February 24, 2011

2011 New York Puzzle Party (Part 2)

While hanging out at Brett Kuehner's house before the New York Puzzle Party, I also had the chance to try a few puzzles made by Brett's brother and son! His son Kai Kuehner is a Lego master, and he created some interesting puzzles out of Legos. They're not quite puzzle boxes: each one has a goal of revealing a jewel/shiny part of some sort.

This first one had a pretty simple appearance, and the goal was to reveal a jewel. You'll immediately notice that there's a little rod that can be removed on the right. Perhaps it is a tool! I do like puzzles with tools involved.

The solution is fairly simple, but satisfying. There is a spring-loaded mechanism: I always like it when something pops into place, quite satisfying! This was also the sturdiest of the three Lego puzzles, which I liked. You don't want to be afraid of breaking a puzzle while you're working on it!

The next one I tried is very unusual looking! It looks like some strange machine of some sort, with struts for support on the right hand side, and a spring-loaded mechanism on the left. The goal of this one is to reveal some clear green pieces.

I studied it for a bit, wiggling things here and there, and eventually found the solution. It is not too hard to find, but the mechanism is clever. Kai removed a panel so I could get a better look at the mechanism: he said he was most proud of the mechanism for this one! I agree that this mechanism is the most interesting of the three, though all of them are cool.

The last one I tried had a cute appearance, it reminded me of an elephant, though I guess the ears are where the eyes are supposed to be! This one was fairly fragile, but I managed to solve it without breaking it.

The solution for this one is a bit simpler mechanically than the others, but it was more like a puzzle box mechanism than the others. In fact, it is a bit similar to one of the Karakuri Creation Group small boxes. Very cool!

I hope he keeps it up! It is always exciting to get to try a puzzle that is one-of-a-kind! You never know what to expect. While I'm on the topic of Lego puzzles, you should definitely check this out. It is a multi-compartment Lego puzzle box that used about $800 worth of pieces. Incredible!

The next Kuehner creation that I tried was a puzzle made by Brett's brother, Soahn Kuehner. It is a beautiful, large, egg-shapped puzzle with a stand. It had a great finish on it, and the grain of the wood was very nice. Since it is mostly solid wood, it has a hefty weight as well.

The goal of this puzzle is to open the egg. I had tried some other puzzles by Brett's brother, so I knew this one wouldn't be easy. I tried the usual things (whacking, shaking, spinning), and spinning ended up working! I checked with Brett, and unfortunately it wasn't the intended solution. No spinning required!

The actual solution is quite a bit more clever, but I didn't really figure it out since I saw the mechanism. It is pretty subtle, but I think if I had spent more time with it, I could have gotten it. The one thing about this one is that the mechanism is a bit unreliable, which can be frustrating if you don't know what the right sequence of moves is. Still, it is a beautiful puzzle and a clever mechanism that I haven't seen before!

Well, that's all for now, but I'm still not through all the puzzles I worked on Friday night! One more post should do the trick, then I'll get to the actual puzzle party. Stay tuned!

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