Wednesday, 16 April 2014

IPP33 Exchange Puzzles

At each and every IPP (International Puzzle Party), one day out of the 3-day event is dedicated to a "puzzle exchange". Here is where the exchange participants get to swap their own (or with permission, someone else's) puzzle design with one another. 

In the early days, some exchange participants purchased "off the shelf" puzzles and used these for exchange, but today, the rules are strict; designs have to be original and not something commercially available in the market prior to the exchange.

Featured below are 3 exchange puzzles that I had the opportunity to acquire during IPP33 in Tokyo, Japan last August.

Peak Performance

This puzzle came from Malaysian puzzle collector Yee-Dian Lee, one of several Asians (outside Japan) and the only Malaysian who attends the annual IPP regularly. Lee also has the honour of being one of a handful of participants who have attended more than 25 IPP events (to-date 27) in the 35 year history of the IPP since its inception in 1978.



A rather unusual but interesting and fun puzzle, the object of Peak Performance is to "walk" the red man from the START position to reach the top; the CEO position. This puzzle is made of acrylic and the plate has multiple holes drilled all over. 

The red man must have at least one foot in a hole at any one time, while moving towards the goal. It may seem pretty easy at first, jumping from hole to hole towards the top but the solution is not as obvious as it would appear. There is a subtle trick to this puzzle, nicely tucked away in a little corner and likely to be hidden from most,  me included!

City Block

City Block came from David Litwin. City Block is a collaboration between David and Bram Cohen, the latter who originated the concept behind David's design. For an interesting account of how they created City Block, check out Saul Symonds' interview with the two gents on Saul's blog.



An acrylic packing puzzle using "patterned" acrylic to form building shapes (with windows even), there are two challenges. The first is the "warm up" challenge - use the pieces to form the silhouette of the building skyline that appears at the top of the tray. The main challenge is to fit all the pieces, including the one with its own slot within the tray. 

I didn't attempt the first but went straight to the second harder challenge. Took me a while before I got all 7 pieces into the tray. Challenging but not overly so, compared to some other packing ones which I could never solve without the solution. However, based on what I have read on Allard's and Saul's blogs, I am not exactly sure if my solution is the intended one?

David has his own website selling some of his other puzzle designs.

Eight Squares

When I first played with James Kerley's puzzle here, I thought it was the easiest packing puzzle I have ever come across...place the 12 diamond shaped pieces (kites) into the tray. Did it in under a minute...my fastest ever solve!

Only then I realised that it couldn't have been that easy...and this wasn't the intended solution. In fact it wasn't even a packing puzzle to begin with! But rather the object is to use the 12 kites to form 8 squares (now that's why its called Eight Squares!) outside of the tray. The 12 pieces fit into the tray only for the purpose of storage.


No...this is not the solution...this is how the puzzle is to be stored or transported


I couldn't quite figure what to do with this one until I checked the solution, then I understood. I guess I am really thick here! Eight Squares is a great one not just for puzzlers, but also for mathematicians, geometry enthusiasts or folks who like to play with shapes!





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