Distilling be the first of the new craftin' puzzles, where pirates can sit down after a hard nights pillaging and smell the rich odour of rum. Clicking on the tanks at the Distillery, assuming you have a job there, will let you access this puzzle. Distilling labour is needed to produce all three different types of rum, (swill, grog, and fine rum) which is like fuel for pirate ships. Distilleries also produce Hemp Oil, used to make paints at the Apothecary.

Your rating in the distilling determines the maximum quality labour you can generate- the higher the rating, the higher category of pay you will earn. If you are having difficulty with the distilling puzzle, if possible quit your job and try a different job puzzle.

If you want a brief explanation of the rules and how to move pieces, click here.

If you want how to set up your distilling board, click here.

If you want to learn how to create paths using the pieces, and effectively move them to creat columns of Crystal Clears, click here.

Distilling is a puzzle where you sort various types of 'bubbles' or tokens into groups. The lighter a token is, the better it is for your brew. There are two 'special' tokens- spice tokens, and burnt tokens. (the brown ones)

This puzzle is controlled through the mouse, by selecting a piece and then selecting a piece that it can swap with. Trying to swap unconnected pieces will have no effect. To move pieces a long way accross large paths, it may be easier to drag them across. As you acclimatise yourself with the puzzle, in fact, dragging will likely become your preferred method of control.

When there are really no moves available, (and there almost always are, until you progress to CC^5 and CC^6) you can also right-click to send a column up to the brew. (or into the furnace)

The efficiency factor for distilling is effectively time- you will have to rearrange the tokens in a limited time, so that columns with whites have as many whites as possible, and as little black or burnt blocks as possible.

There is only one indicator you'll really need to pay attention to while distilling, (there's also a sort of progress indicator, which may help you know how many columns you've got left) and that is the furnace indicator. When it is about to burn, it'll glow hot, then after the pieces are either burnt or added to the brew, it will become cold again:

About to burn: And after burning:

When the still heats up, your pieces will either be added to the brew, or burned in the furnace. Burning most pieces gets rid of them, but burning whites makes them come back as the irritating 'burnt' pieces. A column with mostly black pieces gets burned, and a column with mostly white pieces gets added to the brew.

You will only be allowed to add about 12 columns to the brew in total, so try and make each one count. The most important part of the puzzle is getting as many crystal clear (all-white) columns next to each other as possible. Many of the experts can send up 12 crystal clears in a row, but once you get up to about 5-7 CCs in a row, you're in "incredible" territory anyway, so there's no need to set your sights quite that high yet!.

Here is an overview of the properties of each piece:

  • Spice pieces are immobile, but give a large bonus when sent upwards into the brew.
  • White pieces are good, and the more there are sent up into the brew, the better the brew becomes. Wasting a white piece penalises you by producing a burnt piece. If your column consists of at least half white pieces, it will be sent up into the brew. To get a higher rating, you will need to send up almost all of your columns with only white pieces in them. (a "crystal clear") Sending up multiple adjacent columns consisting of only white pieces will earn you a large bonus. You need this bonus to gain an "excellent" or "incredible."
  • Yellow pieces have no effect on the brew, nor whether pieces are sent upwards or downwards.
  • Black pieces are bad for the brew, although putting one or two in with a row of whites is acceptable, although undesirable. If your column consists of more than half black pieces, it will be burnt and sent down into the waste.
  • Burnt pieces are white pieces that have been burned instead of going into the brew. They are effectively the opposite of spice pieces: they 'ruin' your brew, and they are movable. There are two differences only between burnt and white pieces: Burnt pieces ruin your brew, and when burned they don't make more burnt pieces.

This means that, ideally:

  • White pieces should be in columns consisting only of white pieces, ideally in columns adjacent to each other, forming not only Crystal Clears, but also CC² and CC³s.
  • White pieces should be grouped with spice if possible, and when not, with themselves, and when that isn't possible, with yellows.
  • Yellow pieces should be grouped with blacks first, to stop white pieces from being burned, and then with whites to stop black pieces getting into the brew.
  • White pieces should be moved towards spice pieces, then yellow pieces to replace any blacks or burned pieces.
  • Burned pieces should be moved to the nearest black column, or one should be created for them. After all available blacks are used up, move yellows into the column to avoid creating more burnt pieces.

Pieces in the distilling puzzle move diagonally according to certain rules. For this, we'll need to group the pieces together:

  • Group 1: Whites and burnt pieces.
  • Group 2: Yellow pieces. (also called 'gold' or 'brown.' I don't like brown as it is easy to confuse with burnt pieces)
  • Group 3: Black pieces. (also 'dark' pieces)
  • Group 4: Spice tokens.

The rules for these pieces connecting are as follows:

  • White and burnt pieces will connect with black pieces above them, and yellow pieces below them.
  • Yellow pieces will connect with white or burnt pieces above them, and black pieces below them.
  • Black pieces will connect with yellow pieces above them, and white or burnt pieces below them.
  • Spice pieces do not connect, so you will have to sort the others pieces into their column to recieve their bonus.

Here's an overall guide to moving pieces:

And individually, in visual format, for white pieces:

For yellow:

And for black:

Learning how to use these rules to your advantage will make it much easier to form rows composed only of white pieces.

Right, here I'm going to set up a distilling board to show you some of the more advanaced moves you can make in order to get those crystal clears (and crystal clear² or crystal clear³. ultimately you want to concentrate your crystal clear performances on spice-columns)

See that white in the centre of the fourth row? See how it has a 'path' of yellow it can follow? Ideally we want to build many such 'paths' for our white pieces that make shunting them around quick and efficient.

Heading down, we want a path that looks like this:

Heading up, it should look like this:

And if we need to get it accross, we use this pattern:

When we shunt the pieces around, we often need to weave more complex paths than these to avoid large areas of only black or only yellow pieces, or to avoid spice pieces. Also, at first, you should be moving white pieces to the left, not to the right, to maximise the amount of crystal clears you can line up in a row.

Note that after using these paths, they 'break.' The bottom one is easiest to fix, but with the top two paths, you may need to move a bubble of the third colour up/down your path to return it to its original state. Make sure to drag it, instead of wasting time moving it cell by cell.

See how you need to swap each set of yellows and blacks around to fix up the path? Not too hard, really.

And here you need only drag the odd-coloured bubble back down your path to get it working again.

It's time for the most critical piece of advice you're ever going to get. Move whites to the left for as long as you can! As soon as you start moving them to the right, you're accepting that your Crystal Clear is only going to get one or two more columns on to it. Now, let's simultaneously face you with a dilemma, and show you why spice pieces give you that bonus.

At first glance, this setup seems about as good as we can get it. It would take too long to move the entire lot of pieces to the right, as we might as well clean up that original row by adding yellows instead of blacks, right?

Errr... nope. There's a relatively simple trick you can do. See, you've probably played the puzzle focusing entirely on the white pieces. While this works... at first... it's not ideal. When you start getting large groups of white pieces, you need to move yellows and blacks around them in order to keep your columns going left. Let's have a visual demonstration. I've moved that topmost white piece along to the left.

Notice how I dragged that yellow up into the columns of whites? Let's finish what I was doing.

See how the yellow took the place of the white, and the white took the place of the yellow? As long as you can get yellows to the bottom of the board, and blacks to the top, this trick will work. Also note that spice piece? It's a big impediment to this trick, which is why spice gives you a bonus, of increasing value with increasing consecutive CCs. Here's what the playfield looks like after I finish doing this trick: (and you'll notice that it's almost a complete column on the left, too)