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What Makes a Good Hanjie Puzzle?

What makes a good hanjie puzzle? In terms of the actual imagery itself. We'd be interested in your thoughts.

For most people there seems little doubt that part of the fun of hanjie is creating a simple piece of art at the end of the puzzle, as opposed to, say, a grid full of a random pattern. This is interesting as many puzzles do not have this element - solve a sudoku, kakuro or a word puzzle such as a crossword, and there is nothing other than the satisfaction of having solved the puzzle.

Would you be happy to solve hanjie puzzles where the resulting image was a random array of dots, rather than being an image? We'd be interested to know your thoughts - if you were, then we could consider adding some such puzzles to this site.

When it comes to the actual images that make up standard hanjie puzzles, most people prefer it when the art goes right to the edges rather than having blank rows and columns containing zeroes that are to be marked in as blanks straightaway. Interestingly, since grids tend to be in multiples of five, for the hanjie artist who creates the imagery, it can be very tricky to do this. And in order to create a valid puzzle, the art created by the designer may have to be amended considerably to create a fair puzzle with a single solution that can be solved without guessing.

Another interesting question is around symmetry in hanjie images: do you like it or not? Some solvers find it frustrating as they can't help but 'know' that certain squares must be shaded in due to symmetry and this they say puts them off the solve process, whilst others are quite able to ignore what they suspect and focus on the logic to prove that it is the case. And generally - do you tend to use the image, if it is something recognisable, to guide you in the solve process as to what goes where, or do you ignore the image as much as possible and only really look at it once you have finished?

We'd be interested to know your thoughts so do contact us and we'll share any interesting viewpoints on this page. Or perhaps you would like to create your own hanjie images and puzzles for others to play on this site? Again if so, please just get in touch.