Clouds

Rules and Tips for standard puzzle types, and their variants

Clouds

Postby pinkagape » Sun 06 Aug, 2017 10:49 am

I meant to ask this after it appeared in the U.K. Championships, but now it's come up in the Puzzle GP, it has become more pressing.

How do you solve Clouds?
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Re: Clouds

Postby PuzzleScot » Sun 06 Aug, 2017 2:44 pm

Coincidentally, I've solved a lot of clouds puzzles recently.
I have an app called 'logic games' on my phone (logo is 2 grey cogs). "Free on iOS, Android and WP" by Andrea Sabbatini.
There are dozens of familiar puzzle types you can practice, including Clouds...

Anyway, that doesn't help if you don't know how to solve them. There are a lot of techniques you can develop to solve them.

The most simple is to create the simplest possible cloud dimensions along the clues on each edge.
eg, (taking a genuine example of a 10x10 puzzle) if the row clues down one edge are
2 5 5 2 2 2 7 5 4 2, the simplest breakdown is
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
0 3 3 0 0 0 2 2 2 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 0 0

The column clues are
2 7 5 2 2 2 6 4 3 3, so the simplest breakdown (connecting likely items) is
0 2 2 2 2 2 2 0 3 3
0 3 3 0 0 0 2 2 0 0
2 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 0

Attempting to draw round the grid, with dashes to indicate known connections:
Code: Select all
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 2
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 2 3
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 2 3
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 2
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 2
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 2
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 2 2 3
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 2 2 3
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 2 2
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 2
. 2-2 2 2 2-2 . 3-3
. 3-3 . . . 2-2
2-2 . . . . 2-2


Now it's a case if matching bits up, and rearranging options if not enough space is left.
Some methods are in common with fill-a-pix, while remembering there can be no singles.
Not sure if this helps much. Nothing beats practice though...
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Re: Clouds

Postby dickoon » Sun 06 Aug, 2017 8:40 pm

PuzzleScot wrote:I have an app called 'logic games' on my phone (logo is 2 grey cogs). "Free on iOS, Android and WP" by Andrea Sabbatini.
There are dozens of familiar puzzle types you can practice, including Clouds...


Ooh, what a good recommendation! Dozens and dozens of puzzle formats to practice there. Thank you for pointing it out!
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Re: Clouds

Postby kiwijam » Mon 07 Aug, 2017 12:01 am

Alan's approach is generally best, although you can't always tell how they break down into 2s or 3s or 5s...

Tip 1: If there is a 2 next to a 3 (or a 4-3), then no cloud can cross between them. I draw a thick border through the grid along that line. This can be helpful if there are large clues in the opposite direction.

Tip 2: If a clue is the sum of its adjacent clues (e.g. 2-7-5) then every cloud in the middle column goes left or right, but never both. This can be helpful if there are 3-clues in the opposite direction, which therefore cannot cover all three cells.
More importantly, any shaded cell in the 2 or 5 must extend to the 7, but no further.

There are more advanced ideas, if you link to one you are stuck on I'm happy to explain how to progress.
http://www.janko.at/Raetsel/Regenwolken/index.htm
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