I've created the Hannoi Towers, Lights out and not sure about the original name of this game.

Now, when I want to create badges (beginner, expert etc.) for the puzzlers I stumbled upon a problem, I couldn't find very accurate solution to.

For the Hannoi Towers game there are sizes of 3, 4, 5 and 6 to choose between to play. For Lights out and the other one there are from 3 to 7 including sizes.

To put in another way, for example on Hannoi Towers, the puzzler will need to solve the size of 6 for the minimum of 60 seconds in order to become an expert of the game (this is just an example, which most likely is highly inaccurate).

What would an expert, advanced, mediocre & beginner puzzlers be like on these games? I.e. what are the minimum requirements for a puzzler to earn any of these badges?

P.S. the time taken for 1 move on any of these games-

1) Hannoi towers- best case 0.4 seconds, average- 0.7

2) Lights out & the sort numbers game with the speed of click

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    $\begingroup$ For the Towers of Hannoi, what about counting how many moves it took them instead? The most efficient solutions are known so there's your expert level. $\endgroup$ – Engineer Toast Jul 12 '15 at 17:10

I believe the best way to judge puzzlers would be to have a round of beta testing. Create a small group composed of your colleagues, friends and family, making sure that you include people of all skill levels. Include your not-so-tech-savvy parents, your pretty-but-not-very-bright neighbour, your quick-thinking colleague and people from all walks of life that you know. The bigger your beta test group the better, as it gives you a better bell curve to judge the difficulty level of your puzzles.

Have the test group play the puzzles and record the times taken, and as I mentioned, obtain a bell curve of the data. Then, based on the numbers you can decide how to set the limits for each puzzle. As an example, you could award the expert badge for people who finish within the time set by the top 20% in the test group. The intermediate badge goes to those who finish in the next 40%. The beginner badge goes to those who fare like the last 40%.

Not only does this help you figure out how to set realistic demands for badges but the beta testing will also help you to iron out any bugs prior to the general release of your puzzles.

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  • $\begingroup$ The nice thing about this method is that you can continuously refine the difficulty rating in production as more people play and you get more data. $\endgroup$ – 2012rcampion Jul 13 '15 at 18:14

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