Twenty-Niner

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Twenty-Niner

Sir R----- my fine fellow! Come in from the cold and join me at my table for a tumbler of restorative spirits!

Might I also tempt you with a wager?

Good man!

I propose a game that was popular amongst the notoriously unsuccessful lunar prospectors of '29. Spurred on by rumours of gold nuggets scattered upon the ground simply for the taking, they arrived en-masse during winter woefully unprepared for the inclement weather. By the time that I arrived on a diplomatic mission to the king of the moon people they were in a frightful state, desperately short of provisions and futilely trying to work the frost bitten land to grow more.
Naturally I interceded with the king on their behalf, procuring them employment toiling in the underground mushroom farms for room, board and a meagre stipend which which they could eventually buy passage home.

But I have not told you of its rules!

I have chalked out ten spaces upon the table and numbered them from zero though nine. For a cost of one coin you may cast this twenty sided die marked with the digits zero to nine twice apiece and record its result by placing a token upon its space. For another you may cast again and, should the space for its result be empty, place a token upon it. Play shall continue in this fashion until all ten spaces contain a token at which time you shall receive a prize of twenty nine coins and twenty nine cents!

When I spoke of the manner of play to that incompetent student of my most unwelcome acquaintance, he began lamenting a series of failed experiments that he had recently undertaken. Quite what surprise he imagined it would come to me that all of his labours should be in vain escapes me!

But let us not dwell upon that dolt! Come refill your glass and think upon your liking for this sport!

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