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Friday 1st November 2013

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How to play

Network puzzle solution
This is an example of a finished Network puzzle. Each puzzle has one power cell marked with a ⚡, the aim of a Network puzzle is to link every cell in the puzzle to that power cell. Dead-ends are not allowed.
The smaller puzzles are the easiest, they are the best ones to start with!
Network puzzle
This is an example starting Network puzzle - all of the tiles are pointing in random directions, and we need to connect them all up to the power cell.
The best place to start with a Network puzzle is with the tiles around the edges. I've highlighted the straight lines and T-junction that are placed around the edge of the puzzle. It's helpful to think about each tile in terms of entrances/exits in to that tile. For the highlighted cells they have to be a particular orientation to prevent an entrance/exit pointing at the puzzle edge.
Let's turn all of these tiles so that none of them have an entrance/exit pointing at the puzzle boundary.
Network puzzle
Now that we have some tiles where we know the orientation, we can now look at the tiles connected to our fixed tiles. Again, it's helpful to think in terms of entrances/exits from those tiles. The tile above the power tile for example requires a connection from below, this is an end-node and there is only one orientation that satisfies that requirement.
All of the highlighted cells have some connection requirements. We could have fixed the corner tiles right at the start - there is only one orientation that means there isn't an exit pointing at the puzzle boundary. Some of our cells also happen to be in the right orientation already.
The straight line tiles in the second row can also be decided. Two of them needs a connection from above, which forces the vertical orientation. The one on the left has no connection requirements from above, which means it is must be horizontal.
Network puzzle
We now have some tiles that are connected to the power cell. We can continue with the puzzle in this way, looking for tiles that require a connection to neighbouring cells, and looking how those connections can be satisfied.
Another good place to start with a Network puzzle is to look at end-nodes that surrounded by other end-nodes, the highlighted cell at the bottom of the puzzle is one example. You can't connect one end-node to another end-node, so that only leaves one possibility for this cell - it must be pointing upwards. You can normally find examples like this on the edges of puzzles, and bigger puzzles will have some in the middle as well.
Note that we don't really care about the power cell - the true aim of a Network puzzle is to link all of the tiles together, it's just happens that one of them is the power cell.
Network puzzle
This is the completed puzzle!
All of our puzzles can be solved through logic alone, but you will find that quite often the quickest way to solve them is to 'experiment' a little.

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