Math Snake

Posted on by Gabriel | 2 comments
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The Math Snake is a Puzzle Crafthouse exclusive design, in collaboration with Ken Irvine, who wrote the program for the block layout.

There are two versions. One with only 7 blocks, with 1024 possible permutations, and the version I have, with 9 blocks and a whopping 16.384 different permutations. As if the seven block version weren't hard enough, I got the nine block version instead.

By rotating each individual block at a time, the goal is to have a valid equation on all four sides of the snake.

The nine blocks on the snake are held together by a string and have a few particularities: fortunately, each block has a number from 1 to only 4 engraved on it, otherwise the possibilities would been even higher; each block number is alternated by one with the four operations (+ -  ÷  x), and here, operation priority is not a taken into account; also, each block has a different sequence of numbers and operations. For example: by rotating counterclockwise, the first block number has a sequence of "1, 2, 3, 4", but the second has a different one of "1, 3, 2, 4", and so forth... The operation blocks follow this same logic.

I've had this puzzle for more than a month and have been trying to solve it since, although not exhaustively, as I've played with other puzzles as well. Suffice it to say, I haven't been able to solve it yet... The main problem has been to find a good strategy in order to get a more direct solution, instead of resorting to luck alone. Opening a 4-digit vault would be easier...

I believe that there's got to be a way to discard many of the possibilities by some sort of calculation, but I have no idea as to how I can do that. If by any chance, there's a math wiz reading this review, I would really appreciate some pointers. Not the solution, though.

Closing Comments:

For math lovers who like a challenge, the Math Snake is a perfect puzzle. Presentation wise, the design is really clever and the wooden blocks with the engraved numbers are worth taking a try, even if you're not that good at math.

To get a Math Snake, you can visit Puzzle Crafthouse website. One thing worth mentioning is the fact that there are more than 20 different solutions. Not on the same snake, though,but if you want, for example 10 snakes, just contact Puzzle Crafthouse customer service and they will provide you with your 10 different snake challenges. Great for schools or other projects.

2 comments:

Brian Barnhart said...

Not sure how long ago you reviewed this, but I've been trying to solve the same 9 cube snake for a while, with no results. Have you had any more progress?

Gabriel said...

The date is in the address. I kind of given up on it shortly after the review. It's too complex for my brain :P

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