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 Dave Killoran
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Setup and Rule Diagram Explanation

This is a Basic Linear: Balanced, Identify the Templates game.

This is an ideal start to this section: A Basic Linear: Balanced game that can be attacked with templates, and the added bonus of seven questions (a greater number of questions is a positive in a Templates game).

The initial scenario is as follows:


Let’s examine each rule individually:

Rule #1

This rule sets up a basic sequential relationship between G and P. Note that G must be on a lower-numbered hanger than P, meaning that G is to the left of P on the diagram. The traditional representation for such a rule is:


The immediate implication of this rule is that P cannot be on hanger 1, and G cannot be on hanger 6:


Rule #2

This rule establishes that R is on hanger 1 or 6:


Of course, R cannot be on hangers 2, 3, 4, or 5, but because R is already shown on 1 or 6, showing those Not Laws would be redundant.

Rule #3

This rule indicates that S or W must be on hanger 3:


The combination of rule #2 and rule #3 establishes four basic templates (to be explored momentarily).

Rule #4

This rule creates an SL block:


By itself, this rule produces two more Not Laws:


At this point, each of the rules has been effectively diagrammed. But, because of the basic interaction of rule #2 and rule #3, plus the information from rule #1 and rule #4, the best approach to this game is to show the four basic templates that control the game.

Template #1

In this template, R is on hanger 1, and S is on hanger 3:
Of course, from rule #4, L must be on hanger 4. Also, from rule #1, P cannot be on hanger 2 (leaving only G or W for hanger 2) and G cannot be on hanger 6 (leaving only P or W for hanger 6). Thus, dual-options exist on both hangers 2 and 6:

Template #2

In this template, R is on hanger 1, and W is on hanger 3:
The SL block from rule #4 must be on hangers 4-5 or 5-6. Because G P from rule #1, P cannot be on hanger 2 and thus G must be on hanger 2. P must then be on hanger 4 or 6:

Template #3

In this template, R is on hanger 6, and S is on hanger 3:
Of course, from rule #4, L must be on hanger 4. Also, from rule #1 P cannot be on hanger 1 (leaving only G or W for hanger 1) and G cannot be on hanger 5 (leaving only P or W for hanger 5). Thus, dual-options exist on both hangers 1 and 5:

Template #4

In this template, R is on hanger 6, and W is on hanger 3:
The SL block can go on hangers 1-2 or 4-5, and the G :longline: P sequence is then forced to go on hangers 4-5 or 1-2:

Combined, all of the setup information appears as follows:

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Would you say this is a game that you absolutely have to use templates on? I didn't, and I got the questions right but it took me 9 minutes and 7 seconds (23 sec over).
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 Dave Killoran
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You really never "have to" use templates, but the value is that they make things so much easier when they are applicable. Thus, this game can be done faster and with more certainty with templates than without them.

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Quick question about templates for this game. I made 4 templates by simply moving the SL block. However, this method left more room for variance than the method used here. Using the two dual-option rules was a bit counterintuitive to me, but clearly the better method. Can you explain why? Thank you!
 Adam Tyson
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Great question, mizz_uwa! First, doing the templates the way you did ALSO works very well on this game, especially as two of the templates completely solve the game (the other two are, sadly, pretty barren). I was able to go through the questions quickly with them with no problems.

But when you have two "either/or" type rules, combining them can often be very powerful, and the math suggests that you'll have 4 templates based around combining them. Sometimes, one of those combos proves to be impossible, narrowing it to 3 templates, but other times, as here, you might split one or two combos into sub-templates, for a total of 5 or even 6.

How do you know which one is right before you start down one or the other path? In many cases, you don't, and it might not even matter all that much. I think that's the case here. Dave's approach is great, with lots of info to attack the answers quickly and confidently. Yours, which I replicated before writing this answer, is probably a little faster to set up but leaves a little more unknown, slowing you down a bit in some of the questions. That's a pretty fair trade, in my opinion! As long as you keep practicing, and you aren't afraid of trying templates, you'll continue to benefit from them and get better at them. In the end, what works best is whatever works best for you!
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Do you have any advice on when we should draw out templates? I diagrammed the rules and basic diagram, but thought there would be too many templates, based on the S/W and R1 or R6 placement.
 Adam Tyson
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That's a great question, ikim10, and one that every LSAT student has to face at some point in their studies. A few resources should help, including:

1) The chapter in our Logic Games Bible on that subject (Limited Solution Set games, which includes the Templates approach and the Possibilities approach).

2) This blog post: ... templates/

3) This podcast episode: ... tion-sets/

Ultimately, the best thing you can do is practice, practice, practice. While doing practice sections, both timed and untimed, try taking the templates approach any time you think it might be helpful, and in the process you will get better and better at recognizing when it is, and is not, a good choice. Sometimes you will start down that path and then discover that it isn't paying off, but that's not a problem. At that point, you just stop going down that path and move on to the questions. Sometimes, though, you will discover that it's amazing and tells you almost everything you need to know, and those cases are worth studying so you can see what made it worthwhile, which will make it easier for you to spot that same kind of thing in other games (like the combination here of two dual options, indicating 4 combinations).

And after all that, here's a short answer: templates are driven by combinations of rules that greatly restrict the overall shape of the game. Look for blocks, or long sequences, or variables that are very restricted, or spaces that are very restricted. Combine a couple of those things and you are likely looking at a good candidate for templates.

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