, the Machine that goes *Ping
* was a game
that was somewhat of a cross between Hangman
. A player (known as the Scholar
) is chosen to receive the Machine (often the last player to win the game) and he makes up a rule
which can be stated as "IFF
today ___ then the machine that goes *ping* will go *ping*." There are limits the rule, to try to ensure an interesting game: the machine has to ping at least once a week, and not every day for two weeks, and no more than 12 words may be used in the ___ to express the rule. The Scholar posts the rule, with all the letters in the ___ replaced by *'s.
Each day on which the rule would have the machine go *ping*, the Scholar posts an announcement of its pinging and a count of the number of pings under this rule. After every six pings, a player may choose a letter and the Scholar reposts the rule with the first letter so chosen filled into whichever *'s it belongs in. Any player may at any time post a guess at the rule, but only one guess per game, so be careful about wrong guesses! The Scholar announces whether each guess is right or wrong, and of course a correct guess ends the game. In addition, if nobody guesses the rule correctly within three days of the 30th *ping*, then the game ends with no winner and the Scholar is chastised for picking too hard a rule.