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Thank you for trying out Snoodoku. Snoodoku is a new puzzle game from the creator of Snood. Like Snood, it is non-violent, intellectually challenging, and non-confrontational. Snoodoku is based on Latin Squares, first posed by Leonhard Euler in 1783, and more recently developed into a game known as Number Place or Sudoku, popular in the U.S. and Japan. This popular 81-square puzzle game is found frequently in newspapers and puzzle books and has become quite an obsession among puzzle enthusiasts. Snoodoku takes the puzzle a step further, by:
- Using the Snood characters rather than boring old numbers – the Snoods were designed to have easily distinguished shapes, colors, expressions, and personalities, so they are a perfect match for this kind of puzzle.
- Providing a simple user interface, accessible by mouse or keyboard, that keeps track of your play for you without getting in the way.
- Providing a scoring system that rewards accuracy primarily and then rewards speed to make the game a bit more competitive. You can compete against yourself or against others!
- Giving you easy-to-use tools to help you play. There’s Crystal Ball mode, which lets you see into the future – what will happen if I make a move here? – and the Solver, if you need a hint, want to just solve the puzzle, or want to design your own puzzles.
There are three basic rules...
Every row must contain all nine Snood characters.
Every column must contain all nine Snood characters.
Every 3x3 section of the board must contain all nine Snood characters.
That's it! Just three rules. The rules also mean that, because there are nine kinds of Snoods, there’s only one of each kind in every row, column, and section.
The board will start with some of the squares revealed; your job is to fill in the empty squares with the correct Snoods. In order to fill in the squares, you’ll have to use what you know about the other squares in the same row, column, and section. For example, if an empty square is in the same row as a blue Jake Snood, you know the empty square can’t have another Jake. When you fill in the whole board, you win the game.
Mouse Play – Click on any empty square to activate it. You can mark the little Snoods in the square using your mouse. Some people mark the possible values; others mark the values that have been ruled out. It's your choice. When you've narrowed the possibilities down to one kind of Snood, you’re ready to assign a that Snood to the square. Hold down Shift or Alt, and click on the Snood type you've selected, and it will be placed in the square.
Keyboard Play – You can also play using the keyboard. Use the arrow keys to move around the board. Use the number keys 1-9 to select the Snoods. When you're ready to assign a Snood to a square, hold down Shift or Alt (Alt if you're using the number pad) and press the appropriate number key.
Errors – If you pick the wrong Snood to assign to a square, you’ll hear an error sound, lose 500 points, and the square will stay empty. Time to check your thinking and try again. You’ll get the highest possible score if you make no mistakes, so try to be sure of yourself when you’re filling the square. There is no penalty or benefit for anything you do with the little Snoods – they’re just for your use in figuring out the puzzle.
Crystal Ball Mode – Sometimes, you might get stuck and not know where to go next. If this happens, you can use Crystal Ball mode to try out Snoods in any unsolved squares to see if they look like good moves. Click on the crystal ball button to enter Crystal Ball Mode. Any guesses you make in crystal ball mode will not earn you points or cost you points. When you're done using the crystal ball, click it again to turn it off and erase your changes, or click 'Commit Changes' to accept the guesses you've made using the Crystal Ball.
Scoring – The scoring works as follows:
- Correctly filling in a square - 100 points
- Trying an incorrect Snood in a square - 500 points
- Completing the whole puzzle- 1000 points
When you finish a game, you also get an additional time bonus based on how quickly you played. If you made no mistakes, your time bonus is doubled. If you made mistakes, your time bonus is reduced based on the number of mistakes you made.
Hints – As you play more and get used to the game, you'll discover tricks that help you narrow down the options for the squares. Look at the whole board and see if you can eliminate certain Snood types from certain parts of the board. Look for patterns and clusters of Snoods in rows, columns, and sections - you might be able to eliminate some Snood types in places you don’t expect.
