 20-30 parties in the same composition plot macros from map sets are formed. The question is:

  1. It smacks of cheat (we should not remember the plot of the previous game or do precalculation)
  2. It is not always possible to collect the necessary cards for such a macro - not the whole deck in the game at the same time.

Hypothesis: We are stupid or too self-confident . We must give the other group for tests. We are checking. Can not take more than 45 points.

We study the experience of other groups and the experience of the video authors of the game. Here the reader of our telegram channel @ mosigra helped us with the analysis, where we sometimes write about the development process. So, their progress in successful games is a phrase in 2-4 semantic units ("and then someone died," "my wife and I danced at the wedding," "that was a million years ago"). From the move for our person it is completely unobvious that in the game of fantasy and writing a story, a move is as short a phrase as possible with as few words as possible. This is counterintuitive. For us, this also did not follow the rules, but we already guessed it. True, did not so short.

Later we made a change in the rules about the method, and in the release we recommend saying one sentence, not several. But at that time they tried to play again. As it turned out, ultrashort forms do not allow us to build a bright plot, that is, we run into poor memorability with a good number of cards. One sentence is quite normal.

After a few weeks of training, we bring the indicator to 51, Max (development manager) once saw 55, but could not repeat it.

There are literally a few millimeters missing.

Hypothesis: perhaps English is faster , and it takes more time for us to speak the words themselves. And the most valuable resource after the accuracy of the location of the map - just the time for the story.

Because we know the bike about the mat. By the way, they also tried mate, it does not contribute to memorization.

It took an entire study to test the hypothesis.

Test the language hypothesis

Anya from the development communicates with a psycholinguist of the Russian Academy of Sciences (the answer was not official, and she asked not to mention her, so there would be no more details). Gives her our hypothesis about the difference in the speed of English and Russian oral speech, adds a hypothesis about the difference in the semantic fullness of words in different languages. The lady suggested experimenting with a dictaphone and phrases in different languages. The general answer is that there is no ready-made research on this topic (namely, when it comes to comparing English and Russian), but the idea is this: there are various possibilities for linguistic coding, but that, regardless of whether it is fast or slow, the efficiency of information transfer is they are the same. For example, fast Spanish consists of many syllables, each of which in itself means nothing or means little. A much slower Chinese Mandarin transmits more information in each syllable and word.

Plus there are extralinguistic factors, for example, the individual characteristics of speech. Well, roughly speaking, for some people the pace of speech is fast, for others, on the contrary, it is slow, and this may not even be related to the language the person speaks.

In general, yes, holivar will begin about the length of the languages!

And while we return to the experiment with the game.

Next hypothesis about psychology

We contact the author, we find out that it usually takes several weeks before the children reach their level. That is, they actually train (but for children of different ages there is a different limit of points). Ok, great, we have a familiar test kindergarten, in which there are children with cognitive developmental disorders, and just children. And professional psychologists. Give the game to see them (alpha box). Perhaps we learn something new from their analysis.

Comes a review. I will quote here the most important parts for the development team from the conclusions.

“For preschoolers, the game is good as a means of developing coherent speech. But since for many of them to speak coherently is a very difficult task, it’s better not to use the hourglass at all, so as not to do the already difficult task ... it’s worthwhile to consider the clock for 3–4 minutes ” - ok, excellent, useful for children. This is good for the karma of the game, but still does not help us win.

“The optimal composition of players when playing with preschoolers is three people, two of whom are children, and the third adult. Together (child and adult) is also good, but the three of them are more fun. If there are more players, children have to wait too long for their turn to speak, and they start to get bored. Listening to each other is not very interesting for them, it is much more important for them to speak for themselves. ” - hmm, it is clear that it’s necessary to sell it to families, small children cannot play on their own without an adult.

“The task of linking the next fragment within the meaning of the previous ones for preschool children is very nontrivial, often for younger students too.By default, the child tends to use purely mechanical stringing of plot elements (he looked up, saw that, then went there, that was there), so the story in the end most resembles a trip to the store. It is here that it is very important that an adult participate in the game, who can demonstrate, through a personal example, the formation of some more complex semantic connections. At this place there is a development of thinking " - taken into account.

“The mood of the cards is very conducive to talking about how the actors in the story feel and how they react to the events. Well, nowhere slowly, discuss it at every opportunity. Here is the development of emotional intelligence (by the way, it is rare where you can develop both emotional intelligence and logical intelligence at the level of understanding cause-effect relationships) “ - we will tell journalists this perfectly.

“When playing with preschool children with a turn order, it makes sense to do not as it is written in the general rules, but exactly the opposite: to write in the order of strict order, but to remember in chorus. The turn of the course provides everyone an equal opportunity to speak, and this is important, because everyone wants to speak, but at the same time some children think (and speak) more actively and faster, and if they don’t keep the order, they just push those who are slower in temperament. On the other hand, if they remember everything together, then the child does not have the feeling that he is being interrogated. It makes sense to recall to the victorious one, throwing up leading questions until the team remembers everything to the last card, so that the feeling of success and completeness remains. For preschoolers in this game, the process itself is much more important than performance. ” is a great option of the home rule, we will transfer this to the recommendations for the game directly on the item card.

