August 19, 2017

2017 Puzzle Design Competition (Part 4)

Here's Part 4 of my write-up of the various puzzles in the design competition this year! (Photo credit to Nick Baxter)

Lucky Cube - Keiichi Miyazaki

This is a nice little folding puzzle with a number of challenges involving creating a particular shape with the correct light/dark faces showing. The pieces lock together well in various configurations, and fold up to the desired shape.

Typically for a multi-challenge puzzle I don't have time to do all of them, but I think I finished all of these! So quite doable, and still a fun one to work on.

MiSenary Puzzle Box - Michel van Ipenburg

This puzzle box takes quite a few moves to open, and has an interesting mechanism. I liked the window on the front that showed your progress, it would be very difficult otherwise!

Due to the repetitive nature of the solution, I wished it were a little smoother/quieter. I think could have benefited from something to help keep the lid aligned, since it liked to tilt from side to side as you manipulated it.

Moulin Rouge - Stephan Baumegger
(Top 10 Vote Getter)

An appropriately themed puzzle for this year's IPP in Paris! It takes a common mechanism, adds a bit, and then there's a bit of a twist at the end. Overall, quite an enjoyable puzzle and nicely made. This was Roman Götter's exchange puzzle, very nice!

The Mouse's Tale - Simon Nightingale

This is Simon's box for the Jabberwockey chest. It has some rather cryptic etching on the acrylic lid, with text inside a mouse's tail.

I fiddled with this one a bit and was able to get it open reliably. I had done it correctly, but there is a more elegant way to figure it out, which I saw when I looked at the solution. Clever, but I'm not sure whether I would have been able to figure it out that way! There is also a hidden compartment inside the box.

Neckische Würfel (Mischievous Cubes) - Albert Gübeli

The goal is to assemble the six pieces into a shape to form a red and gold cube. This squashed rhombic geometry is generally quite challenging for me, and this puzzle proved no different!

You would think the colors would help, but Albert added some extraneous coloring that isn't visible in the final solution to throw you off the track. I think it could still be challenging without this, but it is hard to tell.

No Full Pirouette! - Namick Salakhov
(Jury First Prize)

This baffling contraption is reminiscent of Spin Out or Crazy Elephant Dance, but each sliding piece is different, which definitely complicates things. The goal is to get all of the blue triangles pointing to the right. The starting position has all the green triangles pointing to the right.

While I feel like the design lacks some elegance, it was pretty fun to fiddle around with and see how things interacted. You could logically figure out what needed to be done, and then try to work it through. I would have liked if the tray under the sliding pieces was red or something, so you could see clearly when there was extra space available between the pieces. Often this space is quite small, and eliminating it where you don't want it is key.

Nonagon 48 - Koshi Arai

Speaking of baffling geometries, this one was also quite challenging for me. The pieces are created from nonagons, 11 with 4 nonagons (tetranons) and two with 2 nonagons (dinons) for a total of 48 nonagons!

I was able to get a few pieces in place along the edges, but as things progressed I rapidly got confused! I attempted to make it a bit easier by peeking at the solution and placing a few pieces to get myself started, but even placing the last 5 pieces was pretty challenging.

La Pajarita Convexa (The Convex Bow Tie) - Primitivo Familiar Ramos

The goal is to find all 11 convex shapes that can be made using eight identical right triangles. That's a lot of convex shapes!

I found a couple of shapes, but then had to move on. I saw one person writing them down as they found them, which seemed like a good idea! Finding a few isn't difficult, but finding them all could be pretty challenging.

Pencil Box - Kohno Ichiro

The goal is to open the box, and I was able to do so quite easily. Taking a look at the solution, it turns out that I had done it incorrectly, but the correct way was quite a bit more difficult physically, due to issues with leverage and friction on one of the sliding panels. It is an interesting idea, but needs some work on the implementation to avoid unintended solutions.

Pent Up - Louis Toorenburg

The goal is to put all 12 pentomino pieces on the board so that the same color shows through each of the holes, covering the black squares with blue tiles. Only three of the colors can be solved on each board.

When I read that last bit, I thought to myself: I don't want to spend time trying to solve a color that isn't possible, so I took a quick peek to make sure I was working on a color that had a valid solution! It turns out that is still pretty darn challenging. A lot of the placements are forced by the coloring, but you still have quite a bit of freedom at the beginning. Eventually I got it, but it took a fair amount of effort. There are a number of challenges so it could keep you busy for a while!

Perfect Match - ZhaoYue (Turing)

The goal is to put the blocks into the box and close the lid. While I don't necessarily find 3D printing objectionable, there was some warping on the pieces that was a bit confusing. Was it part of the intended solution to use the warping to your advantage? Nope! Also the box makes a racket when you drop the cubes in. The cubes are printed with a very high infill percentage, so they have a nice weight to them. I think this puzzle would have been better in wood.

I was able to find a solution and close the lid without any force (confirmed by Brett Kuehner!), but it wasn't the correct solution. I checked the correct solution, and the lid went on a hair smoother.

Puzzle Bracelet - Yael Friedman
(Jury Honorable Mention)

This is an interesting puzzle that you could wear! The goal is to take it apart and put it back together. From the photo, it may look pretty obvious, but in fact it is somewhat challenging.

I tried to take it apart briefly and failed, and when I attempted it again, I found somebody else had taken it apart! So I set myself to the task of putting it back together, which is a bit challenging if you didn't see how it came apart. Eventually I got it though, with a bit of trial and error. Nice little puzzle very nicely 3D printed! I'd get one for Kellian if it were being produced.

Stay tuned for Part 5 tomorrow!

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