There’s been a significant increase in traffic to this blog ever since I posted the Numbrix™ puzzle variant at the end of July. For that, I thank you all for visiting.
This week, Barnes and Noble displayed a book by Dr. Gyora Benedek, called Hidato (A Hebrew word meaning: My Puzzle). Dr. Benedek writes an excellent (short) autobiography. The book itself contains variously sized and shaped grids including non-square (and non-quadrilateral) ones. Some web-based 10 x 10 grids have an interesting characteristic in that the middle 4 cells are darkened, indicating that they are not in play, leaving 96 cells to the playing area.
Hidato™ appears to be a generalization of Numbrix™ in two senses: Hidato™ distributes the starting numbers over the entire planar grid rather than at the edges and Hidato™ permits paths to be diagonal as well as horizontal and vertical. Both variants have the same objective, to fill in a path that sequentially leads from 1 to the ending number, thereby covering the entire grid without a sequence disconnection or duplication of numbers.
Having the horizontal, vertical and diagonal path choices for the next or previous number reminds me of the (computer) game called Minesweeper. In that game, you are faced with choosing the next cell that doesn’t have a mine hidden in it. In Hidato™, the choice is the next in the sequence being placed properly.
Typically, you’ll be connecting sequence segments based on the starting numbers. Luckily, the connectedness of the overall sequence requires that local neighborhoods of numbers be near in value. What provides a challenge is that It is possible that multiple such sequences may be intermixed.
The main site that publishes Hidato™ puzzles is hidato.com, operated by Gameblend Studios, LLC. This site licenses daily Hidato™ puzzles of varying difficulty to a variety of web based sites, all marred by the same jarring soundtrack, which can eventually be turned off in the options.
I like the Seattle Times version of the Hidato™ site. Its Novice setting shows the next or previous missing number in the sequence on both the grid as well as a linear bar at the bottom of the grid, which is used to highlight any missing number for possible placements. It also offers a checking facility for a partial solution, to keep you on the right track.
On the negative side, there’s no facility for saving the current state of the puzzle (without printing it) and when you print the puzzle out, it does not let you return to the puzzle to continue with it.
See also an article dated July 31, 2008 by Ben Steelman for the starnewsonline.com about how Hidato™ evolved.
Have a good time with this variant. This is just the beginning for it.