Hybrid puzzles blend the structure of a physical layout with the logic of a pure puzzle. Not as straightforward as a maze, but not as entirely rule-based as a puzzle, these hybrid puzzles occupy a physical space that no longer matches the problem space of the puzzle. Ranging from mazes with additional rules to general spatial configurations where rules completely govern your movements, the hybrid puzzles are a large category of "betweeners" that offer a wide variety of unique puzzle-solving experiences for my Imagine column.
These puzzles are based on the three types of proteins used to transport substances into and out of cells (uniport, antiport, and symport). Instead of a traditional finish line, use objects to move through the protein-based passageways in the puzzle. The puzzle is solved once all of the objects have been moved to receptors scattered throughout the puzzle.
Jumping from circle to circle, the goal is to get all of the circles’ shaded sections aligned downward. However, moving between circles with different colored bands rotates the circle you land on in different ways. With no designated finish circle, can you determine the quickest path through the circles to get their shaded sections aligned?
In a grid of orange and green hexagons, create a path from the start to the finish that satisfies the following rules: 1. Move clockwise around orange hexagons and counterclockwise around green hexagons. 2. Alternate passing green and orange hexagons. 3. You may retrace your path, but you cannot stop and reverse direction.
Two players alternate jumping from hexagon to hexagon. The shaded triangles in the hexagon that one player occupies informs the other player in which direction(s) they can move. The goal is to get both players to the finish hexagons at the same time.
A series of tubes and chambers chemically rearranges the nucleotides in a DNA fragment. The goal is to produce a certain order for the DNA fragment by the time you get to the finish chamber. The DNA fragment’s order affects where you can move, while moving to a new chamber rearranges the DNA fragment.
Move from the entryway to the altar (and back out again) following the layout of each Greek temple. Stepping from square to square opens or closes gateways located throughout the temple. The most direct route through the temple may not be advantageous (or even possible) given the position and orientation of the gateways.
Find your way to the finish hexagon by jumping around the grid. The direction from which you land upon each hexagon determines how far you can jump in your next move and which direction you can jump. You might land on some hexagons twice, in order to jump off in different directions.
Based on the mathematical idea of partially ordered sets, these puzzles use lists of numbers that must be traversed in a particular order. Think of it as a new way of defining “less than”. Jump from hexagon to hexagon to order the numbers, finding your way to the finish.
These puzzles require you to create two interwoven paths through a grid of hexagons. One jumps from hexagon to hexagon, while the other creates a wall that weaves around them. But the jumping path must alternate jumping over and not jumping over the constructed wall. Given the reconstructed wall segments and hexagons that must be landed on, can you construct both paths?
The first of two types of puzzles that use the classic jumping pattern of a chess knight (the L shape of two squares over, one square up). Go from the start to the finish, jumping from island to island. These knight puzzles are larger, the solutions longer, but are generally easier than the rooms puzzles.
The second of two types of puzzles that use the jumping pattern of a chess knight. Again going from the start to the finish, maneuver through a series of rooms and corridors following a strict L-shaped movement (no S-shaped moves!). While these knight puzzles are more compact with shorter solutions, they are move difficult than the islands puzzles.
Can you assemble the meandering paths through the forest into trails? Give hikers suitable choices by creating non-overlapping loops with different lengths, each passing through a trailhead. Prevent hikers from getting lost by ensuring every path is part of a designated trail.
Help three scientists move from the airlock to the control room in a space station. With each station in emergency shutdown mode, one scientist must depress a button to hold open pod hatch doors while the other scientists move through. Use the station blueprints to figure out how the scientists can cooperate so they all can reach the control room.