September 23, 2014

2014 Puzzle Design Competition (Part 4)

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.

One Flower - Osanori Yamamoto

The goal is to assemble to two pieces inside the frame. This was the type of design I was comparing to Claws of the Devil earlier. It uses a number of rotational movements to create the needed space. I found it to be somewhat less challenging than his other designs, though still quite enjoyable. It was nice that there were only two pieces (other than the frame).

Ooban - Kohno Ichiro (Kichiro)

The goal is to place the three broken oval coins in the pipe with both lids on. The description mentions that it was inspired by Iwahiro's Mmmm, but I found it to be too similar: if you know the solution to one, the other is pretty clear. I thought that there might be something clever to do with the smaller bits of each coin, but they go in pretty easily once you have the rest done. The theme was nice though.

Paper Clip - Dmitry Pevnitskiy, Kirill Grebnev

This is a clever string desentanglement based on the shape of a paper clip. I'm used to having trouble with this type of puzzle, but I was able to figure this one out. It is easy to go around in circles, but once I started to play with some different movements it ended out working out. I often find that is the case with these puzzles rather than immediately seeing that a move will work.

Pent-cil Box - Jerry Loo

The goal is to pack the pieces in the box with the pencil. Unfortunately two pieces were jammed pretty badly in the box, so I wasn't able to try this one. Cute idea though!

Perplexing Pyramid - Simon Bexfield/David Singmaster

The goal is to make a regular tetrahedron from the two hinged pieces. This puzzle was one of the Top 10 Vote Getters.

It is an interesting application of the flexibility of certain 3D printed materials. The solution is pretty clever and challenging to find, it wasn't what I expected it to be.

Pillow Packing - Bram Cohen

The goal is to pack all six pieces in the box. I'm really not much of a fan of this type of box, it consists of two halves that separate into two three-sided C shapes. This makes it really hard to stack the pieces and try things out. A proper acrylic box with a lid may have worked better here. In any event, I couldn't figure it out either! This one is pretty challenging.

Pirate's Wallet Puzzlebox - Robert Yarger

The goal is to open the puzzle box, of course! This puzzle was one of the Top 10 Vote Getters.

I purchased this puzzle from Robert and really enjoyed it. It has a number of surprises along the way, and I liked the hinged straps and lock. Unfortunately, it is somewhat fragile and broke a few times during the competition. This is one I'll be keeping away from inexperienced puzzlers!

Power Tower - Goh Pit Khiam and Jack Krijnen

This is another n-ary puzzle, the goal is to remove all the pieces. The great thing about this one is that there aren't any extraneous control pieces or sliders. This gives it a nice simplicity that lets you understand the underlying pattern more easily.

RingInt - Yael Friedman

This is another take-apart puzzle ring, which I liked a bit better than 42 (though 42 looks really cool). It is much more ring-like, though it doesn't completely disassemble. The black strips run through 1/4 of the ring, and must be slid out in the right sequence. Yael even provided a convenient poker tool to help slide them out.

Rollin', Rollin' - Sam Cornwell

The goal is to move the block from one corner to the other. I liked how this puzzle restricted the movement physically rather than simply drawing arrows or something on the pieces to indicate the movement rule. Each of the rolly pieces could only move along one axis.

I found it pretty challenging to make enough room to get the block out of its corner, but once it was on its way it was fairly easy (since I could move a piece into its corner spot).

Safari Clues Cube - Steve Winter

This is an interlocking 4x4x4 cube, with pegs and grooves added to the pieces to further restrict movement. Since this is a very challenging puzzle to solve right off, it has been divided into a number of challenges of increasing difficulty, so you learn about how the pieces interact. The animal stickers on the side are how the challenges are presented (e.g. use the green and blue piece to make an ostrich and an aligator).

This ensures that you know the orientation of the pieces, but you need to figure out the sequence of assembly. I eventually got tired of the challenges and just skipped to the final challenge of assembling the full cube. It took me quite a while, maybe 45 minutes, to finally get it together. Pretty tricky!

Stay tuned for Part 5 tomorrow!

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