Difficulty Levels and Board Design
The boards for Snoodoku were carefully designed to be fun to play. Every puzzle is winnable and has only one possible solution, although some of them will take you a while or require the Crystal Ball. All levels except Child have symmetric layouts, following the Japanese tradition. There are 1000 different puzzle layouts at each difficulty level (except Child, where the puzzles are generated randomly each time). Here is a brief description of the difficulty levels:
- Child –
- The Child difficulty level reduces the board to 4x4, with four sections instead of nine. It's much simpler, but the same rules apply; all four Snood types must be in each row, column, and section.
- Easy –
- Each board will have 60 squares revealed (59 if the center square is one of the picks). Good players will be able to win an Easy game in a few minutes.
- Medium –
- Each board will have 40 (or 39) squares revealed – just under half the board. Good players may take 5-15 minutes to solve a Medium puzzle.
- Hard –
- Each board will have 24 (or 23) squares revealed. Good players will take 10-30 minutes for a Hard puzzle.
- Evil –
- Evil puzzles have the same number of squares revealed as Hard (24 or 23), but Evil boards generally require craftier thinking than Hard. The Solver will generally not be able to solve Evil puzzles on its own, and you are much more likely to need Crystal Ball Mode on Evil puzzles.
Game Preferences and Player Records
There are a number of options you can set in the Snookoku program.
Sound – you can turn the sound effects on and off and adjust their volume.
Snoods and/or Numbers – If you would rather play the game in the traditional way, using numbers instead of Snoods, we’ve got you covered. Just pick ‘Numbers’ from the Game Preferences. You can also use Snoods and Numbers together.
Pick Puzzle Numbers – There are 1,000 puzzles for each difficulty level. You can run through them randomly, or specify a particular puzzle, or even challenge a friend on a particular puzzle number.
Flip Number Keys – If you play with the keyboard and use the number pad, you might want the numbers to line up with the positions of the little Snoods in the squares, particularly if you’re using the number symbols instead of the Snoods. Just pick this option, and you’re in business.
Click to Activate Squares – I found it easier to play when only the squares I had worked on popped up when I moved my mouse around the board, so I made the game require a click to activate a square for use. If you don’t like this, turn it off. If you play with the keyboard, you never need to activate a square.
Start Squares with all Snoods Selected – Some players, particularly those who use the little Snoods to indicate possible values, prefer to start with all the little Snood markers turned on and then turn them off when they’re eliminated as possibilities. Have it your way!
Player Statistics – In many households (my own included), one player is way better at a game than the others. I haven’t been on our Snood high score list in about six years. Never fear! Use the Player Statistics system to keep your own personal high score list for each difficulty level.
The Solver provides a bunch of ways to enhance your game play experience. In the Solver, you can make changes to the board, and Snoodoku will constantly analyze what you’ve done. You can use the Solver in three different ways:
Solve puzzles you’re playing – You can pause any game you’re playing and switch that game to the Solver. If you do this, the Solver may be able to give you hints about what might be a good move. The Solver can also solve the puzzle nearly instantly if you’d prefer.
Enter a puzzle from the newspaper or another source – If you start the Solver from the main menu, you’ll get a blank grid, where you can quickly enter a puzzle layout from somewhere else. Then, you can solve the puzzle or get a hint, or you can click ‘Play This Game’ to play the game normally.
Create your own puzzles – If you start the Solver with a blank grid, you can fill it in with your own patterns. The Solver will tell you if your puzzle is solvable or not, and if you do get it playable (i.e. there is only one possible solution from the pattern you’ve entered), you can switch to game mode and play it normally.
Snood is shareware. You can download it and try it out for free, and you’re encouraged to share it with friends. If you enjoy Snoodoku, please register the game for only $19.99. If you register you:
- can play unlimited games at all difficulty levels;
- don’t get the “Please?” screen when starting the program
- don’t get the dreadful haiku poems (my apologies to all practitioners of that ancient poetic art)
- can pick specific game numbers to play;
- support me and encouraging me to update Snoodoku and write more games.
This is a one-time payment; you'll get free upgrades for life. It's the right thing to do!
Snood, Snoodoku the Snood characters, icons, and the Snood game interface are copyright 1996-2011 David M. Dobson and/or Snood, LLC. Snood, the Snood characters, icons, and the Snood game interface are trademarks used with the owner’s permission. All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2011 Snood, LLC. All Rights Reserved.