Thursday, June 28, 2007

Backwards Brainteaser and New Fortnightly Puzzler / Old Puzzler Answer


The Backwards Brainteaser Game


I came up with this little game/brainteaser several months ago. I've mentioned it casually here on Gone Gaming, but I held off showing it because I was searching for a publisher. So far no bites, so I'm debuting it here. I think it should be a computer game because of the unusual movement mechanism, but I'll let you be the final judge. Instead of the usual brainteaser and article, this will stand in for both.


If anyone has any interest in this beyond casual playing, please contact me at smattathias@gmail.com. If you feel the urge to share it with others, please give me credit.


For the puzzle I'll be sharing today, you will need the following:


7 pennies

1 nickel

1 dime (or pawn of any sort)

1 pen

1 sheet of paper


Using the pen, draw a 2 x 9 grid on the piece of paper so that each unit comfortably holds any coin. Label the vertical axis A and B so that the A is next to the bottom row and B next to the top row. Label the horizontal axis 1 through 9, left to right. The labeling should look like this:


B

A

__1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9__


To practice how the movement works, I want to show you two different scenarios.

Place pennies on A3, A4, A5, A6, and A7 (we won't be using the B row in the example. Place the dime (or pawn) on A7; this is you.


The movement rules are as follows:


1) When you move in a given orthogonal direction (N, S, E, or W) and DO NOT land on the last penny in that direction, the furthest penny in that direction will move to the next available spot in the opposite direction (the demonstration of this will be much simpler than the language makes it out to be).


2) When you move in a given orthogonal direction and DO land on the last penny in that direction, nothing happens and the layout remains the same.


3) You may move in any orthogonal direction (N, S, E, W), go back and forth, cross your path multiple times, etc. In short, you may go anywhere.


To get back to the example, move the dime (or pawn) from A7 to A6. This action triggers a movement so that the penny on A3 moves to A8. You moved west; the penny moved east to the next available spot.


Now move to A5. This triggers another movement; the penny on A4 moves to A9. In addition, if you moved back to A6, the penny on A9 would move to A4.


Now, let's try the second scenario. Place pennies on A3, A4, A5, and A6 only. Place the dime (or pawn) on A6.


Once again, move the dime to the west to A5. This triggers the normal movement so that the penny on A3 moves to A7.


Now move west once more to A4. There are no more pennies to the west; therefore, nothing happens and the layout remains the same.


Without further ado, here's today's puzzle:


Place the nickel on A2. The nickel is like a penny in that it takes up a space, but it is unlike a penny in that it is completely immobile.


Now place pennies on A4, A5, A6, A7, B4, B5, and B6. Finally, place the dime (or pawn) on A7.

Your goal is to move the dime and make it land on the nickel. And just an FYI: because of the rules, moving north or south in this particular puzzle will trigger no movement.


What is the fastest solution? Write smattathias@gmail.com, and I'll post the first person to get it. Good luck!


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Old Puzzler Q & A


Q: & (the 'and' sign) : ampersand :: # (the 'pound' sign) : ____?____


A: OCTOTHORPE (and variations on the word as well)

3 comments:

Bill Shirley said...

Edit:
Place the penny (or pawn) on A7; this is you.
to:
Place the dime (or pawn) on A7; this is you.

Bill Shirley said...

¿Did you mean to add:
You can only move orthogonally on to an adjacent penny (or nickel).

smatt said...

Hi Bill,

Whoops! Thanks a ton. You got it right on both counts.