February 16, 2012

2012 New York Puzzle Party (Part 4)

After the actual New York Puzzle Party (described in Part 3), Brett, Rob, Rick, Nick, and I headed back to Brett's house to continue playing around with puzzles. The NYPP event is fun, I really like just hanging out and trying out puzzles best of all!

First up, I tried a puzzle that Nick Baxter had just purchased from Will Strijbos at NYPP called Safe. It was designed by Jurgen and is "hot off the presses"! The goal is to remove the coin, which is accomplished by moving the two overlaid mazes and shifting the rivets in and out. The mechanics are similar to Oskar's Medallion in that sense, but the coin adds an interesting element, since you need to progressively shift it down through the levels (each has a coin-sized hole) to get it out.

I spent a good 20-30 minutes on this one, I'd say. It took a bit of trial an error to figure out what the correct path was for each layer, but wasn't too tricky. The first position where you shift the coin from its holding place to the upper maze level seemed a bit off to me: the holes didn't quite line up but I was able to shake the coin into position. There is probably a better positioning where the holes line up perfectly, but I was unable to find it. Overall, a good puzzle!

Next I tried Kugellager 7, which is a puzzle by Jean-Claude Constantin. This is another one of those puzzles that requires an large number of moves due to its recursive nature. It is an extension of his Kugellager puzzle which "only" had 5 levels (1,250 moves): Kugellager 7 has 7 levels and a whopping 4,802 moves!

I played around with it for a little bit, just until I got the last pin to move a level or two, before I decided to head back to the start. I could tell what needed to be done, but didn't want to take the time to do it with so many other good puzzles around to try! Definitely not a puzzle for everyone, but if you enjoy slogging through high move-count puzzles like this (as I do), it is worth checking out.

While I was at it, Brett brought out a copy of another n-ary puzzle: Tern Key, a trinary puzzle designed by Goh Pit Khiam and made by Eric Fuller. This one has a much more manageable number of moves, only 134 since it only has four digits.

I really enjoyed solving this one, it took me a bit to get the hang of the sequence of moves. I really liked the use of acrylic, since it had a nice smooth movement and gave a good view of the mechanism. This seems like it would be another fun one to speed-solve once you get the hang of it! (Speaking of speed-solving, I have been practicing and solved The Brain in 39 seconds yesterday!)

I tried this set of wire puzzles next, which was quite nice. None of them were particularly challenging, but they had nice movements. I liked the way that they had little balls on the ends of the wire, rather than using nail heads to get the required width. This gave it a nice smooth feel and appearance.

Well, I'll have to leave off here for now, but there's a few more puzzles to write about from Saturday that I'll write about in Part 5, and another whole day of puzzling on Sunday!


  1. If you are down to 39 seconds, I concede. I don't think I can compete at that level without damaging myself.

  2. Brian, will the brain withstand that kind of abuse? Without pulling mine out I seem to remember the plastic looked pretty flimsy. My Saturn (also made by Mag-Nif around the same time) has been replaced more than once because the material wasn't up to the challenge.

  3. Brett, it does feel pretty fast! I think I could shave a few more seconds off, but probably not enough to beat the world record. 28 seconds is just nuts!

    Rox, it has done pretty well so far, though I've only had it for a few days. It makes a hell of a racket from the thin plastic clacking back and forth, but I kind of like the rhythm that it makes.

  4. It looks like you had an awesome time at the NYPP. It looks like there was some really great stuff there. We have some of these wire puzzles at the school. THe kids love 'em, they are pretty fun to mess around with..

  5. Just found out about this blog! Wonderful stuff, please keep documenting your findings.
    How would I be able to find out about events such as the NYPP ahead of time? I live in Manhattan and would love to check stuff like this out!

  6. Hi Michael, glad you are enjoying the blog! You can hear about NYPP by asking Tom Cutrofello to put you on his list. His email address is on his blogger profile: http://www.blogger.com/profile/11477057182195913779

    Brett Kuehner also hosts some puzzle events in the New York area periodically, if you want to email me with the Contact Me link on my page, I can get your email address to him so you will be notified of upcoming events.

  7. hi,

    I have a couples questions:

    how is called the first puzzle? and where I can buy it?


  8. The name of the first puzzle is "Safe". You can buy them from Wil Strijbos if you have his email address. I can send it to you if you contact me with the Contact Me link in the About Me section on the right of this page.


Please don't post spoilers! Thanks for commenting!

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