That is, it does not help us win, but explains that the timer in children is not the most important thing in life. And hide the cards too. But the study reveals another layer - how children build associations with the cards.

See here.
  • The picture with the green elf ... causes preschool children to a violent reaction of the type "oh, he has a naked ass." For a preschooler, the kind of bare buttocks is pornography, and the response is appropriate. If an elf cannot be supplied with robes, then to play with preschoolers it is better to simply remove them.
  • A picture of a bride and groom kissing may confuse some children. Many preschoolers consider a kiss to be something rather indecent and react to pictures with kisses again, like pornography, with a lively, but somewhat redundant interest in the game. The effect of the fact that in our culture it is not very common to kiss with children.
  • A picture with a body contour drawn in chalk does not tell anything to preschoolers and is not recognized by them (“this is some kind of boy”). Before a prepubertal inclusive, this is a low-profile image.
  • The call for help, written in the sand, is language dependent, so the corresponding card does not make sense to use when playing with a child who cannot read yet.
  • The image of a hippie is not recognized by preschoolers as hippies, since they even theoretically do not know what it is. Interpreted as "some cool guy." This card is more likely for adults, because they have something to invest in it; it’s obscure to children.
  • The image of punk is a little closer to the experience of children, because live punk is sometimes found here, but again they are perceived as something not quite decent. This card will become really relevant only to puberty, when it acquires some meanings.
  • A card with the number "13" requires not only the ability to recognize numbers within two dozen (6-7 years), but also an understanding that this is an unlucky number. In general, this is a rather unobvious association for a child.

That is, they learn punk, but the hippies are gone. But still, psychologist tests do not help us win.

The answer comes to the hypothesis of the duration of the language

We do our research.

At first Habr helped a lot. There are technical texts with a good rating. If both versions of the text - in the Russian and English versions - have ratings not in the ass, then most likely either the translation is of high quality or the material is relevant. Copy-paste translations, we find their direct analogues in Russian. Let's look at modern (then we looked at a smaller number). In the URI field, the post number (you can add it to the end of the link, for example, the first about Go is, as it may seem, at habr.com/ru/company/mosigra/blog/451938 , but in fact, Bada’s blog will be a forward). Next words in two versions and characters in two versions (with and without spaces):


Post number in URI

Words in EN

Words in RU

Signs in EN

Signs in RU

Bitmap indices in Go: search at wild speed



3 698

3 548

21 449

17 937



Modify the Bluetooth stack to enhance sound on headphones without AAC, aptX and LDAC codecs



1 921


11 398




Audio via Bluetooth: as detailed as possible about profiles, codecs and devices



7 009

6 061


35 212

42 959


The processor "Baikal-T1" and PAC BFK 3.1: first tests




3 034


13 577

19 477

16 921

Using signed bootloaders to bypass UEFI Secure Boot protection



1 464






How Protonmail is blocked in Russia



2 418




15 194


I spoil the development of my life with my review code and I don’t want to do so









Pretty pretentious Euclid's "beginnings" in TeX








10 002

“I can tell you about the common pain of all iOS developers” - 10 questions for a programmer, release 2



2 260

1 904




10 026

Homemade text laser projector



1 929


11 206

9 344


11 523

I lost faith in the development, burned out, but the cult of the instrument saved me



2 011


10 876

8 901



How to milk cows with robots and make an industrial startup on this. R-SEPT development history



3 214




17 178


"I am a useless fool and I want to quit" - 10 questions for a programmer, a pilot issue









Total English versions:
• 34,266 words.
• Characters with spaces - 198 492.
• Signs without spaces - 164 930.

Russian versions:
• 30,653 words.
• Characters with spaces - 207 383.
• Signs without spaces - 177 868.

The difference is that Russian is shorter by 10.54% by the number of words, by 4.29% by the number of characters with spaces, and by 7.84% by the number of characters without spaces.

That is, judging by Habr, we can finish 4 points. Hooray, this is already 59 out of 60 needed!

But! These are technical texts, right?

Translations are not two-way. Translation of the translation does not lead to the original.If anyone is interested in being a geek, start with a excellent post Mogwaika . Very briefly: there is meaning and there is content. Alekseeva I.S. in the Introduction to Translation, here is an example:

“Russian phrase:“ Citizens, do not forget to pay for the fare! ”is identical in German function:“ Wer ist (noch) zugestiegen? ”(Who else has entered?) and encourages recipients to do the same, although the situation is (a situation that is referred to in the text) and not exactly the same speech situation (a situation in which communication takes place) seem to overlap each other, forming a situational context. "

In general, you can translate differently. If the focus is on regulatory content , the contract translation is obtained when it is important not to miss the transaction, and everything else is on a blue flame. Of the works of art is ideal only for the genre of "police protocol".

