# Puzzle Theory

These are my current theories on puzzles, based on my observations. Subject to updates and revisions.

## What IS a puzzle?

n. Something, such as a game, toy, or problem, that requires ingenuity and often persistence in solving or assembling.
n. Something that baffles or confuses; an enigma.
##### from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

Puzzles can take form in many different ways. Examples of puzzles include jigsaws, crosswords, Sudoku. Within the context of Scrap.tf puzzles, they take the form of password-based enigmas.

## Two Sides to Every Enigma

There are two sides of every puzzle:

• Understanding - knowing what to do, and the rules that govern the path to the solution
• Execution - doing it, whether that is converting bases, solving a crossword clue, etc.

Puzzles considered difficult on Scrap.tf have their Understanding side left to the viewer, with the Execution typically trivial.

An example in which the Execution is difficult while Understanding is known is Spacechem by Zachtronics. In it, you learn about fake chemistry, and in every level you must take the inputs on a grid and transport them to the outputs. You know the rules from the very beginning, but executing a correct solution is the challenge given to the player.

Other examples include chess problems, Stephen's Sausage Roll, and most other puzzle games that exist.

For shorthand, I refer to the distinction of the puzzles above through Types:

• Type I - Understanding is difficult, Execution is trivial
• Type II - Understanding is trivial, Execution is difficult

Thus difficult Scrap.tf puzzles are Type I, while most puzzle games are Type II.

There also exists Type III and Type IV puzzles:

• Type III - Understanding is trivial, Execution is trivial
• Type IV - Understanding is difficult, Execution is difficult

Type III puzzles are very straightforward, while on the other end of the spectrum Type IV puzzles are those near-impossible enigmas that are essentially unsolved mathematical problems.