Tents is a logic puzzle hailing from the Netherlands. It’s a nifty little spacial awareness teaser that’s quick to learn and great fun to solve. Here’s an example puzzle – a very small one:

We are playing on a grid with numbers on the outside, and circles in some of the cells. These circles represent *trees*, and our objective is to place *tents* such that every tree has a tent associated with it. There are, of course, some rules to follow.

- Every tree must have a a tent placed next to it, either above or below, or to the side of it.
- No tent can touch another tent, even diagonally (but trees can have multiple tents touching them).
- The numbers on the outside of the grid tell you how many tents there are in that column or row.

Here’s what our example puzzle looks like once it’s been solved:

This small example is made particularly easy because of the five 0s on the outside. These reduce the possible positions of the tents to almost one for each tree:

Not every puzzle is this simple! Most have fewer 0s. Indeed, as the puzzles get harder, some rows and columns are not labelled at all.

Solving a Tents puzzle is all about eliminating places that the tents cannot be placed. Here are some tips to get you started, then we’ll work through an example of a full-size puzzle (below).

- Begin with 0 rows and columns. Striking them out immediately reduces the possible placements of the tents.
- Look for places where there are three or more trees in a line. These limit the possible placement of tents for the trees in the middle of the formation.
- When you have found a place where a tent
*must*go and have drawn it in, strike out all the cells around that tent (including the diagonals) – we know none of them can contain another tent. - When you have “completed” a row or column, which is to say it has its full complement of tents, strike out the rest of the cells in that row or column. This further reduces placement options.
- It can be helpful to cross out trees once you have placed their associated tent, and to cross out the numbers outside the grid when you have complete a row or column. This helps focus on where any remaining tents must be placed.

Here’s a full-size puzzle. If you want to download and print a copy to play along, this puzzle is included in our Tents Taster PDF that you can download here.

Let’s begin by blocking out the 0 row, as we know it cannot contain any tents.

Straight away, that gives us the position of our first tent (marked by the blue box). The tree in that box only has one available cell adjacent to it into which we can place a tent. Let’s draw that in, then block out the cells around the tent.

Now we have two more places to put tents (the blue boxes again). With the blocked out cells, these trees only have one remaining adjacent cell each. Let’s fill in the tents and block out the cells around them.

To make it easier to see what we’re doing, we can put crosses through the trees that have their tent in position. We can also cross out completed rows and columns. One of the tents we’ve just placed has complete a column, so we can cross it off and block out the rest of its cells.

We’ve got a new place to put a tent, right in the bottom corner. We’ll draw that in, and block off that completed column.

This gives us two more positions. The 2 halfway up the right hand side is easy to spot because there’s only one adjacent cell next to it. But what about the 1 in the bottom left? That has a cell above and one to the left. How do we know in which one to place our tent? Simple: the row above the tree is labelled with a 4, and there’s only one valid place we can put a tent to complete that row.

Those placements let us block off lots more cells, complete a column, and gives us a whopping five more positions (all marked with blue boxes above)! Filling those in gets us a long way...

You now know everything necessary to complete the rest of the puzzle – can you do it? To give you a head start, I’ve marked the next known tent position with a blue box again. To check your solution, have a look at the Taster PDF (linked below).

Ready to have a go yourself? We’ve put together a taster of four puzzles for you, including the example above. You can download and print the PDF below. Solutions are included, but no cheating!

Want some top-quality Tents puzzles? We have you covered! *Puzzle Weekly Presents: Tents* is a collection of 120 puzzles set over seven levels.

We include Tents in *Puzzle Weekly* from time to time. *Puzzle Weekly* is our **free weekly puzzle magazine** – find out more, and get your copy, here.