August 25, 2013

2013 Puzzle Design Competition (Part 6)

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

T4-II (Tea For Two) - MINE (Mineyuki Uyematsu)

The goal is to put the four pieces into the box. The four pieces are identical, and the box is restricted by holes in the plexiglass.

This is a really cute puzzle, not super difficult but it does have a nice "Ah ha!" moment when you figure out what needs to be done. It was another one of my favorites this year! I was glad to see MINE had some available for sale during the puzzle party. He also has a T4-III, which I also purchased (it is also good!). They will probably be available on MINE's website soon, though it is in Japanese.

TetraCubed - Robert Reid, George Miller, Stan Isaacs

The goal is to fit all eight pieces in the box so that the cubes don't touch, while making a solid figure from the dark pieces. I think this was an exchange puzzle last year.

I found the geometry to be quite confusing, those dark pieces are quite oddly shaped! However, it is a clever dissection. I'm not a big fan of the type of plastic box used, which comes apart in two u-shaped halves. It takes a fair bit of dexterity to hold things in place while you put it all together.

Tetrakis - Yavuz Demirhan

The goal is to assemble the four identical pieces into the cubic frame.

When I found this one, it was already assembled, so I tried taking it apart. It wasn't particularly difficult, requiring about 6 moves to remove the first piece. Putting it together without knowing the solution would be a bit more challenging, which is probably why it was presented as an assembly puzzle!

Tetromino Tablet 18 - MINE (Mineyuki Uyematsu)

The goal is to put the five pieces into the frame. I fiddled with this one for a bit and didn't much care for the mechanic of trying to rotate the pieces around by putting my fingers through the holes, it was a bit cumbersome.

Perhaps there is a clever solution like T4-II, but I couldn't find it! I wish I could have spent a bit more time with this one.

Triangle - Volker Latussek

There are four goals: 1) Make one square using all pieces 2) Make two squares using all pieces 3) Make as many different-sized squares as possible. 4) Make as many different-sized triangles as possible. Triangle is designed by Volker Latussek, designer of Way.

I attempted the first goal for a little while, and didn't end up having much luck. There are a lot of pieces, which makes for a lot of different permutations to deal with. Definitely a good challenge and nicely made, but I didn't have time to complete it.

Tri-Symmetrics - Vladimir Krasnoukhov and Irina Novichkova

In the given position, this object has 120° rotational symmetry. The goal is to make a new, more symmetrical object with 120° rotational, 180° rotational, mirror, and central/point symmetries.

When I got to this one, it was actually in its solved state, which kind of ruins it. Still, I think the "more symmetrical" solution is actually easier to find than the "given position" in the picture! I tried to form the shape in the picture, and it still took me a minute or two even looking at the picture.

Washington Monument - Brian Young

The goal is to open and unlock the puzzle then close and re-lock it. It is possible to open without locking the locking pins in the open position, which means you haven't found the intended solution.

This was Brian Young's exchange puzzle last year, and I purchased it. I didn't find the intended solution when I first opened it, but once I could see inside I was able to figure it out. I would have preferred if you needed to figure it out before it opened at all, but still it has a pretty clever mechanism. It is available for sale on Brian's site here.

ZooLogical Garden #2 - MINE (Mineyuki Uyematsu)

There are two goals: 1) Put four white pieces into the tray and 2) Put any three white pieces and the red piece into the tray.

I didn't actually spend very long on this puzzle, so I can't say much about it. I wasn't able to solve it in the time that I had, but the rotating blue piece seems like an interesting touch!

And that's it! Phew, I hope you enjoyed reading that, since it is a bit of a bear to write! My apologies to any of the designers who may feel like I didn't give their work enough time or consideration, there were a lot of puzzles to go through and only limited time. It was a lot of fun getting to try so many new and fun designs! Next year, I hope the room can stay open past midnight so I can get a few extra hours in!

August 24, 2013

2013 Puzzle Design Competition (Part 5)

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

Qin Nez Borz - Stephen Chin

This is the only impossible object in the competition: the goal is to figure out how it could have been constructed. There are apparently a number of wooden balls nested inside one another, made of different woods!

There's a hole on the opposite side, and if you press the piece of wood on that side you'll hear laughter and the inside of the ball will light up! You could probably guess this one was Stephen Chin, he likes his electronics!

Rain Drop - Kelly Snache

The goal is to remove the glass tube to release the one dollar bill. I was surprised this was a Kelly Snache design, since he usually focuses on boxes!

I worked on it for a bit and made some progress, but didn't end up being able to figure this one out. When I looked at the solution, it did make sense but it would have taken me a while to get there. One issue with this puzzle is the glass: it broke once during the competition which is kind of dangerous. Plastic may have been a safer choice, but then you'd have to deal with it scratching.

