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A Puzzling Situation

Ricochet Robot 3.0 - The MetaPuzzle

In Ricochet Robot players compete to move Robots around the board. A token is revealed that matches a special square on the board. Players then compete to see who can move the matching color robot to that square in as few moves as possible. Robots can be moved in any of the four directions (up, down, left or right) but the problem is that once they start moving they continue until they hit a wall, the edge of the board or another robot!

The puzzle presented this month differs in that you're not trying to solve the puzzle but create it. Using the board below you are free to place the four robots in any position you like. The idea is that you want to make your placement as difficult as possible (ie. it takes more moves to solve than other placements). When making the puzzle you must specify which of the robots you need to get home.

Use the numbers/letters to show your initial setup and send it to:

This puzzle was originally suggested by Aaron Fuegi. Using a single board hopefully will make the problem a little more manageable. Of course the real problem with this puzzle is that we can't really tell if we've got the "right" solution. While we may be able to find the optimal solution to any particular setup there are about 64 million such setups! Still this is much easier than applying the same puzzle to a normal Ricochet Robot game in which there are over a trillion setups!

In any case, I'll review the more promising entries and post them in a future issue. Readers can then submit their best solutions to each and we can then crown the hardest puzzle of all.

- Greg Aleknevicus

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