Wildcard Mazes

1st July 2013

This month introduces a new type of maze called the "Wildcard Maze". These contain asterisks which repeat the effect of the last square you were on, adding an extra level of complexity to the basic logic mazes:


In these Jumping Mazes the asterisk repeats the number on the previous square you were on. So, for example, if you jump from a 2 to the asterisk, the cell behaves as if it contains a 2, and you can then jump two squares in any direction.

Because the moves available from asterisk cells depend on how you got there, the wildcard feature makes the jumping mazes into multi-state mazes in which you may have to visit the wildcard cells more than once in the route to the solution.

The maximum number of states a wildcard jumping maze can have is one less than the size of the maze. So, for example, a wildcard cell in a 4x4 wildcard jumping maze can have three states; one for each of the numbers 1 to 3. This allows wildcard jumping mazes to be significantly more complex than standard jumping mazes.

Here are examples of three variants of the Wildcard Jumping Mazes, each of which illustrates how the wildcard makes the maze multi-state. The solutions are given below the examples, so don't scroll down if you don't want to see the solutions.

1. Wildcard Jumping Maze

Here's an example of the Wildcard Jumping Maze. Start in the top left corner, and jump horizontally or vertically the number in each cell. Find a route to the bottom right corner:


For a more difficult Wildcard Jumping Maze try DNA.

2. Alternate Direction Wildcard Jumping Maze

In this variant you switch between moving horizontal or vertically, and moving diagonally, on alternate moves. As before, start in the top left corner and find a route to the bottom right corner:


3. Toggle Direction Wildcard Jumping Maze

Finally, in this variant you start moving horizontally or vertically on every jump, but when you reach a circle you switch to moving diagonally. When you reach another circle you switch back to moving horizontally/vertically, and so on. As before, start in the top left corner and find a route to the bottom right corner:


For a more difficult Toggle Direction Wildcard Maze try Kangaroo.


The solutions to these three wildcard jumping mazes are here:

Wildcard Maze Solutions

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