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Sat, 05 Sep 2015

What strategy tips will help me solve Futoshiki puzzles?

There are two rules that you can carry over from sudoku to help solve the futoshiki puzzle.

The first of these is to see what values can possibly go in each cell, e.g. from 1 - 5 in a 5 x 5 grid, obeying the rule that each number must be placed exactly once in each region.

The second rule is to look where a number can go within a region (here, a row or column) rather than at the level of the individual cell. These are the two most used rules from sudoku so should be familiar.

There are also other rules you can use, for instance what is sometimes called AB elimination, for instance if within a region two cells both have these candidates '21' then you know that one must be 1 and the other must be 2, therefore you can eliminate these numbers from other cells in that region.

The other key difference of course to sudoku is to use the inequalities to help work out what goes where.

If you have cell a > cell b, then you can eliminate 1 from cell a and 5 from cell b straight away for instance.

There are also rules that apply from having more than one inequality in a region or from a cell. For instance if you have this:
cell a < cell b > cell c

... then you know that cell b must be 3,4,5 - it cannot be 2 as two cells must be less than it. Note this works because the two cells it is greater than are in the same region, if another cell it was greater than was in a different region then obviously the same logic would not apply.

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