General Puzzle Rules & Definitions

Rules and Tips for standard puzzle types, and their variants
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PuzzleScot
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General Puzzle Rules & Definitions

Post by PuzzleScot » Sat 22 Jan, 2011 11:59 am

I think we should have general WPC/WSC style puzzle rules/definitions/guidelines that apply to all, or whole genres of puzzles.

I'll kick off with a few...

- All puzzles must be logically solvable from the information given.
- All puzzles must should have a unique solution. The main exception being optimisation puzzles.

In many cases, these facts can help deduce the solving route to the solution.

Definitions:
Cell Any region within a puzzle that is bounded by gridlines. Although usually square, this can be triangular, hexagonal, or any irregular shape!
Blacken To mark a cell completely black. In competition, it is sufficient to clearly indicate which cells are blackened. eg, by marking with an 'X'.
Orthogonally connected Cells connected by a mutual cell edge
optimisation puzzles There is not a unique answer. The aim is to configure an arrangement with the best score
neighbouring cells = orthogonally connected
surrounding cells cells touching the concerned cell, even by a point (orthogonally or diagonally).

Guidelines:
Loop puzzles (eg, Masyu & Every 2nd breakpoint) - There must be a single loop formed (unless otherwise stated), made by joining orthogonally connected cells by a straight line between the cell centre points.

Snake puzzles - Snakes are made from a series of orthogonally connected cells, with a start and end point. The cells forming the snake may not touch any other part of the snake, even diagonally.

Fence puzzles - Some puzzles are formed by drawing a single loop using the puzzle gridlines.

Mephisto
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Re: General Puzzle Rules & Definitions

Post by Mephisto » Sat 22 Jan, 2011 1:27 pm

"All puzzles must be logically solvable from the information given" --

What 'logically' is depends on the abilities of solver. For example, some of the more complex Sudoku solving methods - e.g. color chains - can be seen as trial & error by an average solver. Any "what if" analysis is some kind of trial & error: A "what if" analysis of depth 1 or 2 is usually seen as "logical" and a "what if" analysis of depth 9 or 10 is usually seen as trial & error. It's a grading problem where "logically" ends and "trial & error" begins.

Moreover, this definition excludes all optimization puzzles. Is this intended?

"All puzzles must have a unique solution. If not, it is considered a poor puzzle if not otherwise stated." --

If a puzzle has two solutions and the author is not willing to fix this he can simple state "two solutions" and all is fine? IMHO not. Let's look at chess problems: Usually, a chess problem has a singe solution. If it has several solutions, then these solutions must be somehow "thematic". [BTW: In chess terminology a poor puzzle is "cooked".]

detuned
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Re: General Puzzle Rules & Definitions

Post by detuned » Sat 22 Jan, 2011 2:52 pm

This is a good idea - get all the technical jargon down in one place!

Mephisto
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Re: General Puzzle Rules & Definitions

Post by Mephisto » Sat 22 Jan, 2011 3:42 pm

Room: A room is a set of (usually) orthogonally connected cells, usually surrounded by bold lines. In some puzzles the diagramm is divided into rooms (e.g. Heyawake, LITS, Country Road), in other puzzles the division into rooms is the solution of the puzzle (Fillomino, Galaxies, Burokku).

Area: An area is a set of (usually) orthogonally connected cells, not surrounded by bold lines, but defined otherwise. For example, all blackened cells in Nurikabe must form a single area of orthogonally connected cells and the embedded areas of white cells must not be orthogonally adjacent. The black cells must not form an area which includes a square of size 2x2.

Room/Area of orthogonally connected cells: Transitive closure of cells w.r.t. the orthogonally adjacent relation :-) Is there a better definition in plain English?

PuzzleScot
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Re: General Puzzle Rules & Definitions

Post by PuzzleScot » Sat 22 Jan, 2011 8:24 pm

It strikes me that this would all be much better in a wiki environment!

ronaldx
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Re: General Puzzle Rules & Definitions

Post by ronaldx » Sat 22 Jan, 2011 9:14 pm

It strikes me that this would all be much better in a wiki environment!
Don't really agree at all - it's better to have a discussion like this with an active editor (admittedly it requires someone to take charge) rather than anyone being able to change and overwrite good work.

PuzzleScot
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Re: General Puzzle Rules & Definitions

Post by PuzzleScot » Sat 22 Jan, 2011 9:40 pm

Actually, wikis have a page discussion area for debatable points, to try and establish a commonly accepted phrasing. Sensible contributors refer to those pages befrore editing the main article.

The main positive is that all the agreed points are in one area without all the discussion interfering.
eg, in a puzzle wiki, there would be puzzle rules, an example, solving tips/guides, maybe some history, and links to similar puzzles or examples.
While all that information *is* in these posts, it is disjointed, and would be clearer to the novice if presented as a concise document, which is what a wiki offers.

nickdeller
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Re: General Puzzle Rules & Definitions

Post by nickdeller » Sat 22 Jan, 2011 10:03 pm

I think it's best not to try to encapsulate "connected by an edge" and "touching at a point" into single words - it's clearer just to use the extra couple of words and take those two phrases (or some very similar construction) exactly as they stand. Yesno?

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