This page is a deep dive into the twelve puzzle pieces that make up the PENTAPUZZLE game.
Together with practice, the information on this page will help you achieve true mastery of the 12 PENTAPUZZLE pieces.
The 12 Pentominoes
PENTAPUZZLE is a puzzle game based on the 12 pentominoes. A pentomino is a figure composed of five squares that are glued side to side. Like so:
The total number of different combinations that exist for five squares is 63. However, if you leave out rotations and reflections of the same figure, only 12 unique shapes exist.
The twelve unique PENTAPUZZLE pieces are named by the letter they resemble most:
Each of the 12 puzzle pieces has its own distinct personality. When you play PENTAPUZZLE for the first time you may find it hard to clearly differentiate them. Over the course of time you will get to know them all very well.
The following overview is a shortcut to familiarize yourself with their individual characteristics.
P – Your Best Friend
You will soon find out that P is your best friend: This piece fits almost anywhere! It is therefore very tempting to place it as the first piece in almost any puzzle. But you must resist!
Perhaps the single most useful advice in PENTAPUZZLE is to ignore P until the final stage of the puzzle. When you have managed to fill out most of the puzzle using the other pieces, P will often be able to complete the job for you.
Based on flipping and rotation, P can be placed in eight different ways. This makes it very versatile.
F – The Ninja
The puzzle piece F is an odd one. Like P it has eight unique variations available at your command by rotation and flipping. This grants it a lot of power. It’s not often you use F as the final piece but when you’re stuck halfway, F is quite often the key to making further progress instead of backtracking.
It’s easy to overlook this piece when you’re starting out with PENTAPUZZLE. But as your spatial abilities develop you’ll find yourself using this covert fellow more and more.
X – The Misfit
This is probably the most annoying puzzle piece of all 12. X can be very hard to fit in. For puzzles requiring less than 12 puzzle pieces you’ll often find yourself skipping X entirely. Maybe you should challenge yourself and try to use it?
There is not much you can do with X. It has only one single variation no matter how much you flip or rotate it. In general X does not get along very well with all the other puzzle pieces. It only has one good friend: Quite often you’ll see X sticking firmly with U.
U – Compact Symmetry
Together with P, U is the only puzzle piece that will fit inside a 2-by-3 rectangle. The “hole in the side” is its most defining characteristic which enables it to “grab on to” all the other pieces. P offers U a single attachment point whereas X, U’s best friend, offers no less than four attachment points.
U is related to T, V, W and Z as they all have four variations.
W – Zig Zag Symmetry
W stands out with its characteristic zig zag shape. It’s a great ally when puzzles have an “edgy” border. Due to it’s symmetry W has four variations just like T, V, Z and U.
You tend to overlook that W has two sides. The dominant side which looks like a staircase has a backside which is as gentle as P. This means you can easily snap W on to even shapes like e.g. T or Z.
T – Simple Symmetry
T definitely takes the price as the puzzle piece that most resembles the letter it’s named after. Like the four other symmetric pieces, V, W, Z and U, it has four variations.
T has a sort of bulkiness about it, being composed of two straight diagonal lines. This characteristic is shared only with V. Due to the bulky features of T and V it often makes good sense to use them at the early stage when working on any of the larger puzzles.
Z – Odd Symmetry
At first sight Z looks like just another simple symmetric PENTAPUZZLE figure. But one certain characteristic makes it stand out from the others. Z is the only symmetric shape that offers something new when flipped to the other side. T, U, V and W don’t gain anything by flipping that can’t be achieved with rotation. This is not true for Z.
The flipping aspect of Z sometimes causes it to be overlooked when actually it presents a neat fit. With a little practice you’ll recognize any of its variations in the empty spots of an ongoing puzzle.
V – Corner Symmetry
V is your go-to corner piece when solving rectangular puzzle shapes. In rectangular shapes the V is placed in corner position in a very high percentage of the possible solutions. Just stick it in a corner as the first piece you place. You’ll most likely have a tough time using it later on.
In non-rectangular shapes V can be used on par with the rest of the pieces. Like the other symmetric figures, V has four variations.
I – Longest of Long
Only four of the PENTAPUZZLE pieces are stretching four squares or more. The I, made out of five straight squares, is the longest of them all. The enormous length of this piece generally makes it a hard fit. For rectangular puzzles this should be the second piece you place right after V. An overwhelming percentage of solutions matching rectangular shapes has the I along the border.
Apart from its length the I also carries another distinct feature. It’s the only puzzle piece that has (only) two variations. So, just like X, it’s quite limited what you can do with this fellow.
L – Long With a Bend
The L shaped puzzle piece feels almost as long as the I. It just has a small bend at the end. Like the other long pieces it makes a good fit on narrow sections in oddly shaped puzzles. On rectangular shapes it’s often positioned along the edge.
The L carries eight different variations accessible by rotation and flipping. In spite of its pointy shape it has a lot of fitting potential and is frequently in play.
Y – Long With a Knob
Y and L are closely related, both visually and during play. Like L the Y shape appeals to narrow sections on oddly shaped puzzles and the border in the rectangular puzzles.
Like the other long shapes L and N, the Y features eight variations, granting it a lot of placement potential.
N – Long With a Twist
N is also four squares in length like L and Y. However, it distinguishes itself by having a twist near the middle. This twist promotes a broader application relative to the other long shapes.
The N shape works equally well with on long narrow sections and edgy borders. It has eight variations making it very agile. It’s an often overlooked choice, causing backtracking where progress could be made.