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Posted by garf at Jul 24, 2003 4:24:43 AM
navigation puzzle
im not entirely sure if i just dont get the hang of it or if the puzzle actually has problems.

what im doing currently is that i simply try to match constellations, not caring about making rows unless i need more space. if this is totally wrong, that would explain my problems, but then the documentation needs fixing.

if focusing on the constellations is the thing to do, then im not sure how i can affect how good im performing in terms of pieces used. usually its just a matter of luck if ye already got the right piece or how long ye have to wait for it; the only thing i can see affecting this is trying to keep one piece of each color on each ring - and that again is very much a random task if ye have a nearly full second ring and need the same color in the inner ring three times in the row.

the documentation says the better constellations require "two or more" stars; however, i have yet to see a three star constellation required. i dont see how that could be less luck-based, however.

a constellation i *do* see frequently is that of needing two stars on the same (inner) ring. im not sure how i am supposed to achieve that effieciently without a lot of luck? i do need more or less filled inner two rings if an earlier constellation required a star on the outer ring, so just keeping them empty is not an option.

bottom line: either im missing a very major point about this puzzle - i'd be glad to hear! - or this puzzle is far too much based on luck.
- Randal

[size=9]also Garf, Silvain and a few others

Posted by Tybalt at Jul 24, 2003 4:55:32 AM
Re: navigation puzzle
I agree.

Of all of them, this is my least favorite puzzle. All the puzzles have a degree of "luck" in them; what colors you get vs what pieces you need. In this particular puzzle, though, constellations seem the only deciding factor. In sailing, bilging, and crafting I can set up combinations because I know where the pieces need to be. Here, I have to wait for you to reveal my next move so that when I get a piece I don't need, there is no strategy in it's placement.


Perhaps weighting the usefulness of 3x shapes would help.

Posted by homullus at Jul 24, 2003 5:16:26 AM
Re: navigation puzzle
Some of us have argued that even knowing what the next piece will be would add a lot ("oh no, the next one isn't a color I need either, I may as well clear a row now").

I think navigating is pretty fun. The sounds -- which I guess many people don't have turned on -- really make it clear that the constellations are worth much more than clearing a row.

The puzzle is not so much strategy as processing power. When you have stars in all three rings, and are trying to create a 3-star constellation, it is a real challenge to figure out what will fall where, and whether you should use this white star or that white star to clear the row of three, based on what will fall into the bottom row.

I would liken it to solitaire Tetris in terms of strategy . . . more quick-thinking reaction than setup, since you don't know what will fall.

Posted by Tybalt at Jul 24, 2003 6:00:49 AM
Re: navigation puzzle
Seeing the next piece would certainly be helpful, and is already a feature in all the pertinent puzzle games save Navigation.

The question remains, though, if score is based almost soley on how many constellations you clear in a given number of pieces, then isn't it only the side effect of good fortune that you achieve a high score? Should a greater weight be placed on effectively using the pieces you're given, even if they are not the constellation piece you need?

Posted by Hanzii at Jul 24, 2003 6:05:20 AM
Re: navigation puzzle
Luck is important, aye. But it is a game of skill.
To get good scores you have to stay in the game, using the (in)famous patented Silverbeard YPP strategy of leaving a puzzle, the minute a setup is bothersome, will never get you a rating above 'good' or 'fine' in navigating.
You need to wait for the three stars constellations and do good at those to get 'excellent' and 'incredible'.
The skill is removing the right stars or even keeping all three circles open, so you have more choice in where to place the new ones.
Hanzii - shipbuilder (retired), Turtle

Posted by homullus at Jul 24, 2003 6:07:06 AM
Re: navigation puzzle
In the VERY beginning, luck plays a much larger role than skill.

As you go on, if you don't effectively use your pieces, the puzzle fills up and you booch. In order to do constellations with stars in the outer ring, the inner rings need to be filled . . . so once you get to the point where you have, say, a two star constellation in the outer ring, it gets quite challenging indeed, and misrotating and misplacement have greater consequences than just having to wait for the next one of that color.

Posted by shinseiki at Jul 24, 2003 6:32:22 AM
Re: navigation puzzle
There are several long-term strategies I use to maintain a steady sequence of completed constellations.

    color balance
    To minimize excess clearing, it's important to keep a reasonable balance of color throughout your rings. try to keep at least one of each color in each ring, and no more than two of any color. Similarly, it's important to control what piece replaces the piece you use for the constellation. If your inner ring is full, say, RRBYWWOB, and you're clearing a 1-star orange constellation on the inner ring, rotate your middle ring so that an orange is above the constellation point before you rotate the inner ring to clear the constellation. As repeated constellations of the same color drain a ring of it, hopefully you have a "reserve" of pieces in the middle and outer rings, with which you can replenish the depleted color.
      ring asymmetry
      If you're striving to maintain color balanced rings, the worst thing to happen is, for example, to be swiveling your rings around and suddenly have the sole red stars in your inner and middle rings line up with the sole red star in your outer ring, suddenly leaving you with no red pieces. Or, worse, have two sets clear themselves at once! Thus, it's important to scatter colors around in such a way that it's difficult for pieces to clear without effort on your part. I try to put colors in different sequences on each ring, and to avoid having matching colors next to each other.[/list:u:5dac79b8cc]
        "creeping towers"
        Silly name, sorry. Anyhow, there's really no need to fill the inner rings just to fit a star into a constellation in the outer ring. An outer-ring constellation only requires 3 pieces on the inner ring and 2 on the middle; one shifts the stack of pieces around the ring in a shuffling fashion. A middle-ring constellation is simpler still. I don't understand why an outer star would necessitate more or less filled rings barring rather bad luck, nor why this would be so bad a thing, seeing as one wants a certain reserve of pieces.
          strategic retreats
          Eventually, you'll find yourself short (or out) of two colors, with full, somewhat monochromatic inner and middle rings. I try to gauge, whenever a large [3-4 star] new constellation appears, if I'm going to have to clear away stars for more than half of the spaces -- if so, it's usually worthwhile to focus on emptying the rings quickly, rather than selectively.
          Hom's first point is very valid -- it's really more about efficient, fast decision making than about strategy. All these tactics really do is provide some degree of foresight, a structured way of controlling your pieces for the next few moves, so you don't have to think through every permutation at once. There's really no place to stuff "unwanted" pieces, such as sailing has, so you have to decide quickly where you're likely to want a piece, and revisit that decision every so often, as new constellations appear.