Rattle Twist 4 - Osanori Yamamoto

The goal is to disassemble and re-assemble the two pieces in the frame. This puzzle is a bit trickier than Osanori's other entry, since the pieces are more complex.

When I encountered this one, it was disassembled so I tried putting it back together. I spent a little while on it and didn't have any luck, definitely a good challenge. Later on, I also encountered it while it was together, and it was also tricky to get it apart! There is a lot of movement, but it wasn't obvious to me how to proceed.

Ze RD: Evil Twins - Stuart Gee & Stephen Chin

The goal is to disassemble and reassemble the three nested geometric puzzles. Three puzzles in one!

The outer shell and middle shell opened like I expected (a move Stephen loves), but the innermost puzzle has an interesting 3-piece coordinate motion. Quite clever!

Rhombic Maze Burr - Derek Bosch

The goal is to remove the "exit plate", the only plate that has a maze path that leads to its edge. In this picture, it is the plate on the top.

I knew this puzzle was in the works, so I was quite excited to give it a try! I am a big fan of Kagen Schaefer's Maze Burr (which won Puzzle of the Year in 2006), so this looked like it would be interesting. It has twice as many sides, which makes for even more potential configurations of the maze panels.

The initial configuration started out pretty linearly, with each move logically following after the next, but midway through things got a bit more complex. Good fun! I'm hoping to get a copy if Derek starts selling it at some point.

Ring and Cherries on a Stick - Dimitar Vakarelov

The goal is to remove the ring, but the cherries get in the way! It is a fairly simple looking disentanglement puzzle that actually is quite challenging.

When I ran across this one, it was a bit of a tangled mess, so I set myself to cleaning it up. After a little while, I had it back to the starting position but didn't have any idea how to actually solve it! I fiddled with it for a bit, but eventually gave up.

Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other - Junichi Yananose

The goal is to disassemble and re-assemble the puzzle. You can't tell from the picture, but this burr is massive, probably about 10 inches high. It looks like a standard 6-piece burr, but there are actually 12 pieces.

I worked on this one a few different times, and kept getting stuck after a few moves, there is a lot of movement which makes it difficult to tell how to proceed. Also, some of the moves require a group of pieces to move together, further adding to the difficulty. Tricky puzzle and very impressive at this size!

Slide Twist Twist Slide - Tony Fisher

 The goal is to assemble the pieces into a 3x4x4 block. The catch? Each of the pieces has a 2x2x2 Rubik's Cube at its center, so you can reconfigure each of the pieces. You need to get them each in the correct configuration, then assemble them.

It is innovative, which is probably what the judges saw in giving it an honorable mention, but I think it is too difficult for my taste. I think even if the correct initial configuration of the pieces was given, it would be a challenge to assemble them.

Snake Case - Hiroaki Hamanaka

The goal is to arrange things so the snake can hide completely in the case. Obviously, the sock is too short! Simple puzzles that look impossible are sometimes the most fun, which is why I really liked this one.

There was a key detail that I noticed which led me to the solution, it is pretty clever! One of my favorites in the competition this year.

Symmetrick - Vesa Timonen

The goal is to assemble the two pieces flat on the table to make a symmetric shape. It seems simple with only two pieces, but it is not easy! There are no tricks to it, no negative space or any of that, but the solution is quite elusive.

I actually got a copy of this at IPP32 and had a heck of a time figuring it out, it's another one of those puzzles that takes advantage of the way you tend to solve these things. Eventually, I just tried an exhaustive approach, since there's only so many ways it can go together! A very clever puzzle, nice and compact, and definitely worth getting a copy. Another great design by Vesa!

Well that's all for today! Tomorrow, the final part of this 6-part series.

August 23, 2013

2013 Puzzle Design Competition (Part 4)

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

King's Court - Tim Snyder

This is a rolling block puzzle, the goal is to move the 2x2x2 cube to the opposite end of the board by rolling the pieces.

I didn't like the way the pieces and board were designed, since it seemed to encourage illegal moves. For example, if you roll the 2x2x1 piece in picture away from the camera to the open spot, it wants to fall over and keep the base where it is. In actuality, the valid move is for the 2x2x1 to completely occupy the empty space. I think non beveled blocks and a groove between squares (rather than a fence) might have worked better, but then the pieces wouldn't stay in place as nicely. I didn't spend long on it due to the issues I mentioned, but it seemed quite challenging.

Ladder of Brahma - Tom Lee and Kong Tang

The goal is to swap the red and the green pieces, the cones can nest and start over the red piece. This seemed like a minor variation on Tower of Hanoi, but with nesting pieces rather than different sized disks and two goal pieces to move rather than moving the whole stack. I didn't think these changes added much to the puzzle, however.

