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   Author  Topic: In the MIT Mystery Hunt  (Read 1840 times)
Llanmal
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In the MIT Mystery Hunt
« on: Mar 11th, 2012, 8:34pm »
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For the MIT Mystery Hunt this year, I wrote a puzzle involving 3 arimaa puzzles very loosely disguised as chess.  The puzzle page is here:  http://www.mit.edu/~puzzle/12/okla_holmes_a/zugzwaang/
 
When the competition was run January 13-15th this year, at least 16 of the teams solved this particular puzzle.  Much of the challenge of the puzzle was in recognizing it as arimaa, and at least some of the teams had not previously known how to play.
 
I hope you all enjoy and can forgive the non-canon counting of steps/moves.
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Boo
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Re: In the MIT Mystery Hunt
« Reply #1 on: Mar 12th, 2012, 6:00am »
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And so what are the answers? Tried to solve them but can't see goal in 1 in any of the pictures.  
I get confused with 'win in 0.75+'. Does it mean 'win in 3 steps?'  or 'Win in more than 3 steps?'.  
And also don't get what the 'remove all vowels', '+8', etc has to do with arimaa. Wink Wow those really are mysterious puzzles Wink
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Hippo
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Re: In the MIT Mystery Hunt
« Reply #2 on: Mar 12th, 2012, 7:26am »
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I had problems either as there are multiple different move solutions and even the number of steps is not unique.
(At least in the third puzzle). There is of course problem with board orientation and piece matching generating a lot of possibilities.
 
And yes the notation with quarters leads to arimaa but I cannot find a solution matching given number of quarters.
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ginrunner
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Re: In the MIT Mystery Hunt
« Reply #3 on: Mar 12th, 2012, 2:28pm »
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The steps part is partially correct (unless I missed something glaringly obvious). The first one gold can create a  zugzwang win in three steps and again a zugzwang win 4 on the second which based on what the title of the page is I am assuming are the correct answers. I havent gotten the third puzzle yet because I don't think in 5 move combinations. Does the opponent move in between?
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Llanmal
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Re: In the MIT Mystery Hunt
« Reply #4 on: Mar 12th, 2012, 4:58pm »
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On Answers:  
 
If you just want to see the solution without working it out, in the far upper-right of your screen, there should be a link that says "solution", which takes you here: http://www.mit.edu/~puzzle/12/okla_holmes_a/zugzwaang/solution/
 
 
On the letter board being unrelated to arimaa:
 
The answer to every Mystery Hunt puzzle is a word or phrase, which then feed into later puzzles.  The board is a hack to make the final answer be the word I was assigned.  Not very elegant, I'm afraid.
 
My original proposal involved having the arimaa notation spell words (like silver goaling by moving a cat east and then a rabbit east then south, spelling "ceres".)  One of these began life as a puzzle where the winning sequence spelled "DesCenDs".  We didn't need the word "descends" to be an answer, but people liked the idea, so we ended up with this.
 
 
On cryptic-ness and lack of instructions:
 
This is actually fairly verbose as far as Mystery Hunt puzzles go - often the solver is given no instructions at all.  For instance, we had a puzzle this year which was just a video of mimes in Paris here: http://www.mit.edu/~puzzle/12/betsy_johnson/slash_fiction/ .   For even more minimal puzzles, check out http://www.mit.edu/~puzzle/12/betsy_johnson/the_measure_of_all_things/ or http://www.mit.edu/~puzzle/12/ogre_of_la_mancha/jfk_shags_a_sad_slim_las s/  So it's par for the course for this competition and audience.  But bear in mind that people are solving these things in teams of anywhere from 4 to 200+ people, and there is no shame in finding yourself lost and adrift as an individual solver.  I have experienced the same on many occasions.
 
 
ginrunner:  
 
Yes
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