Edd Mann Developer

Advent of Code 2015 - Day 22 - Wizard Simulator 20XX

On the twenty second day of Advent of Code 2015 we are asked to help ‘Little Henry Case’ beat the boss in another video game he is stuck on.

Part 1

Like the previous day the game is turn-based, however, this time we are able to spend mana in-exchnage for spells we can cast per-round. Certain spells have the ability to cause effects which can last between rounds. Due to this, we are unable to formulise the battle into a single calculation, so instead must simulate a given battle in its entirety. For part one, we are asked to work out what is the minimum about of mana we can spend and still win the battle.

Based on the rules laid out within the problem specification, we begin by modeling how spells will be represented.

type Spell = {
  name: string;
  cost: number;
  damage: number;
  armor: number;
  heal: number;
  mana: number;
  turns: number;

const spells: Spell[] = [
  { name: 'Magic Missile', cost: 53, damage: 4, armor: 0, heal: 0, mana: 0, turns: 1 },
  { name: 'Drain', cost: 73, damage: 2, armor: 0, heal: 2, mana: 0, turns: 1 },
  { name: 'Shield', cost: 113, damage: 0, armor: 7, heal: 0, mana: 0, turns: 6 },
  { name: 'Poison', cost: 173, damage: 3, armor: 0, heal: 0, mana: 0, turns: 6 },
  { name: 'Recharge', cost: 229, damage: 0, armor: 0, heal: 0, mana: 101, turns: 5 },

This approaches opts to normalise all the possible spell behaviours, creating no-op actions by-way of zero values. From here, we model how we wish to store the state of a battle throughout game play.

type BattleState = {
  playerHp: number;
  playerMana: number;
  playerArmor: number;
  bossHp: number;
  bossDamage: number;
  manaSpent: number;
  activeEffects: Spell[];

There are a couple of rules around which spells are available for a player to cast at a given point in the battle. These include if they have enough mana to purchase the spell, and if the spell is an effect that it is either not active or on its last turn. We will next translate these rules into a function which we can supply the current BattleState to and return the possible Spell listing.

const hasBattleEnded = (state: BattleState) =>
  state.bossHp <= 0 || state.playerHp <= 0;

const getAvailableSpells = (state: BattleState): Spell[] => {
  if (hasBattleEnded(state)) return [];

  return spells.filter(spell => {
    const active = state.activeEffects.find(effect => spell.name === effect.name);
    return spell.cost <= state.playerMana && (!active || active.turns === 1);

This leads us onto being able to start codifying the steps that a given battle round takes. We will start by building out all the desired steps as isolated immutable state transitions. First we will handle how we apply effects before each particpants turn.

type BattleTransition = (state: BattleState) => BattleState;

const enactEffects: BattleTransition = state => {
  if (hasBattleEnded(state)) return state;

  return {
    playerMana: state.playerMana + sumProp(state.activeEffects, 'mana'),
    playerArmor: sumProp(state.activeEffects, 'armor'),
    bossHp: state.bossHp - sumProp(state.activeEffects, 'damage'),
    activeEffects: state.activeEffects.reduce(
      (effects, effect) => effect.turns > 1 ? [...effects, { ...effect, turns: effect.turns - 1 }] : effects,

We have used the same sumProp function found in the previous days solution to help tally a collections property values. Next, we will handle how a player’s turn updates the battle state. We supply a given Spell we wish the player to cast for this round, and return a BattleTransition similiar to enacting effects.

const playerTurn = (spell: Spell): BattleTransition => state => {
  if (hasBattleEnded(state)) return state;

  const isSpellEffect = spell.turns > 1;

  return {
    playerHp: state.playerHp + (isSpellEffect ? 0 : spell.heal),
    playerMana: state.playerMana - spell.cost,
    bossHp: state.bossHp - (isSpellEffect ? 0 : spell.damage),
    manaSpent: state.manaSpent + spell.cost,
    activeEffects: isSpellEffect ? [...state.activeEffects, spell] : state.activeEffects,

Following on from the players turn we can now model how a bosses turn updates the battle state.

