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How do you know when to split the game into game boards before attempting questions?

agathamelanieagathamelanie Free Trial Member
in Logic Games 13 karma
Or how do you decide whether to proceed without writing out your game boards (and write out game boards for separate questions)? Any advice appreciated - thanks guys!


  • brna0714brna0714 Alum Inactive ⭐
    1489 karma
    I'd say I follow these general guidelines, produced as a result of lots of trial and error.

    If it looks like rules will trigger by splitting (for instance, I'll know where F goes based on splitting T and that will tell me H, etc.) then I've found it beneficial to split.

    Also, if there are only a couple of options for something and you're not sure then you may as well just try it out. You're not wasting too much time.

    On the other hand, if you're splitting your board into a larger number (idk what that would mean exactly, 5 and up?) then it's pretty much only worth your time if everything is going to pretty much fill in as a result of your splits.

    Some things I generally don't split on are the H is either 1 or 7 (first or last) type rules. I've found that these generally don't lead to too much insight.

    You may also consider glancing briefly at the number of questions. If there are 7 questions and you can create 4 game boards (just as an example) then go for it. That would probably take less time than creating individual scenarios for each questions. However, if the situation is reversed (7 splits and 5 questions) it may not be as helpful/efficient.

    Hope that helps.
  • Dr. YamataDr. Yamata Member Inactive ⭐
    578 karma
    I think that doing 2 or 3 "hypotheticals" at the beginning of the game helps whether or not you actually split 2 master boards. This goes along with making inferences up-front rather than waiting for the questions to force you to do so. Sometimes I'm just sitting there, frozen, after I jot down all the rules, did the acceptable situation, and start into the questions. I don't see any questions with new premises, just could be trues or must be trues, I don't see any inferences, and I'm stuck! At this point I would just start putting crap down. This has now become a habit. Just do 2 or 3 quick situations that follow all the rules so you get a feel for how they operate. You don't necessarily have to have some methodical purpose behind doing it.. and who knows.. your hypothetical might also help you on a "could be true" question later. "Which of the following could be in spot 3?" "Oh, well I already figured out that V could.. and V is a choice. Bang.
  • NYC12345NYC12345 Alum Inactive Sage
    1654 karma
    I personally split up game boards every time it says "H will be in slot 1 or 7" because it enables me to draw inferences on other variables' limitations. That way when I encounter a "which of the following cannot be in slot 6" question, I can clearly see the correct answer. I believe that not splitting game boards results in trying to solve the game mentally, which takes up a great deal of time and is prone to error.
  • brna0714brna0714 Alum Inactive ⭐
    1489 karma
    @alexandergreene93 - To each his own, of course. I just wanted to point out that you don't need to split to notate the 1/6 option. You could just as easily place a H/ over slot 1 and /H over slot 6 or whatever the case may be. You can then easily see the options for H without having to spend time creating 2 unique boards.

    The reason I mentioned not splitting using that type of rule is that there is usually a rule that will lead to far more productive splits, e.g. large blocks.
  • blah170blahblah170blah Alum Inactive ⭐
    3545 karma
    If I see a lot of rules, I'll try to put as many rules together as possible. I used to build as many scenarios as possible but I actually found that to be counterproductive for me. I would get caught up in scenario building that I'd either waste time tackling questions or worse, making false deductions, and then getting questions wrong.

    Now, after doing the minimum, I start answering the questions that start with, "Which of the following." Since typically these aren't hypotheticals, I should be able to answer these questions with the existing knowledge I have about the game. If I can't get these right immediately, I'll take a look at my game-board and see if I can come up with any other deductions. Then I make independent game boards for the hypothetical questions.

    I find that this process works for me as it's a good balance between drawing our scenarios and making inferences. However, like everybody mentioned above, it's really important to cater diagramming to your testing needs.
  • fuzzy228fuzzy228 Alum Member
    107 karma
    Blah170Blah. Thanks for the tips, I will try these as well.
  • Jonathan WangJonathan Wang Yearly Sage
    edited June 2015 6866 karma
    I love splitting. I split a lot. JY loves it too, and it's evident in his videos. But, I'm lazy. I don't have the time nor the inclination to keep track of 40 game boards.

    If there is only one 'split rule', which is the case the majority of the time, I will always take it even if it doesn't lead to further consequences (H = 1 or 7 type rules). It's always worth it. Locking an element onto the board and seeing where it takes up space and how it restricts the movement of other elements is huge on its own, even without explicit followup deductions.

    If I have a choice of rules to split on, I will split on the one that has the most consequences (followup deductions) first. Allowing me to place other elements is the consequence I want most, but 'merely' restricting the movement of other elements or otherwise disrupting the setup will do. It is exceedingly rare that multiple split rules each have equivalent consequences for the game; usually, one split rule will have a larger impact than the other. You learn to 'see' these things with experience, but a rough rule of thumb is the number of other rules that involve that same element. And, if multiple rules each have lots of consequences, it is often the case that a cascading effect is created, meaning that you can split on one and then incorporate the other afterward.

    Finally, remember that there is an 'elegant' way of solving every question with pure deductive reasoning. Splitting too much walks the fine line between adequate pre-analysis and pure brute force, and that's not a fence you want to be sitting on. As you get better at the test, you should find yourself playing more game boards 'empty' - that is, not explicitly splitting and working out scenarios but instead letting the information you're given dictate what you put onto your board and what you keep in mind as a result. As helpful as it is, splitting is ultimately a crutch. Granted, it's a crutch that pretty much nobody will ever fully rid themselves of, but the point is that it's a means to an end. It's pretty much never the 'correct', 'elegant' way to solve the problem, but it is useful in helping you cut through the noise and see the elegant way if you couldn't have otherwise.

    As time goes on, I find myself more and more hesitant to split past 2 boards, preferring to play games empty instead of splitting to 4 or 6 or 8 boards. I will sometimes go to 3, but any more than that and I'd better be able to basically solve the whole game out. Whether you're capable of limiting yourself in this way at this particular moment is, of course, a separate question, but I grow increasingly convinced as time goes on that being reliant on splitting into a lot of games boards is a sure sign of your logic game skills being subpar.
  • diefor170diefor170 Member
    129 karma
    This is helpful! Thanks!
  • BamboosproutBamboosprout Alum Member
    1694 karma

    @brna0714 said:
    I'd say I follow these general guidelines, produced as a result of lots of trial and error.

    If it looks like rules will trigger by splitting (for instance, I'll know where F goes based on splitting T and that will tell me H, etc.) then I've found it beneficial to split.

    This person is a god manifested.

  • studyingandrestudyingstudyingandrestudying Core Member
    5254 karma

    Maybe by the FP process.

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