Requires a TADS interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.

Have you played this game?

You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.

Playlists and Wishlists

RSS Feeds

New member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page


by Carl de Marcken and David Baggett


(based on 21 ratings)
4 reviews

About the Story

This one-puzzle game was Dave Baggett's response to a discussion (flame war?) in and specifically to Russ Bryan's claim that there could be no puzzles which are logical yet unsolvable. [blurb from The (Other) TADS Games List version 1.2]

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: TADS 2
Baf's Guide ID: 6
IFID: TADS2-6ACBC6C7D9E402E84E26F5E54C9EA767
TUID: 1z2lxiqua980sedk

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

Written as an example of how not to write games. Specifically, the thesis it seeks to prove is that it is possible for a puzzle to have a completely logical solution, and yet be nearly impossible to solve except by randomly guessing commands. This was the centerpiece of a heated debate on Not meant to be played and enjoyed.

-- Carl Muckenhoupt


- View the most common tags (What's a tag?)

(Log in to add your own tags)

Member Reviews

5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 4
Write a review

Most Helpful Member Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
A game to mention, not to enjoy, May 29, 2008
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)

This game makes a point about interactive fiction design. It makes it well and quickly (one you have figured out the solution, probably by reading the source or the walkthrough). So, although this game is not enjoyable as such, it does the one thing that it attempts to do quite well.

What is the point that it makes? According to Karl Muckenhoupt, the point is that "it is possible for a puzzle to have a completely logical solution, and yet be nearly impossible to solve except by randomly guessing commands". Without disagreeing with that, I would say that the point of +=3 is that "conventions of play are there for a reason". Either way, it's a good point, and +=3 is a name that you might want to drop in a discussion now and then.

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
An attempt at a point, February 18, 2022
by cgasquid (west of house)

+=3 was intended to make the point that a puzzle can have a perfectly logical solution and still be virtually unsolvable.

it does not make this point, as the puzzle does not have a logical solution.

for those not in the know, the goal of the game is to pay a troll by handing it three items. this is the first puzzle and the only puzzle, and you encounter it immediately. however, there aren't three items in your inventory, nor are there any other items to be picked up. so, what to do?

the solution presented is to (Spoiler - click to show)think of objects that have been implemented but that are never mentioned in any descriptions at all, that are omitted from your inventory even though you possess them, and that can't be found by examining yourself -- specifically, clothes.

unfortunately, as too often happens when an author is trying to lecture the audience, it just doesn't hold up.

first, regarding the response to EXAMINE ME. (Spoiler - click to show)you're described as the adventurer from Zork. there was an object that said adventurer possessed that wasn't implemented -- the compass, mentioned only in the Alice-in-Wonderland area in Zork II. but it couldn't referred to. this conveys the information that you're a fantasy adventurer -- yet the words BOOTS and ARMOR aren't implemented. thus, even if someone does think of trying to obtain items by undressing, the first words they're likely to try won't work, and they'll give up on the idea!

second, regarding the game's tiny nature. (Spoiler - click to show)you're said to have just conquered a dungeon, but the game won't let you retreat to gather more items. in the games of this era there was always detritus left over -- the adventurer from Zork would at least have a lamp and sword. there's no logical reason to block this area off; the game is just refusing to allow you to go there because it isn't the intended solution.

and lastly, regarding the shallow implementation. (Spoiler - click to show)a handful of different words for specific articles of clothing -- modern ones -- are available. given the esoteric nature of the solution, again, someone isn't necessarily likely to keep trying clothing nouns unless they happen to hit on one first try. trying to remove my dress or shoes and being told the game doesn't understand would cause me to discard this way of thinking. this game needed a LARGE vocabulary of garments -- and given how little game there is otherwise, there was absolutely time to implement it.

overall, the reason that this puzzle is "logical but impossible" is because the author's rigged things up that way. all this proves is that IF authors are able to write puzzles where the only way most people can proceed is to read the author's mind or guess the right word, and buddy, that ain't news.

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Pointed, February 2, 2011

"+=3's" thesis is that a puzzle's difficulty is not directly related to how logical the solution to the puzzle is, but rather by the context that the puzzle appears in. Most seasoned IF players will find this game's one puzzle infuriating because it cleverly defies IF's conventions, yet the puzzle's solution is not only logical, but, literally, a cliche.

See All 4 Member Reviews

If you enjoyed +=3...

Related Games

People who like +=3 also gave high ratings to these games:

To Hell in a Hamper, by J. J. Guest
Average member rating: (108 ratings)
Professor Pettibone, eminent Victorian balloonist, has a problem. He can't get it up. His balloon that is. If he can't reach an altitude of 20,000 feet, and soon, both he and his mysterious travelling companion Hubert Booby will be...

Six, by Wade Clarke
Average member rating: (38 ratings)
Your name is Harriet Leitner, and you and your twin sister Demi turned six this morning! You're having a fancy dress birthday party, and this afternoon you'll be playing Hide and Seek Tip over in the park. You can't wait to catch all...

Lost Pig, by Admiral Jota
Average member rating: (461 ratings)
Pig lost! Boss say that it Grunk fault. Say Grunk forget about closing gate. Maybe boss right. Grunk not remember forgetting, but maybe Grunk just forget. -- IFComp 2007 blurb

Suggest a game

Recommended Lists

+=3 appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Justifiable Jokes by Walter Sandsquish
So, I download a game and fire up the 'terp. A dozen or two moves later, I discover that the game is pretty absurd and is already finished. Mostly, this makes me roll my eyes, but these made me smile too.


The following polls include votes for +=3:

The absolute hardest non-broken games you've played by MathBrush
After reading Jason Dyer's post on his excellent adventure blog (at about the hardest adventure ever (which I haven't tried yet, but want to!). Everyone has a game that they've experienced that is just absolutely...

This is version 2 of this page, edited by David Welbourn on 7 December 2008 at 8:28am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item