This weekend I headed down to New York for a puzzle collector's get-together that was organized by Brett Kuehner. I was really looking forward to this event because I knew it would be a great opportunity to meet some fellow puzzlers, talk about puzzles, and try a bunch of puzzles that I probably wouldn't have had the chance to try otherwise. I was particularly psyched to meet Rob Stegmann, since I refer to his site, Rob's Puzzle Page, on almost a daily basis.
Lots of other people came, I think it was something like 15 or 20 total. I tend to get pretty absorbed in the puzzles so I didn't get a good count. George Hart was there: he has designed a number of very cool geometric assembly puzzles (check out his site). Tom Cutrofello was also there, who is the Mechanical Puzzles Correspondent for Games Magazine. He also has a puzzle blog here. I also met Ron Dubrens, who designed Rubik's Rabbit (a.k.a. Rubik's Hat), Nemesis Factor, and Tickle-me Elmo (not a puzzle). There were a bunch of other puzzlers there, but I didn't catch everybody's name. So if you are one of those people, sorry for not mentioning you!
I toyed around with this for a bit, but decided that I didn't want to mess it up. Brett said it wasn't particularly hard and said to go ahead and scramble it, but there was too much other stuff that I wanted to check out. Plus, I am a bit afraid of twisty puzzles (check out Facing My Twisty Puzzle Demons).
Roger. "Roger" has designed a number of very unique puzzles, but nobody knows who he is. As Rob told me, one of the most perplexing things about Roger's puzzles is that there are no instructions: you just have to figure out what to do. This one, Rob speculates, involves screwing all the bolts into the metal block.
I played with this one a good portion of the night and had zero luck with it. I could tell that the bolts were interacting with each other in some way, but I couldn't get anything to move from its starting position other than one bolt that freely screwed into the block. I kept putting it down and picking it back up again: it was surprisingly addictive for a puzzle that I was making no progress on. I think this is one that I would need to spend a few weeks working on.
review of it on renegadepuzzlers.ca, so it was interesting to see one in person. I definitely agreed with his assessment that it was a bit awkward to manipulate. You rotate the cube by swiping you finger across the slice that you want to rotate, but you can only do this on what is currently the top face of the cube. Given the huge number of things that could be done with the computer inside this device, it was quite unfortunate that they didn't pack some more puzzles into it, particularly at its hefty price tag. I won't be buying one of these, but it was nice to see it. As you can see, it looks quite cool in the dark.
It is a puzzle box, but Tom didn't know the name of the box or designer. I played around with this one for a bit without much luck. Later I saw that a fellow named Derek across the table had solved it, so I decided to give it another try. This time I was able to solve it, which was quite a relief since I hadn't been very successful in solvingthings this evening. The solution was simple but it took me a while to find it. It was a nice little box!
William Waite called Diamond Teaser. The object is to put all four pieces into the tray in such a way that the holes are symmetric (there are not enough pieces to fill it entirely). I worked on this one for about 10 or 15 minutes, but couldn't figure out how to get the holes in a symmetric pattern and gave up for a bit. Derek tried it for a while and also didn't have any luck. Tom decided to give it a try and figured it out, but unfortunately I glanced over and saw the solution as he did it. It is quite clever!
I solved all three, and I think the three piece one was is my favorite. It is the colorful one on the left hand side of the picture. You would think that they would be pretty easy to put these back together, but the three and four piece ones were a little tricky at first. You can read more about the two-piece version on his website here.
There were a ton of other puzzles, but unfortunately I can't remember them all. Thanks to everybody for all the great puzzles they brought and a big thanks to Brett for organizing this fantastic event! I had an awesome time!
The objective of this puzzle is to make a hexagon and then a star. I worked on making the hexagon it for about a half hour, but I didn't have much luck. I really need to work on assembly puzzles, so this one will be good practice for me.
Rob also gave me a little cube assembly puzzle reminiscent of Snafooz that was made out of erasers. I was able to get that one figured out pretty quickly. A nice little puzzle for 99 cents. Thanks for the puzzles, Rob!
In my next entry, I'll write about my trip to Brett's house on Sunday where I got to see even more of Brett and Rob's collections. (It was awesome!)
2 days ago