Manholes 55 - Frederic Boucher

There are three goals: 1) Hide each ball underneath the coin (manhole) of the same color, 2) Place each ball on top of the coin (manhole) of the same color, and 3) Without spinning the puzzle, move the balls to the green areas on each side of the street.

The first goal was pretty easy, the second was a bit tougher, and the third was quite challenging. I was unable to get the last one, it requires quite a bit of dexterity and also requires a particular technique.

Matatom - Christian Blanvillain

Assemble the 12 pieces into a cube such that each face of the cube is a single color.

I found the geometry of this one to be a bit baffling was unable to make a cube, even ignoring the colors. When I looked at the solution, it is actually fairly logical, I just didn't see it!

MazeRoll - Splinter Spierenburgh

The goal is to navigate the ball from one end of the maze to the other. I wasn't sure what to expect with this one, since the maze on the cylinder looked pretty trivial. In fact, it is!

However, the tricky part comes when each part of the cylinder is restricted in terms of how far it can move relative to its neighbors. This makes it so that you have to backtrack at a few points. Pretty enjoyable and not super-difficult.

Monge's L-cubes - Peter Gal

This is a graduated difficulty puzzle with multiple challenges: each challenge card shows a top view and a front view of the goal, and you need to figure out how to create a 3D shape that fits this criteria. A neat idea! All of the pieces are L-shaped with different combinations of light and dark cubes.

I solved the first few challenges and enjoyed them. It was a good challenge, so I'm sure the harder ones are quite difficult!

N-one 2 - Osanori Yamamoto

The goal is to assemble the two pieces in the frame. It is very nicely crafted!

I thought this one was going to take me a while, but I didn't end up taking too long on it. maybe I got lucky! As you can probably guess, there are a number of rotational moves required.

Oct-Tetraxis Assemblies - John and Jane Kostick

This is two puzzles in one: surround the cuboctahedron with 12 sticks (somewhat easier) and then surround the same block with the remaining 24 sticks.

Jane and John live quite close by, so I actually had a chance to try this one before IPP! I found the easier puzzle to be still fairly challenging, and it definitely helped to do the two puzzles in that order. This puzzle has a smooshed geometry that I hadn't seen in Jane's work before, which was interesting. It's always fun playing around with these types of puzzles!

Phantom Fish - Leslie Le

The goal is to put the 14 circular segments into the track without overlapping.

I worked on this one for a little bit and kept ending up with not enough room! There were a lot of pieces and a lot of different options for those pieces, so I decided to give up.

A Plugged Well - Brian Young

The goal is to find the barrel of oil. It was Matt Dawson's exchange puzzle at IPP32 in Washington, made by Brian Young.

I purchased a copy of this one at IPP32 and enjoyed solving it. It is a sequential discovery puzzle, so you will find some tools along the path to the solution that you need to use to continue. I love that type of puzzle! Definitely worth checking out, it is a good challenge. There are still some available on Brian's website here.

That's all for today! Tomorrow, Part 5!

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!

August 21, 2013

2013 Puzzle Design Competition (Part 2)

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

Capsule Construction - Bill Cutler

The goal is to disassemble and re-assemble the 12 pieces. It is a board-burr, with each piece flat. (I don't know how Bill resisted calling this Cutler's Capsule Construction.)

I was able to get this one apart pretty easily, but had a hell of a time getting it back together! The first six pieces form a sort of cubic cage, and the others slide in from each of the 6 sides. It is a bit tricky getting the cage together, but the real challenge for me was to get the final pieces in. Usually I don't like this type of puzzle, but I got sucked into figuring it out since I felt bad leaving it apart and ended up enjoying it!

Clair de Lune - Yasuhiro Hashimoto

The goal is to remove and replace the moon from the cage. The moon has a slit in it, which is large enough for the dowel on each of the two cage pieces.

Not super-challenging, but fun to figure out the logical series of moves. There are two ways to start, and one will lead to a dead end!

Convergent Evolution: D'Artagnan - Bram Cohen and Wei-Hwa Huang

The goal is to use all four pieces to make two identical shapes. This is essentially a 3D version of Think Fun's Top This. In Wei-Hwa's exchange, he presented this puzzle with a larger set of pieces, such that any group of four could make two identical shapes.

Of course, there is only one distinct way of pairing these four pieces so the challenge is figuring out how to assemble them. Pretty challenging since there are a number of different ways you can orient two shapes relative to one another, but eventually I figured it out. Neat puzzle, but I think the exchange version would be even better!

