It all started in Nov 2020. I wanted to revive the traditional Classic Tapa Contest that was held in the past on the Logic Masters India (LMI) and the one that I enjoyed a lot. In that regard, I started creating the puzzles and almost created around 30 Tapa's of various sizes. Unfortunately, it was the same time when browsers no longer supported Adobe FLASH. The classic tapa contest interface was using FLASH and hence no longer working. The puzzles I built were lying in the dust, and I had to patiently wait until we figured out some alternative solution for it. Fortunately, in 2021 I took Penpa+ development a bit more seriously and dedicated a lot of my time. This gave us the idea to utilize the Interface to introduce again/enable online solving on the LMI website. Thanks to Deb for his remarkable effort and time to integrate Penpa+ into the LMI server. You may have noticed constant improvements and developments. Initially, we started with contests by providing Penpa solvable links and then integrated them fully into LMI. With an online solving set up for the regular contests, it was time to think about the classic tapa contest and bring it to life. After many discussions between Deb, Prasanna, and myself, we came up with a Daily Puzzle Series Idea that will incorporate different puzzle genre runs. Finally, in November, the development towards this goal started, and we were ready to launch during Christmas. Also thanks to Deb for testing all the puzzles and providing great feedback. I will now share the thoughts behind the contest structure and content.
Tapa Train thoughts/highlights:
Scoring: We wanted to try something new and also wanted to keep it simple. I think we achieved that goal here. Having different winners for overall and Earlybird indicates that the idea of having two separate leaderboards was a success. We had four players (CJK, aras, kartal and Natty841) that solved all the 16 puzzles within the 1st hour of release. I appreciate your dedication.
Puzzle Release Time: Since we decided to have an Earlybird concept, it was important to provide a fair opportunity to most participants. That is why we selected a 30-hour time gap between each release, which allocated four different start times during the day throughout the series. Hence the choice of 4*4 = 16 Tapa Puzzles. From the statistics, 14:30 GMT was the most preferred time as that is when the fastest 100 players started the puzzle.
Grid Size:I wanted to have a wide range of grid sizes, and you can see that from 7x7 to 20x20. Secondly, I wanted to have some easy puzzles for the participants who got delayed onboarding the Tapa Train. For that, I split the puzzles from small to big into two weeks. This also worked in many other aspects of a relaxing, confidence booster to start another week of puzzles from easy after the challenging 15x15 and 17x17.
Ratings/Discussion:We wanted to have this feature before we launched the contest as this would be a great way to get the feedback and also allow solvers to discuss their thoughts. Hopefully, we made it easier for everyone by immediate prompt after successfully submitting the puzzle. Thank everyone again for taking the time to rate the puzzle and provide feedback. However, I hope solvers share more in-depth thoughts about their experience along with emojis in future contests.
Replay:This was definitely a must feature for us. I suddenly got an idea of how we can achieve that, and I am glad it worked out. I hope everyone liked this feature and used it to learn from each other. I, for one, watched a lot of replays, and it's fun to see how different solvers approach the same puzzle.
Improvements: With all that said, there are some areas of improvement
Scoring: We will discuss to see if any minor changes or improvements can be made in terms of penalty
Replay: For some reason, the maximum number of clicks was getting capped at 1001, and I am not sure why. I need to do further investigation and hopefully fix it before the next contest. Also someone using delete all to clear the puzzle, would also clear the click count. I will try to improve this as well.
Penpa Interface : I will try to disable the access to outside border cells to enhance the solving experience further.
About Page: Explanation of rules using images helped a lot of new puzzlers. However, I could have included some practice puzzle links or youtube videos with Tapa Solving tips. Perhaps we can add a section called "Resources" on the About page if applicable in future contests.
Sorry for such a long post, but I needed to share these thoughts, so everyone knows how much thought and effort went into setting up this framework. Hopefully, this would be the beginning of many future daily puzzle series. I, for one, know that we already have three more series lined up by other authors...
If you are interested in hosting such contest, please reach out to Prasanna Seshadri and we can dicuss about the genre and potential dates.
All the replays are unlocked.
Restricted Thread is now removed and anyone can post and see their thoughts in this forum.
If you have any feedback/ideas, things you liked, things that can be improved, please feel free to share here on the forum, and we will try to address it within our capability.
All the puzzles are logically solvable. If you need any help finding the next step in any puzzle, please post here.
I plan to make solving videos for a few top-rated puzzles, but if you want me to cover any particular puzzle, let me know. I will be covering 17x17 and 20x20 for sure.