September 22, 2014

2014 Puzzle Design Competition (Part 3)

This is a continuation in my series of posts about the puzzles in the 2014 Puzzle Design Competition . All photos are by Nick Baxter from the 2014 Design Competition website.

Football Match - Diniar Namdarian

The goal is to move the football from the right goal to the left goal by sliding the pieces. The two white football player pieces have notches to receive the ball.

I fiddled with this one for a little while and didn't have much luck with it. Peeking at the solution, it is a pretty long series of moves, but should be an enjoyable one if you like sliding block puzzles like this. The addition of the football theme was a nice touch on top of the usual move piece X to spot Y puzzle.

4 in 1 - Victor Lam and Kazakh Wong

The goal is to take four of the animal shapes and put them in the "mouth" shape. There are four identical dinosaurs and four identical butterflys, and any combination of four of these will work.

I was prepared to not have much luck with this one, due to the odd shapes and multiple challenges, but it ended up being pretty easy. In fact, I thought it was a little bit too easy, one solution wasn't different enough from the next. Still, it was neat that the puzzle worked with both types of pieces and any combination.

42 - Yael Friedman

The goal is to disassemble and re-assemble the ring, which has 42 pieces. That's a lot of pieces! On top of having a lot of pieces, it felt pretty fragile when the pieces were extracted. They bent all over the place, so perhaps a material like metal would be better (though at this size the pieces would probably bend).

I really liked the idea of a burr-ring though. It was pretty tricky even getting the first piece removed, and I didn't dare take out more than two more after that. It was kind of like a micro-Berrocal. Maybe a bracelet would be a better size?

Frustrating Mosaic - Anthony Steed

The goal is to assemble the dodecahedron without opening the box. I don't really want to give anything away about this one, but it actually ended up being more clever than I expected!

The Golden Ratio Box - Peter Wiltshire

The goal is to open the secret compartments of this box. It was also one of the Top Ten Vote Getters.

This box is beautifully crafted by Peter and has an fun and interesting solution. As with Don't Shout, the solution has a nice symmetry but I feel like multiple compartments ideally would have layered solutions of some sort (open one to open the next like Iwahara's Byway or different solutions like Iwahara's Confetto).

Grant's Tomb - Kim Klobucher

The goal of this box is to remove the sarcophagus from the glass enclosed tomb and then free Grant from the sarcophagus.

This additional step on top of opening the box was a fun addition. Kim likes to use gravity pins in his box mechanisms that I don't much care for, but otherwise a nice box!

Infinity - Kirill Grebnev

The goal is to remove the rope loop. This puzzle was one of the Top 10 Vote Getters.

As with his previous entries, it makes use of natural materials which gives it a nice look. Sometimes these can be pretty challenging, but I didn't have too much trouble with this one. It reminded me of a classic disentanglement, though the solution is a bit different.

Ladybird - Robrecht Louage

The goal is to free the coin. I was expecting it to be a "simple" double-maze similar to Medallion, but it had an interesting little twist to it which was unexpected. One minor flaw is that the metal pegs that navigate the maze scratched up the acrylic, but that could probably be prevented with shorter pegs or wood dowels.

Ms. Pack-Man - Chris Enright

The goal is to pack the pieces in the tray. This is a nice sequel Pack-man from IPP32. I didn't have much luck with that one, and I also didn't have any luck with this one in the limited time I had. Packing puzzles with irregular pieces can be quite tricky, but I'd liked to have spent more time on this one.

Naked Secret Box "BLUE" - Akio Yamamoto

This is a puzzle box made entirely out of laser cut acrylic that disassembles into its component pieces. Pretty neat! The beauty of the clear acrylic is that nothing is hidden (hence "naked"), so you can theoretically study it to figure out what to do. Still, it is not trivial, it is a bit tricky to figure out which pieces to move. There was another puzzle in the exchange Naked Secret Box "RED" that was completely different (but with the same construction) and I purchased both.

NumLock - Goh Pit Khiam

The goal is to remove all the pieces and re-assemble, but this is another variation on an n-ary puzzle (I think this one is trinary). The dark pieces in the middle operate similarly to the slider in other n-ary puzzles, but it is unusual to have no slider across all pieces.

I found it difficult to tell which of the dark pieces I was able to move at any time, and since there are six of them it took a bit of fiddling to get the pattern. I really liked how you could remove the magnetically attached faceplate to reset the puzzle, that also lets you peek at the mechanics so you don't just need to use trial and error to figure out which piece can move.

Stay tuned for Part 4 tomorrow!

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