In my last post, I listed the winners of the design competition but didn't have much time to write anything about the different puzzles. In this series of posts, I will tell you about each puzzle in the competition and give you my brief reaction to each. All photos are by Nick Baxter from the 2013 Design Competition website.
10 Cutter Blades - Mitsuhiro Odawara
I played with this one for a little while and didn't end up figuring it out, there were a few too many pieces for my taste in this type of puzzle. Worth checking out if you enjoy 2D packing puzzles, though!
4Hex - Hiroaki Hamanaka
The first challenge is extremely simple, and just sets the stage for the second challenge. The second challenge I found to be much more difficult: you don't know which piece needs to be flipped and even if you do flip the correct piece it is tough to arrange things right! A good but challenging puzzle I wish I could have spent a bit more time with.
4x4x3 Rhombo Box - Albert Gübeli
I liked that there were only four pieces, enough to make it challenging without being too daunting. I figured this one out in maybe 10-15 minutes and saw a lot of others having fun and success with it.
Albis Ball - Albert Gübeli
I didn't find it particularly challenging, but it was still satisfying when the pieces slid together into a sphere.
Alexandria's Diamond - Albert Gübeli
I didn't spend too long with this one, but found myself a bit annoyed trying to figure out what I could fold and what I couldn't. There are magnets inside to hold it in each of the folded shapes, which is nice to prevent things from falling apart on you but makes it a bit difficult to manipulate. I saw a bunch of people solve it, but I didn't have any luck!
Ball In Cylinder No 1 - Jerry Loo
Designed by fellow blogger, Jerry Loo (Jerry's Blog), the goal of this puzzle is to remove the hidden ball bearing. It is nicely crafted from aluminum and has a good heft to it.
I was able to solve this one a number of times, but couldn't do it reliably! I finally ended up just looking at the solution, and the picture in my head was fairly close to what was actually going on. It is tempting to just rattle a puzzle like this randomly, but careful examination (and a bit of intuition) can lead you towards the solution. Neat puzzle!
There is currently one for sale on his website.
Ball Snake Pyramid - George Bell and Joe Becker
My wife, Kellian, got really hooked on this one and worked on it for a good long while, I think she got through at least 10 of the challenges! (She's not much of a puzzler, so this is quite impressive.) I had a good time with it is well, I'm always a fan of graduated difficulty puzzles, they start you off easy and then ramp up the difficulty. More puzzle bang for your buck! This seems like a good design for ThinkFun to consider producing.
Binary Bud - Namick Salakhov
The goal of this puzzle is to get all of the leaves from the up position to the down position, and then get back to the start.
I was looking forward to this one since I like puzzles based on binary, but I had a lot of trouble getting it to move. I wasn't sure if a move was just tight/jammed or whether it was blocked by another piece. The pieces kind of hurt my hands too, due to the little spikes probably added for grip.
Books/T.V. ? - Sam Cornwell
Each of the "books" has a pin the top and bottom on one end which slides around on a track on the top and bottom of the box. It is basically a sliding block puzzle where the pieces can rotate in a restricted manner. I was a bit hesitant about the mechanics of this one, but I had a good time playing around with it. A good medium difficulty and interesting movement.
Bucolic Cube - Yasuhiro Hashimoto
The goal is to assemble the three identical pieces into a 3x3x3 cube. It sounds simple, but it is actually somewhat challenging! It takes advantage of a natural tendency most people have when solving this type of puzzle.
This was one of my favorite puzzles of the competition: it looks simple at first, then you start to think it is impossible!
Alright, that's all for now! I'll do 10 puzzles per post, so this should be a 6-part series. It is a bit exhausting to write, but I hope you enjoy reading it!