like Logic Grid Puzzles Only... Better
February 12, 2010 7:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for logic puzzles/games/systems similar to logic grid puzzles that are mostly deductive, pure logic, but that are more "realistic" or at least tell a more tangible story. Do such things exist? Also, how to construct your own and use them in a narrative structure?

I love board games and I find most gamers love puzzles, but usually I don't. I Hate Sudoku, Crosswords, etc. But these logic grid puzzles appeal to me. In the end, though, they are still puzzles and the "solutions" are arbitrary, abstract and contrived (I don't mean that negatively but its a fact).

What I'd really like is something more akin to a systematized murder mystery, a la Sherlock Holmes and House MD (Given, those are contrived too, but you know what I mean). Or, put another way, more "realistic", structured like something that a real detective would (or at least could) come across. Or maybe something that can systematically dissect the plots of movies like "Davinci Code" or "LA Confidential" (maybe not the best examples).

Finally, aside from a new pass time, I am looking to write these into the plot of an RPG campaign I am GMing, so hints on how to make your own and what logical systems are theoretically deductible would be appreciated. For instance, is it even possible to create a deductively solvable logic-grid-like puzzle WITHOUT the "attributes used once and only once per person" restriction? I would still like something somewhat "formulaic" and "systematic" but with a bit more flexibility.

I am hoping there are enough puzzle fanatics in the Hive mind who can decode my cryptic ramblings into something useful ;) Thanks Hive Mind.

PS - I don't mind logic jargon like Modus ponens, Disjunctive syllogism, etc, but I AM doing this for fun so something more entertaining/accessible would be appreciated (and, I should admit, I nearly failed my Logic class in College *blush*)
posted by DetonatedManiac to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
There is a book for you, "The Great book of Mind Teasers and Mind Puzzlers".

The author steps you through the solutions, which you may not need, but in the beginning of the question he doesn't even give you a grid. Most of the puzzles start off with a very short story and you have to construct a logic grid in order to solve them. I find that the construction of the grid is often about 95% of the puzzle.

For example, a puzzle entitled, "The Fight"
Two of Anthony, Bernard, and Charles are fighting each other.

[1] The shorter of Anthony and Bernard is the older of the two fighters.

[2] The younger of Bernard and Charles is the shorter of the two fighters.

[3] The taller of Anthony and Charles is the younger of the two fighters.

Who is not fighting?
posted by 517 at 7:46 PM on February 12, 2010

I don't know how realistic the scenarios are, but the Dell logic puzzles at least present more intricate situations and, except for the very first and easiest puzzles in the book, leave it to you to design and construct your own diagram. If that sounds like the sort of thing you're seeking, you can find them here or here.
posted by DrGail at 8:04 PM on February 12, 2010

Best answer: Check out Raymond Smullyan's books.
posted by equalpants at 9:43 PM on February 12, 2010

Best answer: Hmm. This isn't precisely what you're asking, but if you're interested in this especially in the context of RPGs (like, if you're wanting to run an adventure where the players are trying to solve a mystery), you might be interested in this thread (particularly post #3), this thread (particularly post #20), and maybe various bits of this thread.
posted by inkyz at 12:15 AM on February 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not really an answer, but seems like you might be interested in this.
posted by rikschell at 8:57 AM on February 13, 2010

Seconding Raymond Smullyan.
posted by vacapinta at 9:26 AM on February 13, 2010

What I'd really like is something more akin to a systematized murder mystery

The closest thing I can think of are the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games on the Nintendo DS. I played through them while teaching a logic class last semester and was really tempted to find a way to fold them into the course. They driving principle behind the game is eliciting contradictions from witnesses' testimonies. It's a good lesson in reductio ad absurdum. The puzzles aren't about figuring our where to use or combine items as in traditional adventure games; they're about figuring out what would logically follow from a testimony. A lot of "logic puzzles" you see online are actually lateral thinking puzzles. Most adventure games are lateral thinking games. The Phoenix Wright series of games are the only games I can think of that are mostly composed of what I'd genuinely consider logic puzzles (though there's also some lateral thinking, of course).

The stories are great too, and the courtroom battles are genuinely exciting, with spectators shouting, gavels banging, witnesses flipping out, and a prosecutor dressed as an eighteenth-century dandy recoiling from your logical deduction as if punched in the gut. I was really kind of astonished at how good these games are. (And the fifth one comes out in three days, whoo!)

The Smullyan books are another good suggestion, but the puzzles are only loosely incorporated into a surrounded narrative background... there's not much of a story.
posted by painquale at 10:02 AM on February 13, 2010

Response by poster: Excellent answers so far! If you have any more keep them coming.

inkyz, that is exactly the type of stuff I am looking for for my RPG! Thanks. I'll try to get Smullyan's books too.

Rikschell and painguale, I think those are probably wonderful suggestions but I have no way to get those games at the moment (no DS and the boardgame is out of print), so I cannot mark as "best answer", but those seem really good none the less. I'll update if I come across them later.
posted by DetonatedManiac at 11:05 AM on February 14, 2010

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