Futoshiki, originating from the Japanese term meaning "not equal", and also known as "Hutoshiki" or "Unequal", is a captivating logic puzzle. Players are provided with a square grid, like a 9x9, and their goal is to populate each cell in a way that adheres to certain rules.
- Each row and each column must contain the digits from 1 up to the dimension of the grid (for example, 1 to 9 for a 9x9 grid).
- No digit can be repeated in a row or column.
- Some digits might be pre-filled at the beginning. These given numbers cannot be changed.
- There will be inequality constraints (either < or >) between some cells. This means that one cell's value should be higher or lower than its neighboring cell's value, as indicated by the inequality symbol.
Basic Solving Tips:
- Scan Rows and Columns: Begin by looking for rows or columns where a significant number of digits are already filled in. This can give hints about the remaining numbers.
- Utilize Inequalities: Always consider the inequality signs. If you have two adjacent cells with one of them having a number and an inequality sign between them, you can often determine the value of the other cell.
- Process of Elimination: Sometimes, it's easier to figure out where a number cannot go, rather than where it should go. This can be especially useful in more densely filled rows or columns.
- Pencil in Possibilities: If you're unsure about a number, try writing down the potential numbers for a cell. As you progress, you can eliminate these possibilities.