Friday, September 08, 2006

Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection

Title: Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection
Author: Simon Tatham
License: MIT License

Simon Tatham has programmed up a wonderful collection of 24 mini puzzle games. Each is a stand alone program which implements a different puzzle type. While not super polished, all 24 programs have simple interfaces and each provides a great way to kill a few minutes. Each program comes with a huge (virtually unlimited) number of puzzles.

Most are old stand-bys. These include Black Box, Bridges, Domino, Fifteen, Mastermind, Slitherlink, Mindsweeper, Nonogram, Peg solitaire, Sudoku, Same Game, Tents, and Planarity. Just because they are old stand-bys, doesn't mean they are not fun. I really like his version of Bridges. I have played it more than any of the others in the collection.

I want to highlight four of the programs which struck me in one way or another.


This is not really a new puzzle type, but I have never seen a computer version before. You have to partition up the grid into rectangles so that each contains one number, and this number must equal the size of the rectangle. The interface is simple, just click one corner and drag to the other corner to mark a rectangle.


The famous four color theorem says that any map with connected regions can be colored with four colors so that no neighboring regions have the same color. This game generates a random map and you have to color it. While there is a theorem that you can four color any map, as you find out in this game, there is no easy algorithm to do it.


You have to collect all of the gems without hitting a bomb. You can move your marker orthogonally or diagonal, but inertia keeps it going until it hits a wall, a circular stopping point, or sadly a bomb. You have to very carefully plan ahead.


You roll the cube or other polyhedron to collect all of the blue tiles. Each face of the cube can absorb one blue tile. You have to figure out how to roll the cube so that each face collects one blue tile. These puzzles can be quite hard.

A similar set of little puzzle games is mindgames.


At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been working on an new Windows Mobile port of this puzzle collection.

This port works on both the Pocket PC and Smartphone platforms.

More details can be found on my blog at


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