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Creating your own Puzzle

Creating your own puzzle can be a very interesting and rewarding process, although as with any creative process it can also be frustrating.

Are there any guidelines when coming up with a new puzzle that will help to make it good, and therefore potentially be successful?

Well, many people suggest, and it seems a reasonable idea, that if you do create a new puzzle, the rules of the puzzle should be quite simple.

When you look at the most successful puzzles - like crossword and sudoku - the rules of each game can be stated in one sentence.

There may be puzzles that are more fun, but the simplicity of these puzzles is surely at least part of the reason why they are to be seen everywhere.

So, the first suggestion is not to overcomplicate things. Don't keep on adding rule upon rule, if there are too many then the learning curve may put too many people off what could otherwise be a wonderful puzzle.

Secondly, you should aim to create a type of puzzle whereby various levels of difficulty are possible and various logical moves can be discovered by the player as they start solving the puzzle. If the puzzle is of the sort where if you've solved one, then you've solved them all, then players will soon tire of it.

Again with sudoku many people enjoy learning new tactics they can use and there are whole websites dedicated to lots of weird techniques that can be used with all sorts of fanciful names.

Avoid a puzzle where you have to make much use of guessing (and possibly any use - certainly if you ever must guess make it reasonable such as one that either works to the solution or results in a contradiction very quickly).

As for the subject of the puzzle and what it involves, well that is entirely up to you. Whether it is a word, logic, number or indeed some other type of puzzle that is where the creativity comes in.

One other consideration: if you are hoping to promote and ultimately sell the puzzle make sure that however it is presented is a process you can automate, as if you are successful you don't want to be spending all your time manually creating PDFs!

Once your puzzle is made and created, you could give it to some friends for their feedback, and tweak accordingly until you are happy with the rules. Sometimes making small changes to the rules can result in a much better puzzle.

Finally, once that is done and you are happy with the puzzle and are receiving positive feedback, the final step, if you are interested in selling your product, is to start approaching puzzle companies and producers... good luck!
Date written: 24 Nov 2010

Category: creativity | Keywords: creating a puzzle

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