The Rules

The ancient game of solitaire has been updated to the 21st century by numbering the pegs or marbles to make the puzzle much more challenging.

You are permitted to move any piece up, down, left or right into an empty square by jumping over an adjacent piece. The jumped piece is removed from the board. The jumping piece stays in the new position.

The overall objective, as in conventional peg solitaire, is to find a series of moves that will result in only one piece remaining on the board. All the pieces are numbered. With each jump, add the number of the jumping piece to build up your total. If a piece makes a sequence of jumps in a single move, the jumping piece is counted only once. Once the pieces on the board have been reduced to one, the final total you have accumulated through the jumps should be the minimum possible for that position.

Be aware that there are usually many ways of reducing the pieces to one, but there is only one way of reaching the lowest total. This will be your target.

In general, you should try to set up long sequences of jumps with some preparatory moves. The challenge is to identify these from the outset. If the puzzle is a tight arrangement of pieces, you can expect multiple solutions. Once you have found a way of reducing the pieces to one, check carefully if there are better ways which will result in a lower total.

The puzzles are arranged in order of an increasing number of pieces in the initial arrangement, starting with six in problem 1 and moving up to twelve in problem 100. The difficulty generally increases with a growing number of pieces, but the positions have been selected to make them solvable even with the larger number of pieces rather than frustratingly difficult. A challenging target for a skilful solver should be 1 minute for the puzzles with six pieces increasing by 1 minute for each additional piece on the board.

You can also, if you wish, treat them as conventional solitaire puzzles to solve and not be concerned with the counting. You can initially use a physical board to solve the problems, but you should eventually try to solve them mentally to improve your calculation and visualisation skills.