Turing Tumble Community

Puzzle 7 And the Necessity Of Using All Cross Overs?

Greetings. My 10 year old daughter and I are new users, as of a few days ago. I have a solid education in both electronics and programming. I’m very familiar with logic gates and truth tables etc. In Puzzle 7 we are given a starting pattern with 6 cross overs and told to avail ourselves of 6 ramps. We couldn’t figure it out and so cheated by going online for a solution. A Youtube video offered one but starts by saying there is no requirement to use all parts so his solution only used a few of the cross overs. To be clear here, are we not supposed to come up with solutions that use all the indicated parts ? How are puzzles like # 7 related to computers or the field of logic or boolian ? Thanks.

Aren’t there suggested solutions in the back of the book?

Right you are Sir. I didn’t see that. I’m also seeing the welcome logic emerging in Puzzle 15 now. I can’t say I agree with putting red hearings up there in the form of starting parts that never get used, unless of course I’m missing something and they represent an alternate solution.

One of the goals of #7 is to establish that you don’t necessarily need to pass through every component in the starting setup by presenting a situation where it’s pretty obvious that you can’t - with the top two crossovers on the same level, and no way of branching your path, there’s no way to make the path pass through both. As I understand it, several of the puzzles in the game are there to force people to confront assumptions that were causing playtesters to get stuck on later puzzles. In this case, the assumption that every piece on the board has to do something, which would cause problems with, for example, #11 where the whole point is to only touch the specified bits in the lower row.

Once you recognise and discard that assumption, solving #7 is easy, and you should be better prepared for the later puzzles where the idea recurs.


Yes well, I strongly disagree to them doing this. To the beginner, especially young child, throwing these tricks at them and without even warning or revealing that there was no requirement is not a very nice thing to do nor is it a wise learning tool. It just leads to mistrust of everything to do with this board game / learning tool. As I said, I have a strong background in logic, programming and the functional parts of computers and I wasted a lot of time torturing myself into believing that if they put these pieces there in the starting setup, they must have done so for a reason.

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What would your solution have been?

There are reasons to not have extraneous parts in most puzzles, but there are also interesting puzzles that actively rely on only touching certain components from the initial layout (and in some cases, layouts where it’s not obvious whether a given component will actually be active without analysing it with that in mind).

Forcing people to confront the assumption that they have been making and realise it for themselves can be unpleasant for the person realising that they’d invented a rule that doesn’t actually apply, but it also makes it more likely that they’ll not repeat that particularly misconception later, while just telling them that you don’t need to send a ball through every component is less memorable, and makes it more likely that they’ll forget that added instruction and revert to assuming every piece in the initial layout must have a ball pass through it.

And the extra parts in #7 are not extraneous - they’re part of the puzzle, changing it from a simple join-the-dots to create a path (as previous puzzles have been) to a maze where you have to find the correct path. It’s not that the “extra” crossovers don’t have any reason for being there; it’s that their purpose doesn’t involve passing balls through them.

Well then, lets first play 5 regular baseball games and then put ten extra bases on the baseball diamond that lead to nowhere desirable and not tell the kids a thing about them and we’ll do it on the first days when we start teaching them about baseball. See if they can figure out that they are all red hearings, without any hints. That will make them look forward to playing again after their whole day was spent getting tricked. No difference, that I can see.

There’s nothing wrong with making reasonable assumptions. Indeed I encourage my daughter to do that. So do her teachers. This taught her nothing but mistrust.

Sorry it was so confusing. The goal of this puzzle isn’t to teach any sort of boolean logic, it’s really just to get familiar with the parts and the puzzles. It was a little riddle to figure out a path to get down because you don’t have enough green ramps to get you there, so you have to use as many of the orange crossovers as you can.

This baseball idea is hilarious. “Ok kids! You’ve played 5 rounds of baseball. Now we’re going to mix things up. There are 10 bases scattered about. That’s all I’m going to say. PLAY BALL!!” And then the opposing team could tag them out if they’re not on a “real” base. And if it looks like they might get tagged out, they could just run to a base way in the outfield. That might liven up professional baseball games a bit! I’d watch that.

While the baseball analogy is fun, it misses a couple of key features of the actual puzzle 7 that make it not very applicable.

  • regular baseball is the “final form”, with no further developments to be made, while puzzle 7 is very early in introducing concepts about the game.
  • people assuming that they have to touch every piece during their run(s) is a rule people actually invent with Turing Tumble. Having to touch every base is an actual rule of baseball, not something people invent that doesn’t apply.

A better analogy might be playing a stripped down version of baseball where one person pitches to another, who catches the ball (no bat) and throws it into the outfield, then tries to run the circuit to home base (no other bases) without being tagged, and having the problem that people who learn that way don’t realise that they can stop at intermediate bases once they’re introduced (assuming there would be people making that mistake)…

How about a compromise ? Send the games out there with 3 extra screws, a gear, and a 2 foot cable and then scold any inquiring minds for assuming too much ? We can also insert a couple photos in the assembly instruction of someone cutting a 2 x4 on a mitre saw and a vat of methanol with the board soaking in it. We can throw in a bag of purple plastic cones. Clues can be offered where 1 in 7 kids in the advertising photos are in fact crying with a thought bubble above their heads that says “I guess I’m just not smart enough for this”

No seriously, I thought this game was supposed to teach logic. Is it logical to instruct the kids to put parts on the board that never get used without any warning ? Not on my planet. Even multiple choice questions will warn if there can be more than one answer.

How about another compromise? Rather than putting the solutions at the back of the book, put them in instead of the puzzles so that no-one can ever get confused by making a false assumption about how the puzzles are supposed to be solved?

A vital skill in reasoning is to recognise and challenge your assumptions so you don’t get trapped into false conclusions by false assumptions. Is it logical to attempt to lay out every possible false assumption someone may be making? Or is it more logical to expect people to learn to recognise when they’ve made a mistake in an early puzzle where it’s clear that their version of things must be impossible (one ball can’t pass through two separate components on the same row) rather than waiting for someone to get stuck 40 puzzles in when some other assumption gets them stuck on a more complex puzzle where it’s much harder to prove that their version is impossible?

And the “redundant” crossovers are used - they provide false trails that make #7 a maze rather than an simple exercise in (yet again) joining the dots on the way down the board. They just aren’t used in the way you expected - much like how in baseball you don’t have to run along the foul lines and around the arc marking the limits of the outfield in order to score because those markings are used for something else.

There’s a mix of ‘puzzle’ and ‘challenge’ going on which interferes with a smooth learning curve. It would be nice to have a learner’s handbook where each new concept is introduced without red herrings and ambiguity.