Focus on context - translation of poetry. This is when the meaning of a phrase becomes more important than the meaning of a word. An example of interest is: the author of the board game and the game designer. The first phrase in English simply does not make sense, because the author is not at the desk, but in a literary work. And the game designer is in the sense of “developer”, to which the population is not yet accustomed. And he draws nothing. Therefore, it is important to translate here not contextually, but contextually. Another example of translation in context is, for example, periods of time across centuries and cultures. It’s not even a matter of referring to the SI, but the fact that the Mongols had a “hour” (actually of another segment) tied to the place of the sun relative to the entrance to the yurt, that is, the hour is shorter in winter and longer in summer. If anyone is interested in this offtopic, here's details already in my channel.

The following criterion is called “fullness of translation” - this is when the content is transferred by equivalent means. A more advanced level is when a person does not simply receive the same information, but is formed so that it causes the same cognitive reactions. Actually, the comparison of the reactions of the recipients is the concept of dynamic equivalence. A side effect is that if you are not very good at using such a concept, then you will have a villainous Zley.

In general, we need dynamically equivalent translations in both directions, therefore such complexity.

Let's look at foreign literature. And here will help us Phlibusta) We need a good literary translation, because it conveys the meaning as it is. We find books in English, we compare 5 different pieces with a good Russian translation - also in the number of words and signs with and without spaces. We write down the names of books and translators. Then we find classics in Russian which were translated into English. Take 5 different books of different authors. We write down the names of books and translators. Compare the length in the same way.

Foreign Literature
Jerome K. Jerome - Three in a boat, not counting a dog (translated by M. Salier )
Original chapter 3 - 2827 words, 11544 characters without spaces, 14317 characters with spaces.
Translation of Chapter 3 - 2208 words, 11579 characters without spaces, 14568 characters with spaces.
Ernest Hemingway - The Old Man and the Sea (translated by E. Golysheva and B. Izakova)
The original is 26,599 words, 1,06064 characters without spaces, 110,946 characters with spaces.
Translation - 23175 words, 134502 characters without spaces, 135917 characters with spaces.

John Steinbeck - The Grapes of Wrath (translated by N. Volzhina)
The original is 179691 words, 773589 characters without spaces, 947167 characters with spaces.
Translation - 151475 words, 767191 characters without spaces, 971718 characters with spaces.

Philip K. Dick - Do Androids Dream About Electrowellows (translated by M.Pchelintsev)
The original is 61953 words, 287196 characters without spaces, 346956 characters with spaces.
Translation - 59520 words, 329910 characters without spaces, 391435 characters with spaces.

Somerset William Maugham - Burden of human passions (translated by E. Golysheva, B. Isakova)
The original is 259601 words, 1143692 characters without spaces, 1397103 characters with spaces.
Translation - 211057 words, 1128656 characters without spaces, 1340885 characters with spaces.

• According to foreign versions, about 15% longer.
• The signs are roughly the same (2% and 1% shorter).

That is, the translation of the English version into the Russian gives approximately the same length of the message. Now let's look at the reverse translation - attempts to express Pushkin through someone else's cultural code.

Domestic literature
A. P. Chekhov - House with Mezzanine (translated by S. Kotelyansky)
Original - 5605 words, 28804 characters without spaces, 34460 characters with spaces.
Translation - 6957 words, 30870 characters without spaces, 37701 characters with spaces.

M.A. Bulgakov - Master and Margarita (translated by L. Volokhonskaya)
The original is 112149 words, 629215 characters without spaces, 742796 characters with spaces.
Translation - 145291 words, 692753 characters without spaces, 834321 characters with spaces.

F. M. Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment (translated by L. Volokhonskaya)
Original - 169908 words, 895178 characters without spaces, 1067426 characters with spaces.
Translation - 213371 words, 990536 characters without spaces, 1199117 characters with spaces.

A. S. Pushkin - Eugene Onegin (translated by V. V. Nabokov)
Original - 23046 words, 119022 characters without spaces, 136648 characters with spaces.
Translation - 32501 words, 147914 characters without spaces, 179655 characters with spaces.

B. L. Pasternak - Doctor Zhivago (translated by L. Volokhonskaya)
The original is 153093 words, 864243 characters without spaces, 1013754 characters with spaces.
Translation - 210573 words, 990388 characters without spaces, 1196558 characters with spaces.

  • According to foreign versions, about 30% longer.
• According to signs, foreign versions are longer by 12% and 15%.

That is, what we transfer from here to there becomes longer. Although, it would seem, you are waiting for the opposite.


The hypothesis is that the problem in us, as players, is most likely. It is assumed that the game will develop us, and it does. As a result, " It's time to sleep " came out with constant thresholds on points.

As memorization skills grow, we saw progress, but we still didn’t play enough to win the game, stabilized somewhere around 54 out of 60. Our colleague scored 58 points out of 60, but no one saw it - however, the result inspiring optimism. Now I suggest you try to do the same.

Source text: We break the memory game: a whole detective