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Monday, November 9, 2015

Good Fences: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 4
When my friend Nicola Salmoria tweets about a good puzzle game, I pay attention. Craig S. Kaplan's Good Fences has made me actually enjoy a polyomino puzzle.
Description from the App Store:
Good Fences is a fiendishly difficult solitaire game that combines Sudoku-like logical deduction with geometric intuition and spatial reasoning. The idea is simple: build a Good Fence by surrounding a shape with copies of itself. Sound easy? Well, OK, sometimes we throw in a gimme to lull you into a false sense of security. But can you then completely surround a shape using the smallest possible number of copies? How about the largest possible number? And if you can do that, can you also build a fence around your fence, that is, a second level of surround? You'll discover that some of these challenges require persistence and ingenuity.

Good Fences is a virtual book of over 100 puzzle shapes, adding up to over 400 individual challenges. It will provide many hours of frustration, torment, mental exhaustion, stimulation, entertainment, and, ultimately, redemption. The interface is easy to use, and the colours are bright and friendly. The app doesn't display ads or otherwise consume internet bandwidth, and has no in-app purchases or upgrades.

My thoughts:
1. The first objective is to surround the piece with copies of itself. Reflections and rotations are fine.
2. The second objective is to surround the piece with the minimum number of copies.
2. The third objective is to surround the piece with the maximum number of copies.
4. I am very impressed with the mathematics and the overall presentation.
5. I'm not a purist. I'm perfectly content to solve puzzles without being perfectly efficient.
6. Some of them are quite hard.  I'm thinking of the shape that looks like a swan.
7. Good Fences is a strong contender for a 2015 PAGY nomination.

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