About Exchange 24

Puzzle details

This game is a simplification of The 24 Soldiers Puzzle: there are only two types of pieces (two sets of 12 identical pieces) and hence we don't need to worry about the correct position of each individual piece. This reduces the number of states in 12!·12!, that is, hugely less states than those of Puzzle 24. In fact, it has 25!/(12!·12!) states, or 67,603,900 and this makes this puzzle affordable for computer analysis.

So solving this puzzle is much simpler. In addition, the initial state is always the same so an optimal solution has always the same length. This fact could be used to give 3 stars to users that achieve that minimum, but I don't know that number yet.

To give you an idea, for the 24-puzzle it has been calculated that the minimum number of steps of the most difficult configuration is between 152 and 208. So solving Exchange-24 should be far more easy.

If someone manages to calculate the optimal solution for this puzzle, please tell me and I will update this article.




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