# Help Design a Puzzle?

I should probably post this in General Game Design, because the Collaborators page doesn’t get much activity … but here goes.

I could use a little help brainstorming one particular puzzle in the too-large game I have been intermittently working on. I’ve realized that this particular snag is what’s keeping me from getting back to work on the game, so a second set of ideas might be very helpful. The game, BTW, is a direct sequel to my very first game, “Not Just an Ordinary Ballerina” (1999).

It’s a logic puzzle. It’s not going to be simple (it’s one of the nastier puzzles in the game, I suspect), but it needs to be manageable for the player, and possibly even fun, if you like that sort of thing. And of course the game will have a built-in hint system for the benefit of people whose brains bleed when they encounter logic puzzles.

It involves five guys (the canonical Al, Bob, Chuck, Dave, and Ed) who will together give you a bunch of hints about what page to consult in a very large book. The trouble is, a couple of the guys are pathological liars – and you don’t know which of them are the liars. So it’s a two-stage puzzle. First they will chatter about something irrelevant, such as their golf scores (five guys in a foursome? whatever). By deciphering the chatter, the player will be able to determine logically who the liars are. That will make it possible to figure out what they’re telling you about the information in the book.

You can perhaps see why designing this has proven to be a bit of a stumbling block.

If you have any experience with this type of puzzle (which was very popular at one time – I have a book full of them) and would like to lend a hand, please let me know!

I’d recommend looking at it from a formal logic standpoint first. Determine which of them are liars, then come up with some statements from that (e.g. if A represents Al’s statements B represents Bob’s, and so on, then A <-> B means “Al confirmed Bob’s story (or vice-versa)”, (A^C)VD <-> B means “Bob said that either Dave is telling the truth, or both Al and Chuck are”, etc.) using propositional logic. Once you have a set of statements, check if you can get the original values of A, B, C, D, and E from them, then adapt them to a golf game or whatever.

EDIT: I just noticed which forum this was in. I’d be interested.

I wrote a program for solving logic puzzles back in 1999 for solving logic puzzles–the kind published in the mags in supermarkets. It was shareware and I got very discouraged as lots of people used it and only one person paid. It was written for people wanting to write logic puzzles for the logic puzzle magazines as a way to check if their logic was correct.
I still sell the logic puzzles Dave’s Logic Puzzles on Nook, Kindle, etc. I’ve attached the instructions so you can see if my program might be of use to you.
InstructionsLogic.txt (15.9 KB)

Thanks for the offer. I did manage to wrestle this one into submission, and one of the kind souls on this forum checked it for me to make sure it was soluble.