Cuboctahelix - Bram Cohen and Jason Smith

The goal is to assemble the eight triangular pyramids and six square pyramids into the shape of a cuboctahedron. I had no idea what a cuboctahedron was, but fortunately one was shown in the picture and it is pretty much the only way you could put these pieces together. The challenge is that each of the triangular pyramids has three curved spikes sticking out of it, which need to fit into the square pyramids' corresponding holes. These are at different positions and pointing in different directions, so the location of each pieces matters, as does the order of assembly.

This had the hallmarks of a puzzle I would probably have to give up on, a lot of pieces and a number of permutations to try, but I ended up figuring this one out! The pieces slide together in a nice satisfying way, which may be what kept me engaged. Also, I didn't have to try a ton of different assemblies before figuring it out. Neat puzzle!

Dancing Shoes - Goh Pit Khiam

The goal of this puzzle is to pack the five pieces into the tray. It is very nicely constructed, though I think the tray should be a bit shorter to prevent you from being able to wiggle pieces into position the  wrong way.

It won the Puzzler's Award (selected by IPP attendees), and for good reason! It has a neat solution that isn't super-hard to discover, most people will figure this one out in 5-10 minutes, I would imagine.

Dispersed GC Lock - Namick Salakhov

The goal is to move all of the switches to the down position so the slider can be removed. This is another binary puzzle (like Binary Bud), but the mechanism worked quite a bit better!

The mechanism was based around a spring-loaded key that you needed to depress in order to move a piece. This worked fairly well, but required some hand strength to hold in position while the move was made. Not bad and a unique mechanism, but I think I prefer some of the other binary puzzles out there.

Drop Slider Designer - Lucie Pauwels

This puzzle had two goals: slide the pieces around so all the balls drop in the hole, then figure out how to get the balls to come out the small hole in the side. It came with a number of challenge cards that specified different piece configurations to start,sorted by difficulty.

The sliding puzzle part was pretty trivial for the first 20 or so balls (on the challenge I tried), but the last few were a real pain! A good variation on your standard sliding block puzzle, but I think some of the trivial balls could be removed to reduce the repetitiveness. The puzzle at the end to remove the balls was actually pretty tricky!

Eight Wrestlers - Yoshiyuki Kotani

The goal is to arrange the eight wrestlers such that each notch is matched with another notch. It is nicely cut out of neon pink lucite that seemed to glow on its own.

This was a puzzle I found myself going back to a few times: I quickly saw the trick, but wasn't able to quite get it to work. Pretty tricky but fun to play with!

Elevator Puzzle - Sam Cornwell

The goal is to remove the square panel out of the tube. It has one pin on each of its four sides, which connect to mazes on each of the four inner sides of the tube. Because of the way the pins are arranged, the elevator can flip upside down on either axis if positioned properly.

I didn't like this one as much as Books/TV, since the hole felt a bit narrow to manipulate the puzzle and see what was going on. I didn't end up spending much time on this one.

Elle - Frederic Boucher

This is a classic interlocking puzzle: disassemble and reassemble. It consists of two sets of three identical pieces, which is nice.

There were a few interesting moves in there, but not too difficult to disassemble: reassembly is the real challenge if you don't know how it came apart!

Ok, that's all for today! Tomorrow, Part 3!

August 20, 2013

2013 Puzzle Design Competition (Part 1)

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

The goal of this puzzle is to arrange the 10 pieces in the tray. All of the pieces have the same "box cutter" shape.

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

This puzzle has two goals: First form a shape that is made of four regular hexagons and all eight dots are visible, then form the same overall shape as in part 1, but with only seven dots visible.

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

The goal is to put the four pieces in the box. It is hard to tell from the photo, but the pieces in this puzzle are not arranged on a cubic grid: they are made up of smooshed cubes. This makes it much harder to assemble, since the pieces will only fit in certain orientations relative to the box. Also, the 3x4x4 box has a 3x3 opening, so the order you insert the pieces is important.

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

The goal is to assemble the four pieces into a ball. There are two sets of two identical pieces (one is a mirror image of the other).

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

The goal is to arrange the two pieces into a convex solid without holes. The catch is that each piece can fold in a number of different ways, which obviously makes it much more difficult!

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

This is a graduated difficulty puzzle with a number of different challenges. The challenge card tells you how to assemble the balls, then you need to fold the snake of balls into a particular shape. Each color ball has a different angle between the hole and the peg. Hard to explain in words, but pretty intuitive when you're looking at it in front of you.

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

This puzzle has a number of goals: orient the four blocks like books, then like a TV screen, then in 1234 order, and then in 4321 order. The first two challenges are a bit of a warm up, and the last two test your skill in manipulating the pieces exactly where you want them.

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!