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Pentomino Puzzle

This puzzle started as a recreational math game and kept people entertained as they waited for someone to invent Tetris


How to Solve a Pentomino Puzzle

The term Pentomino comes from the shape of the 12 tiles in the game which are made of five squares of the same size. The 12 tiles resemble letters from the Latin Alphabet and are sometimes referred to as the L, the Y or the X tile.

The starting board, the rectangular frame you need to fill in using the tiles, has exactly 60 squares, the same number as in 12×5, the total number of squares in the tile. This means you must find a way to fit all the tiles inside the frame with no gaps or overlaps. Obviously, you are allowed to rotate the tiles as you see fit, just like in



Pentomino Puzzle Versions

Since the frame for the traditional version needs to have exactly 60 squares, there’s little room for variation. You can play a bit with the height and width of the rectangle, but that’s about it

There is also a 3D version of the Pentomino Puzzle and the goal there is to create a cube.


The Pentomino Puzzle Board Game

The board game version is called Golomb’s Game, in reference to the game’s inventor. The game is played on an 8×8 board and there can be 2 or 3 players who take turns placing tiles on the board so they fit in with the others without gaps or overlaps. The last player who manages to place a tile on the board wins the game. The French have created a board game called Blokus, which incorporates all the 12 pentominoes in Golomb’s Game and added other tiles made of 1, 2, 3, or 4 squares.


History of the Pentomino Puzzle

The Pentomino Puzzle was invented by American professor Solomon W. Golomb who presented it in a 1965 book on polyominoes. In Math speak, a Pentomino tile is a polyomino of order 5. The puzzle became popular in the US after Scientific American published an article on it in October 1965.