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Solve Mastermind codes with these five steps!

By Jasper10 July 2019

You want to solve the codes from our new brain game Mastermind, but you don’t know how?

There are a lot of different strategies to solve a Mastermind code. Some strategies need fewer attempts than others and some are easier to perform.
It doesn’t matter what strategy you use, there are a couple of steps that each strategy implements.
With this explanation, we will show you what these steps are and how to solve a Mastermind code.


Mastermind redesigned

To make the game Mastermind even more fun, we redesigned the original game into the appealing BrainGymmer version below!

Mastermind game redesigned

Solve the code by placing different colours of diamonds in the right place.
The faster you solve the code, the more points you will receive.

How Mastermind works

Mastermind is a puzzle game in which you try to solve a code, in as few attempts as possible.
The code exists out of a series of colours, in our case diamonds, in a specific order.
After attempting a series of diamonds, you will receive feedback.
This feedback tells you if diamonds are in the right colour and the number of diamonds that are in the right place.
Based on this feedback, you can think of your next attempt.

Feedback Mastermind

After each code attempt, the chosen diamonds and their location are noted.
Based on your previous attempts on the notepad, you can think of the next possible order.
Every single correct colour within your attempt will result in a yellow dot on the notepad.
Every correct colour on a correct place will result in a green dot.
Empty circles mean that a diamond isn’t part of the code.

brain game mastermind feedback

The feedback doesn’t say anything about the position of the diamonds.
The dots only represent how close to correct the code you entered was.  

Feedback examples

The notepad below shows there was an attempt with the order of blue, red and green.

Mastermind feedback dots

According to the feedback, one of the three colours is in the right place.
Also, the other two chosen colours are within the code.
This means that one colour is in the right place, and the other two colours should switch places.
In the next attempt, we switch the green and red diamond.
This results in three green feedback dots, the code is correct!

Mastermind code solved

What do you train with Mastermind?

Our brain game Mastermind helps you to train and improve your problem-solving skills.
Solving a problem what Mastermind is all about.
The code is, in this case, the problem which you will solve in as few attempts as possible.
Together with logical reasoning, you will solve every code during a Mastermind game.

The problem-solving progress during Mastermind

Solving the code during a game of Mastermind requires problem-solving skills.
It doesn’t matter if you are solving the codes one way or another, every strategy asks for effective problem-solving skills.
Effective problem-solving usually involves working through five steps. Here are the five steps for an effective problem-solving process:

  1. Identifying the problem

It’s important to not only know that there is a problem. It is especially important to identify and define the nature of the problem. During a game of Mastermind, the problem could be that you know a blue coloured diamond should be included, but you don’t know the location yet.

  1. Ideate the solutions

From the information gathered during the first step, it is time to list possible solutions.
There might be more ways to find out the right location of the blue diamond.

  1. Evaluate the solutions

After listing the possible solutions to your problem, it is time to consider which one suits best.
Some solutions might not be possible, or there might be a faster alternative.

  1. Execute the solutions

You evaluated the different possibilities and chosen the best solution to solve the problem with.
Now it is time to execute the solution.
You place the diamonds in the order that matches your solution to find out if you are right.

  1. Re-examine the execution

The execution of your solution will lead to the desired results, or you have to think of a new solution to solve the problem.
Did you receive all green dots as feedback during Mastermind? Congrats! You solved the code.
Didn’t you receive all green dots? Then it is time for a new solution.

Solve the code with wrong placements

With this strategy, you place diamonds in the wrong place on purpose to solve the Mastermind code.
Doing this can help you focus on a single diamond at a time.

The first attempt

The first try is always a guess because you don't have any information about the code yet.
After the first attempt, two diamonds have the correct colour but the wrong place.
One diamond is completely correct and one diamond isn’t part of the code.
Mastermind attempt one

The second attempt

You know the code exists out of four diamonds, and there are five colours to choose from.
This means that the colour you didn’t include in your first code, belongs to the code.
By placing three of the diamond in the same position as your first attempt and switching one colour, you can evaluate the fourth diamond.
If you switch just one colour and you will receive three yellow dots, you know that the colour you switched was correct in the first attempt.
If there are two yellow dots and two green ones, it means that the last diamond is in the correct place.  
This means in our case, that the yellow diamond is on the correct place.

Mastermind attempt two

The third attempt

In our example, the first situation happened.
This means that our red diamond was part of the code and in the correct place.
Next, you will have to figure out which of the other three diamonds of your first attempt does not belong to the code.
The easiest way to do this is by using the same tactic in the second attempt.
You now know the red diamond is placed correctly, on the right.
After repeating two diamonds like the first try, we put the yellow diamond on the remaining sport.

Mastermind attempt three

The fourth attempt

In the example, you can see how this tactic is done during the third and fourth attempt.
At attempt four, you know blue, yellow, green and red are part of the code.
You can also see that blue and red are in the correct place.
This means that the two remaining diamonds, yellow and green, are in the wrong place.
By changing their positions, you solve the code.
And this in just five attempts!

Mastermind attempt five

Now it’s your turn

Now you know how Mastermind works, and how to use problem-solved thinking to solve the code.
In how many attempts could you solve a code?
And how much codes can you solve?
Play Mastermind and test your problem-solving skills.