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Xyzzy "Best Individual Puzzle" winners

Recommendations by Nusco (Bologna, Italy)

All the games that won the Best Individual Puzzle award, year by year. I'll avoid giveaway spoilers in my comments, but I'll still comment on the type and difficulty of the puzzle.

I'll describe the puzzles by my own categories. Categories are fuzzy, and a puzzle can belong to multiple categories.

In the typical manipulation puzzle, you usually experiment with the game's items until you get enough feedback from the game to finally nail the right sequence of actions. If you cut a tree with an axe, then use the wood to build a raft and sail to the pirates' island, that's a manipulation puzzle.

You solve a logic puzzle by thinking about it rather than by trial and error. Once you find the solution, you'll probably know it's going to work even before typing it in. The Enigma machine in Jigsaw is a logic puzzle.

A combination puzzle is IF's equivalent of a quasi-mathematical puzzle like Rubik's cube. To solve a combination puzzle, you usually experiment until you understand the logic behind the puzzle, and then you apply that logic to get to the right sequence of actions. Many puzzles that involve unknown machinery and devices work like this.

You solve a lateral thinking puzzle by thinking out of the box and doing something that might not come natural by reading the puzzle's description. Lateral thinking puzzles tend to surprise you with unexpected solutions.

A language puzzle requires you to play with words, or learn and apply an in-game language.

A worldview puzzle is based on your environment and the game's map. Mazes and other puzzles where you need to understand your environment are examples of worldview puzzles.

A multiplay puzzle requires multiple attempts to get right (they're usually combination puzzles), and failed attempts usually mean starting the game anew. You're expected to play the game again and again until you've pieced together a solution. "Eliminating your opponents" in Varicella is a good example.

An investigation puzzle involves a lot of observation and piecing information together to come to a final conclusion or twist in the story - for example, the identity of a killer or finding out the details of a backstory.

I didn't comment on all games, because I didn't play them all. I'll update this list as I play the games.

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Bernie, September 7, 2012 - Reply
Thanks so much for this list! Can't wait to play these!
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