Author round-table 001

InterviewsAuthor round-table

Easy Slitherlink

This is the 1st author round-table. Our guests are Komieda and SAKAMOTO, Nobuyuki. From Nikoli we have NyanBaz and Nob.

NyanBazToday we want to discuss about easy Slitherlink puzzles. The discussion will be published on, but there is no need to think narrowly about just that. We will talk about anything related to easy Slitherlink.


NyanBazI have brought some of our publications. They have puzzles from the time you made you debut, now more than 10 years ago.

KomiedaI don't remember what kind of puzzles I made.

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiMe too. I don't remember any old problems.

NyanBazIt looks like you did not particularly specialize in easy problems then.

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiThey look like you'd expect. In my problems the number placement was more attractive then than now. (laughs)

KomiedaThey are different, then you used a more standard number placement. It's the same for me, I was not so picky about how it ended up looking.

NyanBazKomieda has been the author of the first puzzle in three successive Slitherlink Pencil Puzzle Books.

KomiedaThat did happen. It taught me the pleasure of appearing on the first page.

NyanBazDoes it make you happy to be on the first page?

KomiedaYes, sure. Newcomers are sure to solve that first problem. It may be the first problem that a person solves, the very first puzzle they try to solve.

NobYou really want to spread the fun of Slitherlink far and wide, don't you?

KomiedaYes. That's why I don't solve the first problem of my Pencil Puzzle Books, I keep it for later when someone asks me what kind of puzzle Slitherlink is. I'll explain it with that problem.

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiI don't care about making the first puzzle. I often make problems for people who know Slitherlink a little bit and make it something they can solve comfortably.

NyanBazNobuyuki just said that old problems are beautifully arranged. Don't you worry about the appearance of your problems?

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiI do. It's better when it looks nice and attractive. But I don't think that just looking beautiful is all there is. Like with food, there are things that are delicious even if the appearance isn't that great.

NobHmmm. If the taste is the same, the better appearance wins doesn't it?

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiRecently I'm into ethnic cuisines. There it is good when a strange looking dish looks like it is handmade. I prefer the vegetables with the mud on them to the beautiful cleaned off ones in the supermarket. We put way too much stress on stuff just being handmade.(laughs)

NobNow about puzzles, easy Slitherlink have so few 2's.

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiGood point, with 2 the fewest, next would be 1's.

NobThere are so few easy ways to draw around a 2. Maybe just something like this?


NyanBazBut there is also this.


NobTrue, but that is also straightforward.

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiHow about this?


NobThat isn't really easy. Fig. 1 alone is not so easy.


KomiedaFor me it would have to be Fig. 2 that works best. Drawing the line around them is the most straightforward.


NobI like Fig. 3 too, and even with Fig. 4 is easy too.

Slitherlink01  スリザーリンク06

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiI like Komieda's Fig. 2. There is no need to think about the border.

NobDon't forger 3313. That makes it easier than just a 33.

KomiedaI agree, I agree.

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiBut for beginners, remembering the right 3 of "3313" is not so easy.

NobRight. I want to make beginners realize that the 13 there is really the same as an 03. I think that easy Slitherlink should help with understanding of that sort of thing. After a beginner solves a problem, they should notice the improvements in their skill, I think that's what a good easy problem should do. What do you think?

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiI used to think like that. But recently, I'm not so sure. Is it really beginner-friendly to have just simple ideas in a puzzle? Maybe putting more numbers, even when it makes it more bothersome is a good way?

NyanBazWon't problems with many numbers make it hard to discover what makes a puzzle tick?

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiIt could be, but that would be different from making beginners need to get very theoretical. Beginners should be able to solve a puzzle any way they think of. That will give a sense of accomplishment and confidence too. Using theories is the next stage.

NobGood point, that is a way to look at it. Nobuyuki has begun to make problems where that are a lot of numbers in groups. Didn't you also arrange lumps with many numbers?

NyanBazRight, Nobuyuki did that. There was a puzzle with 2s crowded in. (3rd problem of Puzzle Communication Nikoli Vol. 83)

NobWith Slitherlink the focus has been on reducing numbers in the puzzles from the early days. It was thought that few numbers was more elegant, and Nobuyuki went straight against that and gave us "lumpy" puzzles.

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiI don't remember it like that, but perhaps you are right. I tend to go against the mainstream. (laughs)

KomiedaI want to get back to the training aspects. I am really happy when I see that people have caught on to a new idea in the comments.

NobThat is what makes puzzles attractive, when the solvers discover new skills by themselves.

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiThere are a lot of rules you can use with Slitherlink, and there are so many opportunities to discover them.

NyanBazAmong the comments, sometimes but just sometimes, there are posts that it is too easy it becomes just a clicking contest.

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiSure. But I have been thinking of that as praise. I am really happy when I am told that one of my puzzles is a mouse exercise. I have even made puzzles where I aimed for that.

NobYou sure are frank and honest.

KomiedaWhen I think back over the history of, there are quite a lot of people who solve very easy problems again and again. It could be they are practicing fast solving. So, very easy problems are significant.

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiAre there easy problems for experts?

NyanBazHmm, maybe. How about a problem that seems difficult for beginners but where experts can use their tricks to literally run through it?

NobWould that be possible? Our definition of an easy problem is for problems to be solved by a beginner who only read the rules. It is not just how the solution goes that makes a puzzle difficult.

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiWith that for a definition, there wouldn't be easy problems for experts. But maybe there are problems that an expert can solve really fast.

KomiedaAn easy problem is different from a problem that can be solved fast. It should be not only easy, but also solver-friendly.

SAKAMOTO, NobuyukiI think that makes sense, basically. But there could be puzzles made just to be solved fast. Not that I aim for anything like that.

NobIf you go after solving fast, it wouldn't end up with the easy problems.

NyanBazIt is never easy to think about what has to be easy! All of us, we will keep making easy Slitherlink -- as many as we can!

Discussion on Jul 2009 Published on Nov 28, 2012

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