I bought myself a Rush Hour puzzle set and all three extra card sets. It was a total impulse purchase, I just thought it would be interesting to try. I’ve tried Lunar Lockout, another puzzle from the same company and enjoyed that (that one is very much like Ricochet Robot), so I thought Rush Hour might be fun too. The extra card sets offered even more challenge, in case the first problems would be solved soon. They also had neat extra cars to use, which really made them tempting.
I got something quite unexpected out of it. I bought it for me to play, but it was Johanna who really got into it. I’m doing problem number 25 or so, while she’s already working on the last problem of the first card set. Last night she could barely concentrate on our regular TV programs and leaped at the puzzle during commercial breaks or other dull moments. Amazing.
I wonder why the whole thing is so heavily marketed as a toy for children. It looks like a toy, sure, but the more challenging problems are actually quite hard. So far Johanna has worked through them fairly easily, but some Expert-level problems have taken a while. I wonder how hard the Grand Master problems of the extra card sets are.
I’ve been thinking about doing a automatic problem generator to get more problems when we’ve solved them all. I mean, randomly generating problems should be fairly easy and doing a brute force problem solver (to see if the generated problems can actually be solved) shouldn’t be impossible either. But I don’t have the luxury of having time to start working on that quite yet… Maybe one day.