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Bridges Solving Strategies

hashi The image to the right shows a completed hashi puzzle. But how do you get to the solved state of the puzzle? There are various simple tips and techniques you can use to solve it, and we will look at a few of these here.

Firstly, look at the '1' that appears at the top left of the puzzle. In the start position of the puzzle, it can only go to the right to join with the '3', or down. Well, in fact it can't even go down, because '1' islands can't connect to each other, because if they did they would be isolated. And that's tip one: anytime you have a '1' island, it must connect to another island with 2 or more bridges.

Similarly, two '2's cannot have both bridges to each other. This allows the '2' at top right to be instantly solved in the empty puzzle grid: it can only have one bridge to the '2', and there is only one other island it can connect to: the '1' below it, so those bridges can be written in.

A handy place to look is the islands at the edges and corners of the puzzle as these often have less options. Also look at islands with high numbers too, since often bridges for these can be placed. For instance, look at the '5' in the left most column of the puzzle towards the bottom. It must have at least one bridge to the three islands it can connect to, so these can be written right in at the start of the puzzle when the grid is otherwise blank.

One of the harder rules to use is isolation, and this requires you to remember that you must be able to move from any island to any other island in the finished puzzle. Sometimes you'll need this rule to progress without guessing, and sometimes it can be a little tricky to spot when there are quite a few connected islands to keep track of. If you look at the '3' in the middle of the top row, you can see this is the 'key' island that connects up to the rest of the puzzle the small chain of islands along the top. Often identifying the only island that can connect at the particular stage you are at in solving a puzzle can help point you in the correct direction, literally, as to where the trickier to place bridges should go!

Now why not put to the test these strategies - and any you have come up with yourself - by tackling our very own fun selection of Bridges Puzzles >>>

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