Saturday, June 07, 2014

Types of Puzzle

Puzzle Classification
Part 1
 Well back in 2012 we took a look at what defined a puzzle, we decided after some experimentation that it was all in the method. A question commands an answer from memory or from a given method. A puzzle asks you to find the method yourself.

Today we begin the epic task of sorting all of the hundreds of type of puzzles into categories.

You’ll no doubt have noticed that each post has a coloured jigsaw piece in it’s introduction, as do the individual puzzles within them. These pieces indicate the kind of post you’ll be reading, as well as the subject matter of the puzzles.

At Wandering Puzzler we divide those puzzles, into six categories, although so far we've only used five of them in our posts and videos. Today I want to take you through the different kinds of puzzles, as well as the other blog post types we’ll have.

Number Puzzles have a red jigsaw piece and deal with all things in the world of mathematics. Here you’ll find puzzles that require algebra and geometry to solve, tests of mental arithmetic as well as puzzles involving decision mathematics like network and algorithm based puzzles.

Number puzzles frighten a lot of people, because they remember their old maths classes whenever confronted with them. However the wonder of number puzzles is not in the actual mathematics, but in discovering that a complex problem can be broken down into such simple terms as an equation.

We use yellow at Wandering Puzzler for Wordplay puzzles are all about language, usually English. That doesn't just go for English puzzle writers by the way, the depth and breadth of the English language offers up a wide variety of puzzles that just aren't possible in other languages. Of course, other languages have puzzles that don't work in English too.

Cryptic crosswords, riddles, and Anagrams all sit within the wordplay category, and the skills you need lie in understanding the structure of words, knowing the various meanings of words and in understanding how to manipulate them.

Green puzzles are all about logic, of course you could argue that number puzzles are logical, as are other kings, but at Wandering Puzzler we understand logic puzzles to be all about pure understanding. The answer is always apparent in logic puzzles, no leaps of faith are needed.

Examples of logic puzzles include sudoku, battleships, sequences and many traditional intelligence tests. A clear mind and an ability to work through problems step by step are the skills needed to unlock the solutions to logic puzzles.

Our dark blue puzzles are all about spatial awareness, a close cousin of the logic puzzle, spatial awareness is all about being able to manipulate objects in space, either physically as in a jigsaw or mentally as in a spot the difference.

Spatial awareness runs the gamut from word search games to three dimensional construction puzzles like those seen in The Krypton Factor. The skills used in spatial awareness puzzles could also make you an excellent navigator and driver.

Light Blue puzzles on the blog are from the mysterious world of lateral thinking. If logic puzzles are all about the answer being right there, in what you can see, lateral thinking puzzles have their answers in the things you can't see.

Highly situational and often using clever tricks and unusual properties of the real world lateral thinking puzzles are some of the most challenging, but most rewarding puzzles. Often a lateral thinking puzzle that seems easy to one person, will be difficult to another person, so assessing their difficulty is tough.   

The sixth kind of puzzle is something you're unlikely to find on Wandering Puzzler, and that is the knowledge based puzzle; better known as the quiz. Finally on the blog we use purple for posts that have a variety of puzzles, or are talking generally about puzzling, like this one. Purple posts are great for background information, and often have more in depth information like The Christmas Investigations.

Hopefully this should help you navigate to the kind of content you like best!

Until next time, keep on puzzling.

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