Why variants?

For fans of Killer Sudoku, Samurai Sudoku and other variants

Postby udosuk » Sun Jul 02, 2006 12:59 am

By no means have I ever questioned the arithmetical ability of r.e.s. (and Luna)... I know many people who claim to hate maths actually have a great mathematical mind (just they don't like to use it)... And many professional accountants feel sick in sight of numbers once they're off work...:)

r.e.s. wrote:AFAICS in this thread, no-one has been disrespectful of others' preferences.

You're absolutely right. And hopefully it will stay that way...:D
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Re: Why variants?

Postby tso » Thu Jul 06, 2006 5:06 pm

Murray Whyte wrote:I'm interested to know why you create/play variants? Are the traditional 9 x 9's just not hard enough anymore for people who have been hard-core players for so long?

It is my opinion that questions like this have no meaning. The number of different abstract strategy games is in the 1000s. The number of chess variants alone is in the 1000s. The number of different types of logic puzzles is in the 1000s. Do I play GO because I find Chess too easy? Do I eat fish because I find chicken boring? A reporter will always get someone to answer *every possible answer* to questions like this. The reader of the article will learn *nothing* about the subject, nothing about interviewee -- just something about the writer's (most likely pre-formed) opnions -- often the person least qualified to have one.

And how long have variants been around? I know the Sudoku craze has only been in the last couple of years, but the game has been around for nearly 30. Are variants a relatively new thing, tied to the massive, recent popularity?

I have a stack of Japanese puzzle magazines 5 to 10 years old. They're crammed full of variants. Sudoku of smaller and larger size, with diagonals, overlapping, sequential, disjoint and extra groups are all common. Very few magazines do *not* have some or all of these variations. The Kakuro/Sudoku hybrid aka "Killer" is less common. There are many other less common variants.

The variation that was most rare before the craze is simply puzzles hard enough or complex enough to require most or all solvers to use pencilmarks copiously. Published number place in Dell magazines were (and are) ridiculously simple, no tougher than a word search. Puzzles in Japanese publications are rarely so hard as to require pencil marks by the best solvers, and if they were, only sparingly. This is the level of most puzzles published in newspapers, magazines and books. However, in this forum, elsewhere on the web, a growing number of software apps -- and some newspapers -- puzzles that would have been considered unsuitable for publication previously are available.
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