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This is the eighth Chain Puzzle in the Tabletop Games series, in which all puzzles are themed around board games, card games, tile games, and the like. The answer to this puzzle is a thematic word or phrase. The solver whose answer is awarded the green checkmark has first refusal on the opportunity to create the next puzzle in the series, which must somehow incorporate the answer to this puzzle somewhere within its construction. The solver is under no obligation to create the next puzzle - in the event that the solver does not wish to take up this opportunity, the puzzle's setter may take up the offer of a willing substitute setter or choose to continue the chain themselves.

The answer to the previous puzzle (which provided the theme for this one) was TARGUI.


"Don't tell me - I can guess," I said to my friend when she opened the door to me yesterday evening. "There's a board game out on your table, which isn't the game we're going to be playing together tonight, but it's set up in some contrived puzzle-like manner to indicate the name of the game we'll actually be playing. Am I right?"

In response my friend merely laughed, let me past and gestured towards the table. Sure enough, there upon it were two partially set-up games of Targui, the second of which had also been painted in various colours:

enter image description here Colourblind-friendly version of the second board available here.

Seeing the look of confusion on my face, my friend explained: "Each Targui board depicts a grid-deduction puzzle of the same variety. In order to solve the puzzle on the second board you'll first need to infer certain information from the already-solved one on the first board. As a hint, the specific grid-deduction puzzle type I've used is incredibly incongruous given the desert setting of Targui. No knowledge of the rules of Targui is required."

TASK: Identify, set up and solve the grid-deduction puzzle concealed in the second Targui board. Then derive the name of another tabletop game from the solution - this is the next game to be played.

Just for your information, the tiles occupying the cells of the second row of the first board are known as (i) Settlements, (ii) Sand Dunes, (iii) Mountains, (iv) Salt Lakes, and (v) Oases, in that order (in case you wish to use this terminology in your explanation):

enter image description here

(And yes, I hand-drew them all in MS Paint...)

Acknowledgement, in the name of transparency: Unlike my usual PSE puzzles, the grid-deduction components are not created entirely from scratch but are to some extent based on templates generated with the help of this website (SPOILER).


Chain Puzzles are a novel approach to puzzle series creation, in which the solver of the previous puzzle in the chain becomes the setter of the next.

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From the facts about the first grid

Assuming each tile represents a number, it looks like a filled 5x5 grid with some numbers outside the grid. Also, each row and column contains each number exactly once (therefore it must be one of the Latin-square puzzles), and it doesn't have any other edge/area indicators.

My first guess of the genre was

Skyscraper, which is themed as a city full of buildings, and therefore is incredibly incongruous given the desert setting of Targui.

Naturally, the next step would be

to identify which tile corresponds to each number from 1 to 5.

It is not very hard, if we focus on the number 5:

5 is not Sand Dune (due to R2), and not Oasis either (due to R5). Neither is Salt Lake; otherwise the right of R3 and the bottom of C3 must be both 1.

Crossing out Settlement takes a little more effort. From the bottom of C3, we deduce the Sand Dune must be 2. Then the top of C5 says Oasis must be 4, but then the left of R5 gives a contradiction (which is 4 but must be 3).

Therefore,

The Mountain must be 5, and R3 gives all the other numbers instantly: Settlement=4, Sand Dune=3, Oasis=2, and Salt Lake=1 (which roughly matches the decreasing order of height).

Now to the second grid. With transcribed numbers, the grid to solve is this:

Starting with R4 and focusing on fives,

We can see that R4C1 must be 5 and R4C5 must be 4. Using the bunch of 4-clues we can identify all 5's locations:

Then it gets a little harder...

On C4, the only place for a 4 is the first row, and then the only place for a 1 is the last row. That means 1 is blocked in C3 and therefore 4-3-2 must be in that order. Since 1 cannot appear on R2 as well as R5, 4 goes to R2 and 2 goes to R5.

Finally...

R2C5 must be either 1 or 2. But if it is 2, neither of the two possible completions of C5 can satisfy the top clue of 4. Therefore it must be 1, and the column must be completed as follows:

Then the entire grid can be solved using the Latin square logic.

Reading the sums of each region, ordered by the color of rainbow, gives

19, 3, 5, 14, 5, 9, 20 = SCENE IT!

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    $\begingroup$ Nice answer...just beat me :-) $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Nov 16 '20 at 1:13
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    $\begingroup$ Darn, too slow... was a nice puzzle regardless! $\endgroup$ – HTM Nov 16 '20 at 1:13
  • $\begingroup$ That's the one :) Great work! Your solution to pull apart the first grid is exactly the route intended. (For once I didn't include any breadcrumbs in the host's speech about the identity of the final game as I didn't want anybody taking any shortcuts in the second grid by using knowledge about its name had they seen it...) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Nov 16 '20 at 8:05
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, and no need to edit this in (because it's tenuous at best) but just to put on record in comments here that I chose the title purely because it's a parody of a line from a very famous scene in Shakespeare and conjures up the association with 'question' (the game is a trivia game). I'm sure nobody would reasonably have inferred that, but it made me smile to do it nonetheless :) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Nov 16 '20 at 8:07

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