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PadreMontoya

Seeking Advise from Puzzle Masters

Question

 

Hello!

 
I'm designing a game that features a puzzle that is split into 12 pieces.  Once you find all 12 pieces, you can begin to solve it.
 
The inspiration for the puzzle comes from the classic board game "Mastermind", though there is probably a more technical term for this kind of puzzle.  This puzzle also doesn't provide feedback about near-hits; only direct hits.   
 
Players are trying to cure a virus by looking at historical test information to deduce what combination of compounds have 100% effectiveness against the disease.  There are <x> amount of compounds, and a compound is only effective if put into the right spot. 
 
Example: The final solution has Oxygen must be in slot #1, Methane must be in slot #2, .... etc.
 
Clues to the puzzle would look something like this:
 
Clue #1: L / O / X / M 25% Effective
Clue #2: A / O / B / M  50% Effective
Clue #3: A / X / B / M 25% Effective
Clue #4: A / O / X / M 50% Effective
 
Hopefully from the above information, you could deduce that A belongs in slot #1 and O belongs in slot #2.
 
Here's my ask: I'm looking for someone far more clever than I to help design this puzzle properly.  I'm concerned about how to balance it so there is only one solution, and that most (or all) of the 12 clues contribute necessary information.
 
So that's the challenge - is anyone up for it?
 
Thanks in advance,
- Anthony

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Hi Anthony,

Do you envision having solvers come up with a single answer? That is, there is one particular virus, one particular set of <x> possible compounds, one particular value <y> for the number of slots, and therefore one particular ordered set of <y> compounds that will kill the virus? If so, then just give us values for <x> and <y> and we can work on it here.

Or, will there be many instances of virii, with differing numbers for <x> and <y>, to be solved? If so, then what you need is an algorithm for generating clues. Or an algorithm for determining when a sufficient amount of random historical testing has been done to determine the 100% cure.

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