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Issues 5 and 6 thoughts

Posted by Sue 
Issues 5 and 6 thoughts
May 14, 2010 11:56AM
Everyone is being rather quiet at the moment! Maybe, like me, the unforgiving hours are being spent happily puzzling away on Gareth's recent offerings. If only we had some lovely sunshine (in UK anyway) to increase the pleasure. As always, I am enjoying Xtra with equal measures of enjoyment, satisfaction and frustration with the occasional big wonderful "yay" moment when a puzzle finally succumbs to patience, perseverance and, usually, a blindingly obvious bit of insight (eventually). Great when that happens.

Unlike Christine and others I still can't get into the "link" ones - will really try again - but love the number placing puzzles. If you are doing requests, Gareth, in future issues I would love to see more of the following:

Consecutives (only 4 each issue - thats really mean - they are the best)
Odd Pairs (love these)
Negative number Killers
(Even) more variants on Samurai Stars
- l love all the patterns and inter connections - another X one wd be great sometime
More Killer inequalities (Biggest "yay" so far this week was completing one of these! Finally)
Some harder Calculodukos (don't go mad tho!)

Thats not to say I don't like the other variants but there are usually plenty of skyscrapers, outside numbers, jigsaws etc. I also love the variety of sizes. The 6x6 page is always great for a coffee break and the larger ones saved for (a rare but lovely|) a good long sit down.

I know I am I'm just being selfish and greedy here! What do your other fans think then?

Thanks again for such a brilliant magazine Gareth - I hope subscriptions are deservedly booming.
Re: Issues 5 and 6 thoughts
May 14, 2010 02:12PM
You're right - it's been quiet recently! I'm not really sure why that is, but I've always found that on PuzzleMix too - sometimes it is very quiet and sometimes it's very busy. It tends to go in cycles, but what causes those cycles I have no idea!

Thanks ever so much for the feedback and generous comments - it's very useful indeed for me because otherwise I don't really know what's being enjoyed and what isn't so much. I could do more 6x6 puzzles if there was demand, for example - e.g. a page of 6x6 consecutive or some such, or 6x6 odd pair (or both on the same page). I'm personally a fan of puzzles I can do quite quickly, so that's the kind of thing I would enjoy - but it doesn't follow that most other people would. smiling smiley

Maybe I'll break the negative number killers out into a separate page, since they seem quite popular, and of course there is an infinite variety of number sets you can use for those puzzles (and Calcudoku and its variants).

I assumed with the "X" Samurai Stars that the repeating digit sets made them 'one trick ponies', but I could certainly do one again, and they do look quite interesting too. smiling smiley

In terms of sales, I need to do lots more to get the magazine 'out there' - there's been a gentle decline in 'shelf' sales on each issue (i.e. those where it is the latest copy), which I think is probably simply because it gets further away from the end of Sudoku Pro (although as an aside that does seem to be coming back now) and so less people are searching for that online and coming across Sudoku Xtra instead. Since the vast majority of download sales are in GBP (not USD) I am assuming most downloaders are in the UK and quite probably ex-Sudoku Pro readers. Meanwhile it does manage to sell an okay number of printed copies on Amazon.com, but I assume these are simply casual browsers of Amazon.com in most cases - they don't correlate with new issue releases at all, so I don't think the majority are regular readers.

It's possible also that when I redesigned the site for issue 4 I made the forum that little bit harder to find, which has affected posts here perhaps, and the download page is a little confusing for people too I think - so there are things I can do to help, but mainly just talking about the magazine on other forums and trying to get puzzle blogs to mention it would be the best thing I can do, since after all anyone capable of solving the puzzles in the magazine is definitely capable of working out how to get hold of an issue. smiling smiley

So if anyone reading this has any way to get other forums or blogs to talk about Sudoku Xtra, then please feel free to do so! winking smiley
Re: Issues 5 and 6 thoughts
May 14, 2010 05:11PM
Thx for reply Gareth - there's 2 of us around then! Perhaps everyone has been so gripped with the political upheaval they have no time to post thoughts. Bet like me they've had Xtra on the go whilst watching developments tho.

Love the idea of more 6 x 6 pages partic if you slightly increase the difficulty so they are not just a bit too automatic. I enjoy the quickies just as much as the longer ones although they aren't quite as satisfying ultimately. Agree about the X stars but they are interesting once in a while and newer puzzlers (of whom you will have many I would hope) won't have discovered the pattern. Also loved the 15x15 Killer you gave us a few issues back (but hasn't been seen since).

I haven't seen mag in the shops round here. Is it in WHS? Will look out for it and make sure its on good view!
Re: Issues 5 and 6 thoughts
May 15, 2010 09:42PM
Sue - have you looked at Gareth's blog site recently - there is a samurai killer plus and minus - I feel sure it's aimed at you!! It was nice to read your views on the magazine - I'm sure I post far too much so it's nice to have other views for a change!

Gareth - Sudoku Xtra is a brilliant magazine - I think you've got the vairety and difficulty levels spot on. It's nice to have a few of each kind, with the increasing difficulty levels. I love the challenge of the new varieties which keep appearing amongst the old favourites. I'm with Sue as regards the consecutive and odd/even pair sudoku. I'm not as keen on the outside sudoku, but do them nonetheless. Am not too good at the negative number ones, but enjoy having a go at them. My personal preference is for a few easy puzzles, plus medium and hard ones. I don't like puzzles that fill in too quickly - if I am just going to sit there and put numbers in without any thought I can't see the point. It's nice to have a few six by six ones as long as these are not too easy, but I do prefer the 9 x 9s.

I enjoy the inequality and toroidal sudokus and the variants of these you keep coming up with, also the calcudokus, skyscrapers and all samurai variations. I really enjoy yajilin and masyu, not so keen on nurikabe although I will have a go!

The only puzzles I'm not keen on are hashi, hitori and dominoes. Have enjoyed seeing things such as Akari (though I haven't had a go at these yet) and the Pivot Pix, but perhaps these are 'guest puzzles rather than regulars.

All in all, I can't fault the magazine - am always waiting for it to appear each month, so here's hoping the word spreads and sales will begin to increase for you.
Re: Issues 5 and 6 thoughts
May 15, 2010 11:50PM
Hi Christine - good to hear your views too. We seem to have very similar puzzling tastes! Not too keen on hitori either but don't mind dominoes once in a while - they dont take too long and can be done while watching tv! Thx for tip on the blog site. I rarely visit it as it takes me most of my spare time to keep on top of Xtra before next issue. Will check it out tho and start collecting good ones to take on holiday.
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