More Information about the GAMES Rolling-Slab maze

More Information about the GAMES Rolling-Slab Maze:

The main feature of this maze is its loopiness. I was able to create two loops that completely circle the layout. There are other paths that form semi-circles; that is, they go almost all the way around the layout but I wasn’t able to connect the two ends. All these paths (both the circles and the semi-circles) connect with each other at various points, creating a network you can spend a long time looping around. The best hint I can give is if you appear to be going around a loop, just look for an exit from the loop.

Once you’ve solved the maze (or if you’ve given up and want the solution), you might take a look at my partial map of the maze. This has 52 rectangles, numbered from 0 (the start) to 51 (the goal). These show the footprints of the slab as it follows the shortest path to the goal. I also show the footprints of the two loops that go completely around the layout. One is shown in green and the other in red. The path to the goal follows the green loop for only one move—from footprint 6 to footprint 7. Of course, you could go around the green loop in the other direction, adding 14 moves to the solution. Curiously, the solution does not use any part of the red loop, and the red loop has only two connections to the rest of the maze (these are at the two footprints I marked with an x). However, the red loop is still an important part of the maze, because it is a good source of confusion. It’s easy to fall into the red loop, and if you do, you’ll go around and around before you figure you have to find a way out.

By the way, drawing the footprints of a block as it moves through a layout is a good way to solve any of these mazes. A nice thing about this web site is you can print out many copies of the layouts and draw on them. That’s hard to do with a book.

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