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Setup and Rule Diagram Explanation

This is a Basic Linear: Balanced game.

The initial scenario is as follows:
PT59_Game_#4_setup_diagram 1.png
Let us examine each rule individually.

The first rule sets up a basic sequential relationship between T and L. The traditional representation for such a rule is:

..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... T :longline: L

This rule produces two Not Laws:
PT59_Game_#4_setup_diagram 2.png
The second rule creates a rotating VW block:
PT59_Game_#4_setup_diagram 3.png
No Not Laws can be drawn from this block because the variables are not fixed.

The third and fourth rules each create rotating split-blocks:
PT59_Game_#4_setup_diagram 4.png
Interestingly, the third and fourth rules jointly address four of the six variables, and place those four variables into two identical relationships. While this may not seem notable, consider the effect on the remaining two variables, N and W—how must they be related to each other?

The answer is often not obvious at first, and if you are uncertain, sketch out a few diagrams and randomly place the two blocks from the third and fourth rules. You will quickly discover that the two remaining variables are also in an identical relationship:

PT59_Game_#4_setup_diagram 5.png
This inference, which is critical to the game, occurs because in a closed system, when two of three pairs of variables are in an identical relationship, then the third pair must also be in a similar relationship. Thus, all six variables are involved in identical rotating split-blocks. There are, however, some further limitations on variable placement due to the effects of the first and second rules. By connecting the Not Laws created by the first rule to the two blocks in the third and fourth rules, two additional Not Laws can be drawn:
  • First, because T cannot be sixth, combining that inference with the third rule produces the inference that M cannot be third (otherwise T would have to be sixth).

    Second, because L cannot be first, combining that inference with the fourth rule produces the inference that V cannot be fourth (otherwise L would have to be first).
This information leads to the final diagram for the game:
PT59_Game_#4_setup_diagram 6.png
There are some further interactions between the blocks, but because these inferences can be difficult to ascertain just by glancing at the rules, we will address them during the questions when they arise.
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Dear Powerscore,

What do you recommend as the optimal setup for this game (Preptest 59, Section 1, game 4). Aside from the not laws for slots 1 (not L), 3 (not M),4 (not V)and 7(not T), which incidentally was useful for 22, I could not really get any good inferences; especially not the one tested in question 18 about N _ _ W and W _ _ N being necessary.

What would you recommend as the best strategy for the game? When I did it I skipped 18 and went to the first local question (Q21), which happened to knock out options A, B and C in question 18. I actually did not 'discover' the inference necessary to answer Q18 at all; rather, I eliminated A B and C based on the stem in Q21 and eliminated D based on the hypothetical that we get from the list question.
Is there some other approach that you would recommend?
In summary, found this game quite challenging and am hoping to get advice on 1. optimal setup and 2. game strategy

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 Dave Killoran
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Hi Alee,

Let me see if I can help point you in the right direction here. The inference tested in question #18 is really critical to feeling confident when attacking this game. How, then, could you get that inference during the setup, and what is the implication of that inference?

The last two rules create two rotating split blocks. By itself, that isn't necessarily notable (aside from the space implications), but what is notable is that those two rules address four different variables, and with only six variables present in the game, that should trigger a closer examination of the situation. Why? Because if four of the variables are locked into two equal-sized blocks, that has to affect the remaining two variables.

From the last two rules, you have:

M/T ___ ___ T/M
L/V ___ ___ V/L

Irrespective of the other rules, consider the placement options for those two blocks. If they were 1-4 and 2-5, what would happen to the remaining two variables, N and W? What if the the first two blocks were 1-4 and 3-6? And so on. In each instance, N and W are separated by exactly two spaces, creating this inference:

N/W ___ ___ W/N

Thus, without considering the other rules, this game is dominated by three blocks:

M/T ___ ___ T/M

L/V ___ ___ V/L

N/W ___ ___ W/N

Those blocks encompass all six variables, and, of course, there are further restrictions due to the other rules. Seeing the game from this perspective makes it much easier, and it would also cause you to attack questions like #18 instead of skipping them.

