By Michael Hartley
This puzzle has sixteen large playing pieces that you place on a 4x4 grid. You don't have to use the playing pieces or grids I've provided here, a pack of playing cards and an empty area of tabletop will do! Here's a photo of what the game puzzle looks like when it's being played:
Now, let me explain the rules of the game: imagine you separate out from a pack of cards all the aces, kings, queens and jacks. You'll have sixteen cards, all different, four of each suit, four of each face. Then, the puzzle is to arrange them into a grid, four row, four columns, subject to certain conditions.
- First of all, each row should have one of each suit, and one of each face. For example, you can't have a row with two jacks.
- Second, each column is similar, there should only be one of each suit, and one of each face. For example, you must have a spade in each column.
- If that's not challenging enough, make sure the four corner squares have one of each suit, and one of each face.
- Then, make sure the four centre cards have one of each suit, and one of each face.
- Still not hard enough? Make sure that each block of four squares in the northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest quarters have one of each suit, and one of each face.
If you don't have playing cards handy, or you want to make lots of colorful copies of this puzzle (for example, for a classroom), I've made some printable versions you can download, and make as many copies of as you like.
- Here's one where the different playing pieces have different colors and sizes
- Here's another where the pieces have different colors and shapes
- If you want to stick with the playing card theme, this set has pieces with different colors and card suits
- There's also one where the pieces have different card suits and sizes, with each suit its correct color, black or red.
- In case you don't have (or don't want to use) a color printer, here's a version of the card suits and sizes set where the diamonds and hearts are gray instead of red.
- And, another with different card suits and sizes, with all suits black.
- Finally, a black and white set where the pieces have different shapes and sizes.
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