SOMA Crystal
Notation for SOMA Figures

The SOMA figures on this WEB-SITE are arranged in short .HTM files, each file contain: One image (with max. 25 figures) and a text describing the solutions.

If you have the Bundgård & McFarren SOLVE program, you may save the .HTM pages holding solution texts, in the directory where you have SOLVE, and then load them into SOLVE to investigate the figures further.

How do we write SOMA solutions ?

A lot of people are playing with the SOMA and SOMAplus puzzles, and once in a while - the question arises. We have made a figure but how do we write the solution on paper.

Now there are several ways to write down a puzzle. I have chosen the last solution. and all figures on these SOMA pages, have their solution described in a LETTER notation.

The first 36 figures do also have an especially thorough describtion, if you follow the path.
/ ALL SOMA Figure images
/ 0001-0036

This is how the notation works.

First we give each piece a number, or a letter.
You may ask why a number AND a letter, well the initial way was to use a number but then several people made puzzles using two SOMA sets, and to separate the pieces, the pieces of the second set was given letters as codes.
Finally the introduction of the SOMAplus puzzle added more letters.


SO. the SOMA pieces are named 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 or V,L,T,Z,A,B,P

I know it is confusing to have both a number AND a letter for a piece, but it DO help when writing down figures, and if you are using just a single SOMA set (As most people do) then you can chose yourself to use numbers or letters.

Here's a hint

If you too have trouble remembering which one is no 5 and which is no 6, then use my rules of thumb's;
The figures have shapes like hands, and we read from left to right, so count left=5 and right=6.
Using letters, then remember A is before B.
Of course if you are Arab or chinese, who read from other directions, you have to use some other rule.

Now to solve a SOMA puzzle, you must read the solution code for the puzzle.
Let's examine the figure number 007 "THE BED"

The solution looks like this

The first line is simply the identification /SOMA007
The '/' is used by our SOLVER software, and is a separation character
The next lines show the figure seen from the top, as slices of cubes. The top slice is at the left.
So if we expand it a bit, and remove the '/', it gets easier to see.
   7.....6     7733366
   5.....1     7443261
   5.....1     5544222
If you look at the bottom layer (to the right), look at the first line, you see the number '3', this is the 'T' shaped piece laying flat, To the left of this you see the number '7', which is the pyramid shaped piece, and if you look at the left side drawing, you see that this piece no.7 extend one of its cubes into the top layer.

Try to put this puzzle together, and you get the BED

Ok. This may sound very complex to you.
But today 8 sep 2013 I received a wonderfull drawing from John Polhemus maybe this will help your understanding.
A .PDF of this figure can be found here: Understanding the solutions.

   ......     ......     .7....     77.445
   .12...     112...     .62255     .74435
   ......     ......     .6....     66.333
Notation for the solver, and in all solution pages, is like this:


When we talk about the SOMAplus pieces I call them
0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,$ or D,V,L,T,Z,A,B,P,I,Q,S
For this description I have also attached a color to each piece, so that it is easier to see the pieces in the drawings.

Now lets examine the basic SOMAplus 2x4x5 box. First in the notation:

     /SOMAplus 001
     ;The 2,4,5 Base

  =>    Identifying the figure
  =>    The name of the figure
  =>    /Top Slice rear /Bottom slice rear
  =>    /               /
  =>    /               /
  =>    /Top Slice front/Bottom slice front

And then in drawings:
SO - If you have a SOMAplus set, you could make this figure too.

I have 3 ways of grouping the figures.

All Figure images
I group in sections like 'General, Bundgaard' etc. This is simply a logic way, holding contributions, including your's, in the first groups.
Bundgård are my and my family's figures.
Other named groups come from people who have produced large sets of new figures.

ALL new figures are added to the list at the rate that I find, receive or make the figures.
The system is sequential. Each group is starting at 001.

Nonominoes are any figure that is made of 9 columns of 3 cubes each.
Here we see the original Piet Hein figures 031 and 032. These two, and a few more from the original sets, are NONOMINOES for example.
The Cube(000) the Bed(007) the chair(009) and the bridge(013) are all NONOMINOES, they are just lying on their side.
So, you see that the NONOMINOES cover many known figures, even the famous 'W-Wall'
ALL 1069 SOMA-NONOMINOES are listed in this 1999.03.08 Newsletter.

Browse ALL Images here.
This is an easy way to jump around among the many figure drawings, without having to load their solutions.

Written by Thorleif Bundgaard.