6x6 plank-puzzle collection
Introducing a collection of new plank puzzles to accompany the clickmazes 2020 reboot focussed on exploiting the 6x6 grid. Each puzzle below utilises a different combination of planks (lengths 1, 2, 3 and 4) and up to 6 planks total.
These puzzles start easy and ramp up pretty quickly. The intention was not however to tease-out the hardest possible puzzle with each plank combination, it was to explore the extra variety that one extra row and column could offer. After many hundreds of man-hours eeking the very best out of the 5x5 grid, I felt I had exhausted all aspects of its puzzling capacity. So was there something new to discover on 6x6? Was P4 a useful or interesting addition? Could an extra P2 or P3 add an extra AHA?
In a future update I plan to document what 20 years of swamp exploration has taught me and analyse the different strategies that underpin a good design. For now, I will leave you to explore...
Motivation - secondary goal
There was a secondary goal in hand-designing this new collection, which was to try and beat an early record set by SwampBeast of 36 moves (on the 6x6 grid). The final puzzle achieves this with a shortest solution of 38 plank moves. Despite the many years refining my designing skills on the 5x5 grid, the challenge of beating SwampBeast was harder than I expected. And to be fair to SwampBeast it was configured to search with just 3 planks only (lengths 1,2,3) and to stop when it hit 36 moves. So, kudos to SwampBeast (as always) and I think this leaves an intriguing open question... could Swampbeast, or a similar puzzle-mutation-engine, further improve on abbc-38 if it was given it as a starting point?
The observant may well notice that the swamp here looks somewhat different compared with previous pages. This is because it a fresh implementation in HTML5 provided by Jeremy Miller of Cornell University in 2017. Aside from the colour-scheme the key notable difference is that the accessible planks are highlighted in this version, rather than the accessible tree-stumps.
concept - © Andrea Gilbert - 2001
maze designs - © Andrea Gilbert - 2020
HTML5 implementation - © Jeremy D. Miller - 2017
hosted with permission from Jeremy D. Miller