          Hanzii, Homullus, I agree with both of you, scoring-wise.

          Something to consider -- I find the above strategies work very well for 2- or 3-star constellations, but start to let me down once I get into the 4-star phase. Keeping full, color-balanced rings seems more of a detriment then, than otherwise. I'd suggest trying to maintain large gaps, at that point, but I still don't have enough experience to back that up :)
          - Mulberry

Posted by Nemo at Jul 24, 2003 6:57:18 AM
Re: navigation puzzle
As with any strategic discussion of playstyles, I am enjoying reading this thread.

One thing that we've been seriously considering is having the puzzle "know" your skill and ramp you quickly to the appropriate difficulty. So, if you are a Master Navigator, you'll get maybe one or two singles, then one or two double constellations, and then settle into the three-star constellations that are where you get some challenge.

-Avatar by AlexisAngel-

Posted by crowsdiamond at Jul 24, 2003 7:09:39 AM
Re: navigation puzzle
Thank you so much for posting all of this!! I now have a MUCH better understanding of what I am supposed to do. I simply couldn't figure out why i was getting such horrible ratings when I was clearing it out so quickly all the time! LOL The tutorial on the site didn't make any sense to me. I have learned so much from people in the know who share with those of us who are too hard-headed to 'get it' from the bits of advice in the game. Garf, ye are a darlin' for startin it, Shensiki (sp) I had no idea it was that, um... strategically complicated. <G> Maybe my scores will get better now that i know what to do!
Once Captain of the Mighty PPA
Once Captain of the Falcon's Fury
Now Unretired and ready to KILL!!

Just point me to what you want dead, an' I'll kill it. Or die trying!

Posted by Gotagota at Jul 24, 2003 7:55:21 AM
If this seems obvious, nobody's mentioned it yet!
Shinseiki, I'm going to steal your post for use in my lessons.

I have never had much problem with the Nav puzzle, though aside from your excellent tips I'm not quite sure why.

Combos are well nigh difficult <grin> in this puzzle. It's all a matter of being prepared. For example, keeping two stars on one side of a constellation piece (filled) and the matching star (for the row) above it. When you fill the rest of the constellation, you'll combo the three-star line.

I have never had to retreat. In fact I often fill my first and half of the second rows just so I'll be ready for combos and constellations. I like the feel of scoring four or five in a row.

Also, "Leaping Porpoises!"
Fronsac, human.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to
add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Posted by garf at Jul 24, 2003 9:14:22 PM
Re: navigation puzzle
arr, thank ye all fer yer replies. while im not entirely sure if i'll start to like the puzzle somewhere in the distant future, it sounds as if many of ye are satisfied with it, and thats enough certainly.

jest two note: ye actually can good ratings pretty soon. i do get lucky on occasion and get excellents and even a rare incredible, and thats with me never having seen the three-star and upwards constellations.

and if someone could explain me if im missing anything about the 2 stars in one ring things, please let me know. i feel thats completely luck based, even with all tactics mentioned. is it not?
- Randal

[size=9]also Garf, Silvain and a few others

Posted by Hanzii at Jul 24, 2003 9:27:18 PM
Re: navigation puzzle
garf wrote: 
i feel thats completely luck based, even with all tactics mentioned. is it not?

Of course it's not.
It's pure luck if you allready have the stars in the right place and only need to turn the wheel a bit. But if not then the skill is in using as few moves/stars as possible to remove the star(s) that are in the way and making the right one drop in its place.
Trying to keep one spot free in the inner or middle wheel while the wrong stars drop placing those 'to the side' while waiting for the one you need is highly skillfull.
Hanzii - shipbuilder (retired), Turtle

Posted by garf at Jul 24, 2003 9:34:03 PM
Re: navigation puzzle
arr, aye. so obvious that i feel slightly dumb fer not getting that meself. pardon me, i havent slept very well. had some nightmare about facing a hundred skelletons with a hundred bandana-wearing foil-clobbering pirates at me side that constantly ask me if we can sail to cnossos, papaya and byrne after we won that fight to pick up their incredible riches earned on a navy vessel that have been burried there.
- Randal

[size=9]also Garf, Silvain and a few others

Posted by homullus at Jul 24, 2003 11:53:35 PM
Re: navigation puzzle
And then you woke up, and the reality wasn't that far off from your dream. Harrr.

Posted by Zahira at Jul 25, 2003 1:49:26 AM
Re: navigation puzzle
All I can say Garf is ... ROFL ... thank you I needed that!
Captain of Hell Hath No Fury

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