Pipes puzzle also known as the Net or FreeNet is a game where your goal is to restore a scrambled network of connections by rotating tiles of the board.
It is usually played on a grid of squares. That variant is available for example on puzzle-pipes.com or in Simon Tatham's puzzle collection.
This site however contains the same puzzle set on a hexagonal grid.
Hexagonal tiles provide more variety of tile shapes. But otherwise the logic stays the same.
Rotate the tiles to connect them all together with no loops. There are some features to help with the process:
- Connected tiles will get a random color to help you track what's already in the network.
- Forming loops is forbidden by the rules so the tiles that form a loop will be highlighted with a red background.
- When you're sure of a tile's position you can lock it by right-clicking. This will prevent it from accidentally being rotated out of its correct position.
- You can make edge marks by drawing a line across or along tile border. This lets you mark some edges as "definitely a wall" or "definitely a connection".
Try this small puzzle right here or solve many more like this in various sizes. Every puzzle here is guaranteed to have a unique solution.
Hexagonal wrap pipes
Wrap pipes are a challenging variation of the puzzle. The connections in this variant are allowed to wrap between borders of the board. Imagine copies of the puzzle placed on all sides of it (left, right, top and bottom). This way tiles on the right border can connect to tiles on the left border - or "wrap" around.
Unlike regular pipes puzzles the wrap variant has no convenient outer walls to start the deductions from. Hence its increased difficulty. To help deal with wrap edges multiple copies of the puzzle are shown, tiling the screen. When you rotate a tile all its copies will rotate too.
Try this small wrap puzzle here. There are many more hexagonal wrap puzzles for when the regular variant isn't much of a challenge any more.
- 2023-03-18 Add square grid puzzles.
- Play the classic variant of pipes: square and square-wrap.
- 2023-03-05 Export/import of puzzles as json files. Plus some new generator options.
- You can now download a puzzle as a json file. Open the downloaded file on the custom puzzle page. If a daily is too hard you can let the solver have a go at it =).
- Custom puzzle page has a new setting to "Avoid obvious tiles". This can spice up regular puzzles by avoiding things like straight tiles along outer walls.
- You can also ask the generator for a puzzle with multiple solutions. See if you can spot the ambiguities =).
- 2023-02-19 Automate obvious stuff away with a smart assistant.
- When you lock a tile or create an edge mark the surrounding tiles will rotate to match. Enable the assistant in the settings and give it a try.
- I also did some tweaks to edgemark gesture detection to make them somewhat less finicky and easier to create.
- 2023-01-21 Switch to client-side generated puzzles
- Say hello to an infinite supply of puzzles that are now generated for you client-side. Static puzzles stay accessible at their direct links but won't normally be used any more.
- Play puzzles of any NxN size by changing the number in the url. For example, go to /hexagonal/50 for 50x50 puzzles. Please tweet a screenshot at me if you complete something that huge =).
- Custom puzzle page now has a "branching" control. Low branching values create puzzles with long winding corridors, high branching leads to lots of intersections and deadends. This affects puzzle difficulty: try a wrap puzzle with low branching if you want something evil.
- 2022-12-12 Changed settings placement
- The settings can now be accessed through a button below the puzzle. This should make them more discoverable .
- 2022-12-05 Client-side puzzle generation
- I've rewritten puzzle solving and generation logic from python to js. So now you can try generated puzzles of any size at the custom puzzle page.
- The custom page doesn't currently have progress saving or timings so please don't start a 100x100 unless you have enough time to finish it in one go =).
- There's a "Solve it" button too so you can watch the robot work on a puzzle.
- 2022-08-30 More minor updates:
- Adam Burgess fixed a bug with seconds countdown display on daily puzzle page. Thanks =).
- Improved handling of X tiles in click to orient control mode. The guiding dot is now placed consistently between top ends of the X instead of on a random end.
- 2022-08-28 Minor quality of life updates
- Zoom level now stays the same when you click "Next puzzle".
- Next puzzle is prefetched while you solve to provide instant navigation.
- 2022-08-27 Some changes for daily puzzles:
- Changed streak calculation logic for daily puzzles - missed days are now counted as not solved. Included streak length in share text.
- Did minor updates to controls for upcoming daily puzzles with holes. It's now possible to zoom/pan when the cursor is over an empty tile.
- 2022-08-21 Added initial version of daily puzzles.
- Added a setting to disable zoom/pan because the new functions weren't working well for some users. If you use the setting then puzzles will be shown fully zoomed out like before and you can rely on browser zoom to deal with small tiles.
- As a small improvement made the page keep scroll position the same when you click "Next puzzle".
- 2022-08-13 The timer now stops ticking when you leave the puzzle page or switch to a different tab. It continues when you return to the puzzle. This should give more accurate times on large puzzles. Thanks to @joshwilsonvu for the pull request.
- 2022-08-11 Zoom and pan! Solving big puzzles should be easier now with the ability to
zoom in and move around. A summary of improved controls:
- Zoom in and out with the mouse wheel. Pinch to zoom on mobile or with a touchpad.
- Click/touch and drag to pan. Panning starts after the distance traveled is > 1 tile width.
- Right click or longpress to start locking tiles. Once started you can lock multiple tiles by moving the cursor around.
- Make edge marks by drawing a line near the edge middle. A line along the edge makes a wall mark, across the edge - a connection mark. Draw again to erase. With a mouse or touchpad you can also click and hold near the edge middle to place an edge mark. In this case left mouse button makes a wall mark, right button makes a connection mark.
- Click to rotate tiles (as before)
- 2022-07-31 Added some buttons based on HN feedback:
- Start over - reverts the puzzle to initial state
- Hide timer - hides solve times
- New puzzle - lets you skip current puzzle and start another one
- 2022-07-30 Some bug fixes and improvements:
- Added large wrap puzzles: 20x20, 30x30, 40x40.
- Fixed browser back button not working after changing puzzle size or type.
- Fixed multiple solutions found in some of the wrap puzzles. This was done by replacing a few of the tiles to remove ambiguity. If you had saved progress in one of the affected puzzles then the replaced area might look strange and might have to be redone.
- 2022-07-19 Improved wrap variant UI by displaying multiple copies of the puzzle tiling the screen. Fixed a bug with edgemarks not being restored from saved progress.
- 2022-07-11 Added wrap variant.
- 2022-07-10 Added solve time statistics and saving progress on a puzzle. Everything should be saved to browser local storage.
- 2022-07-05 Added loop highlighting. Tiles that form a loop now get a red background color.
- 2022-07-03 Added edge marks - now it's possible to mark an edge as a connection or a wall.
- 2022-07-02 Added a new control mode - click to orient. It takes less clicks than the default "click to rotate" but requires more precision with where you click.
- 2022-06-30 Added a thousand puzzle instances for sizes up to 40x40. Reworked navigation to show random puzzles.
- 2022-06-28 Made tiles look like actual hexagons instead of circles
- 2022-06-27 Added flow visualisation with random colors
- 2022-06-25 Initial release of hexagonal pipes puzzles