Schedule for Next Week

Our last week of puzzles, including Balance Loop and Tapa (Islands), can be found in this PDF.

This week marks a new paperback book release for us. The Colossal Cave Collection by Roger Barkan, which has been in our e-store for several months, is now available in print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine retailers. We’ll be posting some puzzles from the book, as well as one special new variation from Roger, throughout the week.

Cave by Roger Barkan

We are planning to release Logic Puzzles 101 and then The Art of Puzzles in paperback form this February and March. Besides print versions of existing titles, we are on track to release ~12 e-books this year. This weekend our grandmaster patrons received an early release of the first section (Yajilin and Double Yajilin) from The Art of Puzzles 2: Double Trouble. The e-book will be in our store soon, but if you want to be sure to get all our e-books early then please click here for more info.

Balance Loop Rules and Info

Example Balance Loop and solution

Rules: Draw a single, non-intersecting loop that passes through all cells with circles; the loop may either go straight through or turn at each circle. All white circles must have loop segments of equal length extending from both sides of the circle before turning. All black circles must have loop segments of unequal length extending from both sides of the circle before turning. Numbers, where given, indicate the sum of the loop segment lengths on both sides of the circle. (Note that the total counts are not affected by other circles being crossed before turning.)

Answer String: Enter the length in cells of the horizontal loop segments from left to right in the marked rows, starting at the top. If the loop only has vertical segments in the marked row, enter 0. Separate each row’s entry with a comma. This example has the key “12,12,11,11”.

(Brief) History of Balance Loop: Balance Loop was created by Prasanna Seshadri and debuted in 2015 on Grandmaster Puzzles. The style arose from trying to bring length clues (such as in Cave or Four Winds) to loop puzzles. Besides the numeric clues, a critical addition to the rules was the concept of “balance” with colored circles indicating equal versus unequal splits of the segments extending from a given cell. The graphical style was inspired by Masyu, which also uses white and black circles to denote cells with somewhat opposite rules.

History of this example: This Balance Loop was written by Prasanna Seshadri for the 2015 Indian Puzzle Championship.

Sources for Balance Loop puzzles: Follow this link for classic Balance Loop puzzles on this website and this link for variations on Balance Loop puzzles. If you are new to this puzzle type, here are our easiest Balance Loop puzzles to get started on. More Balance Loops can be found in our beginner-friendly collection Intro to GMPuzzles by Serkan Yürekli and in Balance Loop by Prasanna Seshadri and Murat Can Tonta.

Design rules for contributors: A Grandmaster Balance Loop will have a unique solution that can be reached by logic alone. Generally, a Grandmaster Balance Loop should have some aspects of symmetry, or a theme that is interesting enough to not require symmetry. Sizes from 8×8 and above are recommended (maximum aspect ratio of 2:1 if rectangular).

Schedule for Next Week

I will eventually have a longer write-up with some stats from 2014 and other updates here (probably next weekend). Until then, I hope you enjoyed our look back at our Best Puzzles of 2014 and are excited for the start of new puzzles again tomorrow. This coming week will have a variety mix, including several with a familiar theme for this time of year:

Monday: Sudoku by Prasanna Seshadri
Tuesday: Cave (Product) by Grant Fikes
Wednesday: Slitherlink by Grant Fikes
Thursdays: Skyscrapers (Sum) by Thomas Snyder
Friday: Pentopia by Grant Fikes
Saturday: Battleships by Thomas Snyder

The bonus puzzle for our high-level supporters will also be a Pentominous by Grant Fikes.

Schedule for Next Week

All the puzzles from last week have been grouped in this PDF.

This year we are alternating between “variety” weeks with lots of puzzle styles and “focused” weeks with one/two related puzzle styles that get developed from easy to hard over the course of the week. Next week will focus on the following puzzle type (highlight to view):

Cave (Classic and Product Variation)

If you enjoy our puzzles, please consider becoming a patron of GMPuzzles. See the top of the sidebar for more info.

Best of 2013: Region Division Puzzles

Fillomino and Cave are the two major Region Division styles we have here at GMPuzzles, and 2013 saw 39 puzzles across this space. The favorites here span the calendar year.

Standard Fillominoes formed many of your most favorite puzzles. While it was one of the more recent puzzles, Grant’s 28-dice opus #8 received a good ratio of fave votes to solves.

Fillomino by Grant Fikes

In July, after Palmer debuted as a contributor here, his seventh puzzle with an Antisymmetric Ones theme received your votes.

Fillomino by Palmer Mebane

And perhaps because of the challenge (our hard puzzles seem to be more favored than our easier ones), Squeeze Play from March also made the final cut.

Fillomino by Thomas Snyder

These two cave puzzles slightly edged out Fillomino at the very top this year though. Almost Perfect 10? from our initial release of Cave puzzles got high marks.

Cave by Thomas Snyder

But the Region Division Puzzle with the most votes was this Cave (Product) variation from early April. We’ll certainly see if we can provide more of this Product variety in the future.

Cave by Thomas Snyder

You’ll find all these puzzles grouped in this PDF.