Tutorial Contest Entry 4

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Important.gif This page is an entry in the Tutorial Contest.
Please do not edit this page. Judging is currently in progress, according to the parameters set out in the contest announcement. If you wish to discuss this tutorial or provide feedback, please use the talk page.


See the forum-announcement post for a description of the judging categories.

The averaged scores of the judges for this entry were:
Clarity: 8.83
Comprehensiveness: 8.83
Contribution: 7.83
Illustrations: 8.50
Presentation: 9.17
Research: 9.17

The final score is a sum of these scores, with "internal" categories (clarity, comprehensiveness, illustrations, presentation) counting 2x as much as "external" categories (contribution, research). Maximum score is 100.
The final score for this tutorial is: 87.67


Bilging requires a different philosophy than the other duty puzzles. If ye develop the proper mindset, tis an easy and relaxing puzzle.

The key point to good bilging is efficiency, not speed. This is crucial to good bilging. If ye use too many moves to make a Bingo or Sea Donkey, ye could still get Poor on the duty report. Here be tips to use to consistently score Good or higher on Bilging.


when one clear triggers another clear, which may trigger a third, etc.
three in a row or larger, or combo.
two or more clears with a single move.
cannot be moved, but scuttle off when they get above the water
clears all of a single color from the board
Puffer fish 
clears a 3x3 square off the board, with the puffer fish in the center

General Tips

  1. When possible, get into the puzzle at the start of a league instead of in the middle. O course when ye be jobbing, ye don't laze until the league point - but if ye take a navy mission to work on yer stats, wait.
  2. Stay in the puzzle as long as possible. Getting out and back in again really hurts.
  3. Don't pause to talk unless yer bilge pump is yellow.
  4. Ye have ten seconds to make a clear, so take yer time.
  5. Save yer jellyfish and puffer fish until ye don't see even a one-move 3-in-a-row. When ye use a jellyfish, match it with a color that ye have a lot of.
  6. When water is low, freeing a crab is worth very little. When water is high, freeing a crab is worth a lot, and freeing two at once is a huge bonus. See Crab Soup section below.
  7. Keep an eye on the color of yer bilge pump. If it stays aqua the full league, ye will get Good on the duty report. If it stays yellow the full league, ye will get Incredible. If it drops to brown, ye get Poor or even Booched. To increase the color, use fewer moves to make yer combos, or make more complicated combos with the same number of moves.

Mellow Bilging

http://www.frontiernet.net/~zenbilging/aquapump.PNG Most of the time Mellow Bilging is enough to keep the bilge dry, even if ye be the only bilger. This is what ye use when ye be tired and just want to relax, and don't care about improving yer stats. If ye follow these guidelines, ye will get Good on the duty report without having to think.

Start scanning the puzzle from the top looking fer a one-move clear or combo. As soon as ye spot one, use it. Take several seconds if ye need them. Work from the top as much as ye can, so that ye get chains. Constant one-move 3-in-a-rows with no chaining is not good enough to keep yer bilge pump aqua, but if ye make them near the top then ye will get the chains.

If ye can't find a one-move clear or combo, then use a jelly fish (first choice) or puffer fish if ye have one. If there aren't any of those, then look fer a 2 move clear near the top - but make something afore yer ten seconds is up.

Zen Bilging

http://www.frontiernet.net/~zenbilging/goldpump.PNG Zen Bilging isn't as laidback as Mellow Bilging, but tis still relaxing. What ye do is scan the entire puzzle looking fer the largest one-move combo ye can find, and take it. If ye find more than one nice one-move combo, take the one nearer the bottom first, so that it doesn't mess up the other one. If there are no one-move combos, and ye don't spot an obvious two-move combo, then take any one-move clear ye can find (near the top if possible). If ye have learned to spot the one-move combos, then Zen Bilging will usually get ye Excellent on the duty report, and yer bilge pump will bounce between aqua and yellow.

This video shows one league of Zen Bilging, using just a few two-move small combos (no Bingos or larger) that scored Incredible on the duty report. Most of the time Zen Bilging will get ye Excellent instead of Incredible. Please note that the pirate in the video was at the 7 star level of bilging, but full Legendary on Midnight.