const bossTurn: BattleTransition = state => {
  if (hasBattleEnded(state)) return state;

  return {
    playerHp: state.playerHp - Math.max(state.bossDamage - state.playerArmor, 1),

With the core steps in-place, modeled uniformly as BattleTransition types we can begin to think about how we wish stitch these together. When reading the problem definition I thought it would be an ideal fit to employ composable state transitions. To wire these together I’ve opted to use a small pipe helper function which works in the opposite mannor to a conventional compose. Instead of being called right-to-left, the pipe function composes the provided functions left-to-right, which reads more naturally.

const pipe = <R>(fn1: (a: R) => R, ...fns: Array<(a: R) => R>) =>
  fns.reduce((prevFn, nextFn) => value => nextFn(prevFn(value)), fn1);

Using this pipe function we can build up the steps required to complete a round.

type BattleRound = (spell: Spell) => BattleTransition;

const roundOfBattle: BattleRound = spell =>
  pipe(enactEffects, playerTurn(spell), enactEffects, bossTurn);

With the round simulation modeled, we can go about working on a solution to how we determine the minimum mana required to win the battle. To do this we will use a recursive function which takes in a BattleConfiguration and BattleRound function like so.

type BattleConfiguration = Pick<BattleState, 'playerHp' | 'playerMana' | 'bossHp' | 'bossDamage'>;

const isPlayerWinner = (state: BattleState) =>
  hasBattleEnded(state) && state.playerHp > 0;

const minManaSpent = (
  configuration: BattleConfiguration,
  round: BattleRound
): number => {
  let minMana = Infinity;

  const recur = (state: BattleState): void => {
    if (state.manaSpent > minMana) return;

    if (getAvailableSpells(state).length === 0) {
      if (isPlayerWinner(state)) minMana = state.manaSpent;

    for (const spell of getAvailableSpells(state)) {

    playerArmor: 0,
    manaSpent: 0,
    activeEffects: [],

  return minMana;

The BattleConfiguration is a subset type of the BattleState, allowing us to supply the battle properties that define the participants characteristics. The BattleRound function allows us to supply the roundOfBattle function we created earlier, to simulate each given rounds state transition. To locate the minimum amount of mana required we store the current minium mana for a winning battle and prune out any branches that exceed this amount until no enactable branches are remaining. This allows us to limit the scope of the problem greatly, as upon the first winning game we have ourselves a baseline to prune out any game that exceeds that mana spent.

With this in-place we can parse the bosses characteristics from the supplied input and execute the minManaSpent function to find the desired answer 🌟.

const part1 = (input: string): number => {
  const [bossHp, bossDamage] = input.match(/(\d+)/gm).map(toInt);

  return minManaSpent(
    { playerHp: 50, playerMana: 500, bossHp, bossDamage },

Part 2

For part two we are required to expand upon the game we created in part one. We are to now create a Hard Mode, in-which at the start of each round the players health is now reduced by one HP. Based on this addition we need to work out what the revised minimum mana spent can be to still win the battle.

We will first create the additional BattleTransition step, defining how the Hard Mode modifies the battle state.

const applyHardMode: BattleTransition = state => ({
  playerHp: state.playerHp - 1,

From this, we can create a new round of battle function which pipes the BattleState to the applyHardMode function before continuing on with the original game.

const hardRoundOfBattle: BattleRound = spell =>
  pipe(applyHardMode, roundOfBattle(spell));

We can then use the same setup as we did for part one, instead supplying the new hardRoundOfBattle function instead. In doing so we get the desired answer to the question 🌟.

const part2 = (input: string): number => {
  const [bossHp, bossDamage] = input.match(/(\d+)/gm).map(toInt);

  return minManaSpent(
    { playerHp: 50, playerMana: 500, bossHp, bossDamage },

I found today’s core-problem to not take too long to devise (the minimum pruning technique), however, simulating the game took the majority of the time. As mentioned when reading the problem definition I felt there could be a means to provide an elegant composable solution to representing the steps required to perform a round of battle. I’m happy with how the BattleTransition type has been employed, lending itself well to the pipe operation. Reading both the roundOfBattle and hardRoundOfBattle functions clearly express their intent and the stages of a round.