August 22, 2013

2013 Puzzle Design Competition (Part 3)

This is the third part in my series of posts about the 2013 Puzzle Design Competition. All photos are by Nick Baxter from the 2013 Design Competition website.

Escape from Alcatraz - Robrecht Louage

The goal is to remove the coin. The sliding drawer is restricted by the movement of a ball that rolls around in a maze, so you need to tilt the puzzle around to navigate it to the end. There's a bit of a trick to this one!

I don't much like this type of puzzle, you can sort of figure out what is going on if you're careful, but often it is just as quick or quicker just to rattle it around for a while. However, because of the trick I mentioned, that won't quite work with this one and you'll have to work a bit harder. I wish the solution showed a diagram of the maze rather than a description of the steps, since I'm curious what it looked like!

Eyes, Nose and Mouth - Sam Cornwell

The goal is to disassemble the five pieces and re-assemble. Fun to play around with and not overly difficult to disassemble.

I did not try mixing the pieces before I reassembled it, but that would probably be quite a bit tougher!

Galaxy - Bram Cohen

Disassemble and re-assemble the four identical pieces. This design has a nice symmetry to it, and the pieces come apart with a nice movement.

I thought that getting it back together was a bit harder than taking it apart. This would make a good Easy/Medium difficulty Hanayama Cast Puzzle! It won an Honorable Mention in the competition.

GEAPPLE - Andras Zagyvai

The goal is to assemble the ten balls into a pyramid. The balls have different arrangements of dents, which fit together with neighboring balls that lack a dent in that spot. It is beautifully crafted from solid aluminum, which gives it a great weight and gleaming appearance.

I found this one to be quite challenging, there are a ton of different permutations to try so it seemed quite daunting! I tried a few times and kept ending up with one or two balls that couldn't fit anywhere. I saw Bill Cutler figure this one out, which was pretty impressive!

This design won Jury First Prize, but tragically Andras Zagyvi died before IPP after a year-long battle with cancer. My thoughts go out to him and his family.

Helical Burr - Derek Bosch

The goal is to disassemble and re-assemble the four pieces. It has a really neat movement where the pieces spiral up and down while moving. This puzzle won Jury Grand Prize! Congrats, Derek!

When I arrived at this one, it was disassembled so I tried to put it back together: this was extremely challenging since I didn't know the orientation of the pieces when it came apart! Even though there are only so many permutations, the movement was quite confusing and I had a lot of trouble with it. Even with the instructions, it took me a good 20 minutes to figure out how to get it back. Tricky and very novel puzzle!

Hexagonrings - Yuta Akira

The goal is to disassemble and re-assemble the two pieces. The pieces are made out of hefty pieces of aluminum. They were a bit pointy for my taste, a bit more rounding of the edges would have given it a better feel.

It had a similar feel to Cast Disk where you rotate the pieces one way or the other trying to navigate to the exit point, but the exit point was quite clear in this case. You were fairly restricted in your path, gradually working your way to the opening.

Housing Crunch - George Bell

A tray packing puzzle, which looks similar to Houses & Factories, but with only houses! There also weren't any pesky chimneys to deal with, but the houses were different sizes.

Like House & Factories, I had a tough time with this one! George mentioned that it takes advantage of a tendency people have when solving this type of puzzle, and I definitely got stuck in that trap for a while!

I'm Possible - Donghoon Pee

It looks like a 3-piece burr, but is actually a 6-piece assembly puzzle.

The big issue with this one was that it kept breaking: I thought I had solved it and one piece was intentionally not attached, but it had actually just come unglued! I planned to make my way back to it after it was fixed, but ran out of time.

The In'Possible Puzzle - Mike Toulouzas

The goal is to fit the four pieces in the tray. Of course, it is a bit trickier than it appears! It is really beautifully crafted, I love the details on the pieces and the tray.

As the name implies, the puzzle is impossible! However, there is a bit of a trick that makes it possible. I quickly realized what was going to happen, but had trouble actually getting it done. Eventually, I figured it out: a neat and beautiful puzzle!

Karakuri Box - Kohno Ichiro

The goal is to open the box. I love boxes, so I was really disappointed that this was the only box in the competition this year!

The movement was fairly familiar, but well hidden by a number of the design elements of the box.


That's all for today! Stay tuned for Part 4 tomorrow!





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