Power Bilging

http://www.frontiernet.net/~zenbilging/sparklypump.PNG If ye be serious about bilging and don't mind a bit of brainsweat from time to time, then ye can do Power Bilging. First, tis important to make yer first clear a combo (3x3 or larger) so that yer pump goes yellow fast. This video shows starting from a brown pump and making sparkly yellow with water gushing using three moves: first, a two-move 3x4 combo with one chained clear, followed immediately by a one-move 4-in-a-row.

Look over the full board, looking fer the largest one or two move combo ye can make. Two-move combos are a bit harder to spot (which is where the brain sweat comes in). If yer pump is sparkly and ye don't see any one or two move combo, then ye can either do a clear with chain or start setting up a Bingo. If ye will need more than two moves, then make a clear below yer setup after the first move or two, so that yer pump stays yellow.

Crab Soup Bilging

When the bilge is low and there's no carp damage, then any of the above types of bilging will keep it dry. When carp damage is 50%, then unless ye be doing Incredible bilging the water will rise. Here's what ye do when ye have to bilge underwater.

Ye still want to look fer one or two move combos over the full board - but they will be pretty scarce when the crabs start accumulating. When there's a crab near the waterline, then make a clear (even if ye have to take two or three moves just for a 3-in-a-row) that opens a spot right above the crab. Releasing a crab when the water is high is worth quite a bit, and if ye can manage two at once that's even better. Getting rid of crabs also makes it easier to make combos.

If ye get a jellyfish, then use it on a color that will release a crab or two.

One-move Clears

Tis important to learn to spot the one-move clears. After ye be familiar with them, ye will find that ye can spot the two-move clears more easily. These are listed with highest scoring first. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, and does not use in-game images because tis the pattern that is important.



Sea Donkey




4xN, 5xN














Example Setups

http://www.frontiernet.net/~zenbilging/3x3%20setup.PNG This illustrates using two moves to make a 3x3 combo. First the piece marked with the arrow is moved, then the pair that is circled.
This video uses three moves to make a 3x3 combo, but with the first move a 3-in-a-row clear that moves the needed piece to the correct row. http://www.frontiernet.net/~zenbilging/sword.PNG http://www.frontiernet.net/~zenbilging/sword2.PNG
http://www.frontiernet.net/~zenbilging/setup%203x4.PNG This board could be used for a one-move 3x3, a two-move 3x4, or a four-move 3x5. The 3x5 is probably not worth the extra two moves.

To setup a multi-move Bingo, first find a row that has 3 of the same color on it. Now look on the rows above and below to see if tis possible to make a vertical 3-in-a-row with the same color as yer row's horizontal 3-in-a-row. Lastly, ye need a second color that can also make a vertical 3-in-a-row.

To setup a Sea Donkey or Vegas, ye need to have one row that just uses two colors, so that ye can get it to match this pattern, plus a way to make vertical clears with the same colors. http://www.frontiernet.net/~zenbilging/vegassetup.PNG

Bad Boards

What do ye do when there isn't any clear ye can spot, and ye be out of jellyfish and puffer fish? Well, one solution is to ask somebody on carp or sails to swap stations with ye (because getting out of puzzle to do a different duty isn't penalized, but getting out and back in the same puzzle is). Another solution is to use one of the following, preferably near the top of yer puzzle. The general idea is to mix up the pieces on the board as much as possible, so that ye will have a combo after this multi-move clear.

Horizontal Clear

http://www.frontiernet.net/~zenbilging/horizclear.png Look fer a row that has three of the same color on it somewhere. If ye be trying to clear crabs (or want to move a certain color piece up one row), then move two of the pieces so that at least one is over a crab, then move the third piece in. If there be no crabs to clear, then tis best to leave the center piece in place and move the other two to meet it.

Vertical Clear

Look fer three rows together that each have at least one piece of the same color. Again, if ye be trying to free crabs, ye will want to move all three pieces to the crab's column. Otherwise, tis best to leave the piece in the middle column alone, and move the other two pieces to meet it. This image takes four moves to get a 3-in-a-row vertically in a truly horrid board. http://www.frontiernet.net/~zenbilging/vertclear.png
http://www.frontiernet.net/~zenbilging/vertclear2.png Ye can use this trick fer a vertical 4 or 5 in a row as well, but tis trickier and most of the time uses more moves. Here we see two moves to get a 4-in-a-row vertically.


In-game images and videos used above were taken from Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates, copyright Three Rings Design, Inc. Images were composited by the author of this tutorial for use on this page. This tutorial was created as an entry in the Ultimate Guru event.