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Grid Puzzle

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A Stock Puzzle that presents a grid, and a bunch of elements that must be put in appropriate cells of the grid. There are usually constraints in which elements must or cannot be placed in the same rows, in the same columns, in the same diagonals, or touching on certain cell boundaries. The constraints may or may not determine a unique solution.

Unlike the sliding block puzzles (such as 15 Puzzle and Klotski) and Rubik's Cube, there are no restrictions on the way elements can be repositioned, except for possibly a few cells fixed at the start. Once you think you have figured out a solution, you're free to put any available elements where you think they ought to be. (The selection and availability of elements is non-random, too.)

Usually the grid is square, but it need not be quadrilateral; it could even have irregular boundaries.



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  • Cliff Johnson's games (The Fool's Errand, At The Carnival, 3 in Three) include several variations, such as unscrambling a picture, a map, or a crossword. Some used irregular grids.
  • In Riven, the Fire Marble Puzzle is one of these. You must deduce where to place the six colored spheres in a 25x25 grid. Overlaps with Enter Solution Here, since you're just re-creating a map. The trick is gathering the information to make the map, then figuring out the precise positioning through trial and error.
  • A couple of puzzles in Logical Journey of the Zoombinis.
    • Mudball Wall has a grid with the color and shape of the ball determining which cell gets hit; "Very Hard" and "Very Very Hard" adds a second color inside the shape. On "Oh So Hard" and "Very Very Hard", one variable doesn't correspond directly to its position in the grid, but a pattern still applies to it (e.g., the top row's shape order might be square-star-triangle-circle-diamond but the next row is star-triangle-circle-diamond-square).
    • Hotel Dimensia requires Zoombinis be sorted by one of their features per dimension of the room grid. The size of the hotel corresponds with the difficulty: on "Not So Easy" there's only one dimension (sort by one of the four Zoombini features), on "Oh So Hard" and "Very Hard" the hotel expands to two dimensions (one feature for the row, another for the column; "Very Hard" has some rooms blocked off because of Fleens wrecking them), and "Very Very Hard" has three dimensions (the third one achieved by subdividing each of the rooms into a suite with five rooms apiece).
  • The true ending of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors ends with such a puzzle. In the original DS release it's sudoku; in the later re-releases it's a number-base puzzle.
  • In the video game adaptation of Callahans Crosstime Saloon, a simple marbles-in-the-holes puzzle is used to guard the ancient temple. The game then offers you a selection of more difficult puzzles that have nothing to do with the plot but hey, we designed the interface, might as well use it more than once ...