SpaceChem PAX Challenge

We held a SpaceChem tournament at PAX that was a huge success. Unfortunately, many of you could not make it, so we’re bringing the challenge to you!

There were three challenges, each with their own rules. If you want to play along at home, post your scores in the comments.

Challenge 1: Speed Challenge

Complete the following puzzle as quickly as possible, regardless of how bad your solution may be. The top times were ~12 minutes (MrBlarney), ~14 minutes (Xander), and ~60 minutes (Illix).


Challenge 2: Optimization Challenge

Work on the following puzzle for 35 minutes and submit the stats (cycles/symbols) for your best solution. You must choose a single solution to submit. The top scores were 151 cycles (Kat) and 26 symbols (Adam).


Challenge 3: Mystery Challenge

Work on the following puzzle for 30 minutes and submit the stats (cycles/symbols) for your best solution. You must choose a single solution to submit. The top scores were 125 cycles (MrBlarney) and 28 symbols (Xander).



  1. GuavaMoment September 7, 2012 12:31 am

    Whole bunch of scores below. Challenge 3 Least Cycles did go over the allotted time to make, however.

    1 – 3m15s –
    2 – 75 cycles –
    2 – 11 symbols –
    3 – 123 cycles –
    3 – 16 symbols –

  2. Alex Phillips September 15, 2012 10:59 pm

    I got 9 minutes for Challenge 1, which I was really happy with until I saw GuavaMoment’s. Nice going!

  3. Alex Phillips September 16, 2012 2:48 am

    #2 – 247/1/32
    #3 – 273/1/33

    Didn’t use up my whole time, but didn’t see any way to optimize without just restarting, so that’s what I got. ( , and replace 1 with and 2 and 3 also)

    Looking at Guava’s solutions, I’m in awe of his skills. 11 symbols is amazingly simple.

  4. nullvoid September 24, 2012 5:24 pm

    didn’t properly time it, but for challenge one, the time was 18:07 when I started, and 18:12 when I finished, so ~5 minutes

  5. Kevin December 11, 2012 10:34 am

    #3 – 119/40 –

    I just saw this challenge and wanted to try on a lark. Ended up with a slightly faster solution.

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