The Polar Bear game

The Polar Bear Game is a lateral thinking puzzle that requires equipment in the form of several plain dice. It is best played around a table with a number of people who do not know the answer.

To begin the game you tell the following story:

It is winter in the arctic. An Inuk comes across the frozen sea and makes holes in the ice to fish through. After a few hours of fishing he decides that he has caught enough fish and departs. Slowly the polar bears emerge, wary of each other they circle the abandoned fishing holes to explore the potential for a meal.

At this point you throw the dice so that all can see them.

 _____           |•   •|
|•   •|          |•   •|
|  •  |   _____  |•   •|         _____
|•   •|  |•    |  _____         |    •|
 _____   |  •  |                |     |
         |    •|         _____  |•    |
          _____         |     |  _____
                        |  •  |
                        |     |

Next ask this question:

How many bears are gathered around how many holes?

If nobody can tell you the correct answer (for example twelve bears around three holes), tell them the answer and repeat the whole process.

If someone gets it right, make sure that they keep the secret quiet. Check that they really understand by throwing the dice again and ask them for the new solution.

The game gets better as more of the group get the gist. Don't feel the need to let anyone know the secret, it will be far more rewarding if they work it out for themselves. That is the reason that I am not going to provide the answer to the dice example above. Oh ok then, the solution and an explanation is here. Thanks for the alternative version 'How many petals on the rose'