The lesson here is that if you see a majority of variables addressed by similar rules, consider how that affects the remaining rules. In this case, it reveals the key inference to the game. That inference is critical, so much so that you may have noticed that six of the seven questions are Global. Usually, when you see that situation, there is some deeper inference at work that is helping to move the variables around.

Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!
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Thanks Dave for your excellent reply. I just did the game again having read your post a few days ago. I did notice that the game is almost composed entirely of global questions, I will keep an out for this in the future and make sure I find the key inference before moving on!

Your explanation about how to arrive at this inference was also very helpful...I will be careful to think about how the rules affect the remaining variables as well, and not just focus on the variables directly mentioned in the rules!
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Hi there, thank you very much for your help in advance!

Dec 2009 LSAT, Sec 1 LG, Game 4:

I wrote down he conditions of this question as following:

1) T>L
2) VW/WV
3) T_ _ M/ M_ _ T
4) V_ _ L/ L_ _ V

I used the wrong method to solve this game, which is to write down the possibilities. Because there are so many possibilities!

Could you tell me what inferences and template that I should use to attack this game quickly and accurately??

Thank you very much!

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Hi Sherry,

Happy to help! :)

You're right that this game has a few too many possibilities to be a good Identify the Possibilities game (I counted 10, ideally you only want 6-8).

I would treat this game as a straight Basic Linear game. From the first rule, we can infer that L can't be 1st and T can't be last, so we should add those Not Laws on our diagram. Since L can't be first, that means that V can't be 4th. If V was 4th, that would force L to be 1st so that doesn't work. Similarly, since T can't be last, that means that M can't be 3rd.

From a more general understanding of the rules perspective, we know that the L/V __ __ V/L and M/T __ __ T/M blocks have to overlap. That means we need to have T or M in between L and V and L or V in between M and T. We don't necessarily need to diagram this inference, but it is important to understand.

Once you have a firm grasp of the rules, you can move into the questions. For Local questions, create mini-diagrams. For Global questions, try to read through all the answer choices and eliminate some before spending time diagramming to check different answer choices.

Hope that helps!

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Dear Kelsey,

Thank you so much for responding my questions even in the evening! It truly means a lot to me and it is very helpful! Have sweet dreams :)

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I had trouble with this game because I think I have trouble isolating the rules/variables. I could sense that something was going on with N and W, but I couldn't draw that inference, because I kept on thinking of W in relation V. There's a part of the analysis in the official explanation where the analysis is just focusing on T/M__ __ M/T and V/L__ __ L/V to then push out the inference about N and W's spacing. In my visualization of the game, it was hard for me to do this because W was in a block with V, so I couldn't isolate __ __ blocks and figure out the issue with the spacing.

I realize that this is more of a visual thing, but I'm wondering if you have any advice regarding this? Basically, it was hard for me to isolate W, and not visually keep thinking of it in relation to V, since that was one of the rules.
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 Dana D
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Hey CD,

In this game, if you find starting with the ___ ____ rules a daunting starting place, you can look at the VW rule to see how the rules actually interact.

This is a straightforward sequencing game, and we know we can either have VW or WV - there's no other possibilities. So to start, think about how the rules link up to those two possible templates.

If I take VW, for example, and look back through my other rules, I see that V must be separated from L by exactly 2 spaces. That means that when V comes before W, my block is not just a [VW] block, its actually [VW___L]. I only have one space between W and L to play with. I just accounted for how 4 of my 6 spaces on the game board will look. I can go back through the rules again to see if I can link anything else to this and make inferences.

I could also have L___ ___ VW. Here I know again I have to get that T---L, so I could actually make this block be
[TL __ __ VW]. That's exactly 6 spaces - the entire game board. I should again look at my rules and see if I can make any other inferences or if this diagram will even work without breaking the other rules.

Then I can consider WV - if I follow the same pattern then I have

WV__ __L

or L___WV. I can then go back to my rules and see how I can fit in my T/M___ ___M/T rule and keep T--L, but at least now I have limited the amount of spaces on the board I'm trying to fit those rules into.

Hope that helps!

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