Death of a Salesman

a minute to afternoon to master

Introducing a set of original new strategy games for two players. The rules are simple, but you'll find that the games can be surprisingly complex.

Download It!


Salesman was written as a Tcl/Tk application. First download salesman.tcl.

If you are on a Windows machine, you will need to install a copy of Tcl/Tk. Just click here to download the latest release and then run the self extracting program. When given the option, you probably want to choose the minimal installation of just the executables. Once it's installed, you should be able to double-click salesman.tcl to run it.

If you are on a Unix machine, you will need to install a copy of wish. Once that's done, if wish is located in /usr/local/bin/, do:

 chmod a+x salesman.tcl
If not, do:
 wish -f salesman.tcl


Salesman includes two different games: Insurance Salesman and Encyclopedia Salesman.

Both games involve a set of random points. When the game begins, you will see two identical boards, left and right. You will alternate taking moves, first on the left board and then on the right board. Your opponent will be playing first on the right board and then on the left board. If a board has a light background, it is your turn to make a move on that board.

A move simply involves selecting a purple point. As you select points, you will be creating lines, as explained below. Your lines are red. Your opponent's lines are blue. Your score is the total length of the lines that you create. The goal is to avoid forming long lines. Therefore, the player with the lowest score wins.


In each board, you and your opponent will form a single path through the points. The first player selects the starting point. The most recently selected point is always yellow. Except for the first move, when a player selects a point, a line will be formed from the yellow point to the new point.

When there are no more purple points remaining, the yellow point will be connected back to the first point. Thus, the path will form a cycle. Note that, if there is an even number of points, whoever chose the first point will be forced to create that last line.


In each board of this game, you and your opponent will be creating separate paths. Your path is red, your opponent's is blue. The last point on your path is red, the last point on your opponent's is blue. When you select a point, other than your first one, the red point will be connected to the new point.

When there are no more purple points, both your path and your opponent's path will be turned into cycles. Again, you are trying to make short paths.

Douglas Rohde
Last modified: Thu Mar 23 18:16:06 EST 2000