July 10, 2010

Puzzle Exchange Day

Here are all of my photos from today.

During every International Puzzle Party, there is something called the the Puzzle Exchange that you can choose to participate in. Each participant brings a copy of a puzzle that they have built or commissioned someone else to build, and they trade their puzzle with every other participant. This year, 74 people participated, which means that participants brought 74 of the same puzzle, and will go home with 74 new puzzles. Pretty cool, eh? As Brian Young gleefully put it on the ride down the elevator "It's Christmas morning for a puzzler!"

I wasn't eligible to participate this year, since it was my first year and they like people to watch their first year so that they can see the quality of the puzzles that people create. Instead, I was assisting Matt Dawson with his exchange. Assistants are handy because there's lots of schlepping puzzles around and keeping track of who you've traded with.

This was Matt's first year exchanging, and he brought a hell of a puzzle: it is called Ambidexterous Hexdous and it was made by Robert "Stickman" Yarger himself (a brilliant puzzle box designer and maker). It was designed by Matt and consists of two puzzle boxes that must be used together in order to open both, similar to the Salt and Pepper Shakers puzzle. I'll write a more detailed entry on this puzzle later, though in brief it is a great puzzle. It will be for sale on PuzzleParadise.ca shortly.

The exchange was a ton of fun: I got to see all the different puzzles that folks were exchanging and Matt introduced me to all of the other participants. Many bring extra copies of their puzzles to sell in order to offset the cost, so I was keeping a list of which ones I wanted to buy the next day.

The top two on my list were puzzle boxes: one was presented by Robert Sandfield and made by Kathleen Malcolmson where the puzzle is to shut the a drawer rather than to open it, the other one was presented by Rob Jones and made by Hiroshi Iwahara of the Karakuri Creation Group!

I can't really go into detail on all the exchange puzzles, but check out the photos to see some of what was exchanged. Some other highlights are:
  • Newton's Egg by Stephen Chin where the puzzle is to open a wooden egg using Newton's laws
  • "Get a Clue" by Pavel Curtis which is a multi-layered puzzle that consists of packing broken lense pieces into a magnifying glass tray, then following the clues to reveal a mystery
  • The Slider by Bill Cutler which is an interesting burr-type puzzle
  • Fuji by Brian Young where the task is to make the wooden mount Fuji errupt
Like I said, lots of other good stuff, but I don't have time to go through all of them right now. Plenty more puzzling to come. Check out the photos from today for more.

After the exchange, I camped out in the design competition room for a while longer. Again, I'll post more details on the individual puzzles when I return since there are a bunch of them.

After that, I met up with Kellian for dinner and we returned to the hotel and hung out in the lobby for a bit. Stephen "Chinny" Chin brought a bunch of his puzzles down, which was a lot of fun. One of my favorites was La Bomba, which opens similarly to Kamei's Egg, but has electronics inside that generate a ticking and a boom sound once you've opened it. Pretty cute! Check out the photo's for more of Stephen's awesome work.

That's all for tonight! The next day is the puzzle party where all the buying and selling happens!


  1. I'm glad to see you are having such a good time. Thanks for putting up all the photos!

  2. You're welcome, Brett! Glad I had a break in the action to put some stuff up. Let me know if you see anything you'd like me to get for you.

  3. Fantastic post Brian, Thanks for all the great photos, Hope all are having a fun time!!!

  4. Brian, Thanks for the running commentary.
    My heart aches that I could not be there this year.
    Thank you so much for making it worse.
    I mean that in a good way.

  5. Puzzled: Glad you're enjoying it!


Please don't post spoilers! Thanks for commenting!

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