- Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:29 pm
The five patterns Jon set up earlier in this thread IS the detailed setup of this game, ValVal! That's one thing about pattern games that makes them such a pain in the neck challenge - the lack of a truly robust setup, just a rough idea of what can and cannot happen.
Try a hypothetical situation, which is one way that we often attack pattern games. We aren't trying to come up with every solution, but just to get a sense of how it all works. Another strategy is to look at the first question to give you some clues, so if I were playing with a hypo in this game I would base it on the first question, possibly helping me answer it at the same time that I get my brain wrapped around the patterns. Here we go!:
Year one: NOP
Year two: I need the other two, S and T, to participate, per the first rule, and one of the first three will have to repeat. At this point, you will have noticed that you have already answered the first question, because only answer E has both S and T in it! So I will go with OST as my Year 2 pattern
Year 3: O is out, because it can't go three years in a row (rule 2), and N and P are back in because they have to be there in any two year cycle (rule 1 again). So Year 3 is NP and let's say S
Year 4: S can't go three in a row, so it's out, and O and T are back in. How about we try P sticking around this time, so Year 4 is OTP.
Now pay attention to the last rule here! No clan can go more than three times in a cycle, and P and O just both had their third turn in the harvest ceremony. They have to be out for Year 5, and that means my Year 5 will have to be TSN. Let's recap:
In any two year period, all five of our variables were used. Rule 1 is satisfied.
Nobody went three years in a row. Rule 2 is satisfied.
Everyone went three times, so the cycle ends and we can start another one. Rule 3 and 4, which aren't really rules so much as restrictions, are telling us we have finished the cycle and can start anew. That answers question 20!
Nobody went more than 3 times total. Rule 5 is satisfied.
Let's compare this to Jon's numeric description of the patterns. N is my 1-3-5 variable, meaning it appeared in years 1, 3 and 5. P is my 1-3-4. O is the 1-2-4 variable, appearing in those years. S is the 2-3-5, and T is the 2-4-5.
Now, you could swap these variables around many different ways. Make T the 1-3-5, and O the 1-3-4, and so on. As long as you follow that numeric pattern, assigning one letter to each pattern, you will have a viable solution. How many solutions are there? I don't even want to take the time to do the math, but it's a lot. Okay, I do want to do the math, and it's 120 possible solutions. You do NOT want to go after all of those! Instead, you want to uncover the patterns, get a sense of how the game is supposed to work, and then dive on into the questions. You may find that the questions are mostly about understanding the patterns and are not about the solutions at all!
That was a lot, and I do not mean to suggest that pattern games cannot have a clear setup, just that they are frequently not about the setup as they are about just uncovering and understanding the patterns. Hypotheticals take time, but they tend to be worth it on these games if they lead to a greater understanding. Give that a try and see how it shakes out! Good luck!
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
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