Snipperclips: Cutting tools into desired polygons using themselves

Zachary Abel, Hugo Akitaya, Man Kwun Chiu, Erik D. Demaine, Martin L. Demaine, Adam Hesterberg, Matias Korman, Jayson Lynch, André van Renssen (Corresponding author), Marcel Roeloffzen

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We study Snipperclips, a computer puzzle game whose objective is to create a target shape with two tools. The tools start as constant-complexity shapes, and each tool can snip (i.e., subtract its current shape from) the other tool. We study the computational problem of, given a target shape represented by a polygonal domain of n vertices, is it possible to create it as one of the tools' shape via a sequence of snip operations? If so, how many snip operations are required? We consider several variants of the problem (such as allowing the tools to be disconnected and/or using an undo operation) and bound the number of operations needed for each of the variants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101784
Number of pages15
JournalComputational Geometry
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
An extended abstract of this paper appeared in the proceedings of the 29th Canadian Conference on Computational Geometry (CCCG 2017) [4] . M. C. was supported by ERC StG 757609 . M. K. was partially supported by MEXT KAKENHI Nos. 12H00855 , and 17K12635 . M.-K. C., M. R. and A. v. R. were supported by JST ERATO Grant Number JPMJER1201 , Japan.


  • Cutting tool
  • Puzzle game
  • Shape matching


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