Is there any board game where a human can still beat an AI?


Significant AI vs human board game matches include:

which demonstrated that AI challenged and defeated professional players.

Are there known board games left where a human can still win against an AI? I mean based on the final outcome of authoritative famous matches, where there is still same board game where AI cannot beat a world champion of that game.


Posted 2016-08-11T20:11:33.013

Reputation: 9 163

1In a way, a current event *is * a historical event... I think it applies, because it's sort of asking about the history of the game/ai playing it. – Mithical – 2016-08-11T20:19:20.553

Well, games like Ludo are almost entirely based on luck. So there's a change of about 50% that a human would win from an "AI" in this case. – Kevin – 2016-08-30T21:24:08.613

Can't a human + computer still beat any AI system in these games? Keeping overall computational power the same in both cases, of course. Kasparov said he staged human vs. AI chess competitions, and amateurs + low powered computers beat experts and supercomputers. – yters – 2017-07-03T16:50:59.557



For many years, the focus has been on games with perfect information. That is, in Chess and Go both of us are looking at the same board. In something like Poker, you have information that I don't have and I have information that you don't have, and so for either of us to make sense of each other's actions we need to model what hidden information the other player has, and also manage how we leak our hidden information. (A poker bot whose hand strength could be trivially determined from its bets will be easier to beat than a poker bot that doesn't.)

Current research is switching to tackling games with imperfect information. Deepmind, for example, has said they might approach Starcraft next.

I don't see too much different between video games and board games, and there are several good reasons to switch to video games for games with imperfect information.

One is that if you want beating the best human to be a major victory, there needs to be a pyramid of skill that human is atop of--it'll be harder to unseat the top Starcraft champion that the top Warcraft champion, even though the bots might be comparably difficult to code, just because humans have tried harder at Starcraft.

Another is that many games with imperfect information deal with reading faces and concealing information, which an AI would have an unnatural advantage at; for multiplayer video games, players normally interact with each other through a server as intermediary and so the competition will be more normal.

Matthew Graves

Posted 2016-08-11T20:11:33.013

Reputation: 3 957


Not all games (or even board games) are computationally algorithmic. Even the least skilled player is likely to trounce the hottest pattern-matching algorithm in a game of Pictionary (for example).

If you want to say that the movement of pieces upon successful completion of a task is only ancelary to the object of the game, than your answer will be largely self-selecting. A sufficiently sophisticated algorithm will brute force a computational problem better than human intuition… eventually.

Robert Cartaino

Posted 2016-08-11T20:11:33.013

Reputation: 1 580

Citation needed. – Raphael – 2016-08-12T09:34:31.257

Yeah, I think Pictionary might be pretty easy to beat these days. Since it's team-based it's not clear what a human vs. computer matchup would look like, though. – Matthew Graves – 2016-08-12T15:20:31.603


Artificially intelligent computer programs should be able to be at the same level or beat humans at every game that we play. This is because games follow rules that are scriptable, and artificial intelligence is designed to focus on one specific game and learn from its failures. The difference between humans and artificial intelligence is that artificial intelligence focuses on one specific task like learning to master Go while our brain is dedicated to mastering multiple tasks Even Arimaa, a game designed to be difficult for artificially intelligent systems was beaten by a bot called Sharp:

Veena Ghorakavi

Posted 2016-08-11T20:11:33.013

Reputation: 75

1Many games have social elements. How do you script those? – Raphael – 2016-08-12T09:34:25.240

This is a good point, but I am not sure I understand. Many of the games I have played or seen artificial intelligence play have clearly defined rules. By social, do you mean that the rules can change based on the people playing? For example, my cousins play the card game "War" a bit differently as they use the "Joker" card as the highest card while my brother and I don't use that card. Can you clarify what you mean by social? – Veena Ghorakavi – 2016-08-12T14:14:31.993

1In Werewolf, the whole gameplay revolves around people talking and deciding whom to take out; there are barely any rules beyond that. But even if you have rules, think of cooperative games like Pandemic; how does the AI discuss? What about games that involve moral decisions like e.g. This War of Mine? In summary, I think your claim "computer programs [...] beat humans at every game that we play" is wrong -- precisely because not every game follows scriptable rules. – Raphael – 2016-08-12T18:28:35.320