Monday, 17 September 2018

Jigsaw puzzle 29

This seemingly innocent puzzle was designed and crafted by Yuu Asaka for IPP design competition in San Diego (2018) and it received a prize!

Many times I wonder why such or such puzzle receives a prize because in my mind it's not deserved. I mean, all puzzles are usually nice, but most of the time (if not always....) the jury committee does not choose puzzles that really deserves to be awarded!!! What's going on in their head?....

So I was thinking: "why the hell did this jigsaw puzzle received a prize"?....until I got one and started to play with it :)

Ok so first it looks very nice: the colors are well choosen.
Then the cuts are very precise and you won't need to use any force at all. I was worried with that point because it can be tricky with plexi puzzles....

Now the serious part, and why in my mind it's a good (and then why it obtained a prize) puzzle: you won't solve it in a "conventional way".
I mean, usually with jigsaw puzzles you know how to start, right? Do the same thing (yes, please do!) won't lead to anywhere and so you will soon realize that you will have to think way more!!
And yes you need to pack all the pieces flat inside the tray :-)

This puzzle is very difficult and could only come from a crazy devilish puzzle designer's mind ;-)

With many possibilities and pieces that have the same color, this puzzle will puzzle you for long time.
With a low price, this is clearly worth the money.

Did I said that Yuu is from Japan and Japan has the best postal service in the world?...Yes it already happened that I got a package 4 days after it's been mailed. Impressive!!

You can contact Yuu to get your copy

Thursday, 13 September 2018

How to conduct a puzzle business: the way to success!

 As a first warning, this post does not aim at giving good/bad points to such or such puzzle firms/designers!!!
I don't mean I am right on all point, even if I am sure many will agree on several points.
I don't also mean this by applying (and nor that it's an easy task) the below, you will be the Bill Gates of the puzzles ;)

I am only sharing my point of view, after seen many people designing puzzles who would like to be better known or gain new customers.

So let's GO:

1. Be visible, be famous
You won't make advertising for your products in the subway, nor in the streets. First because you would not afford that. And your target is not the same as well.

So how can you get advertising for low cost?
  • Puzzle blogs
  • Puzzle forum
  • Puzzle parties: international and national
  • Specific parties dedicated to such or suck logic games for example

 2. A website can help....a lot!
Even if you can clearly see your puzzles through other way and from hand to hand, a website can help you for several reasons:
  • Customers can buy and pay directly, so they don't spam you with emails to buy puzzles
  • It's more professional. If it's your job, then you have to give to yourself the best means to be successful
  • You can put pictures and description. And it's even better if their is a countdown to see how many puzzles are left to be bought

3. Keep people aware
  • If you have a newsletter keeping people aware of your progress or even about news, that's a good point
  • If you have social media: people like to have news about your designing progress, how the production is going on, which techniques you use and so on. And you can also give estimated time of release of new puzzles.
  • If you create your own puzzle forum, you have to give some news on it. You have to keep it alive. A dead forum with old post and no new post will indicate to your customers that you're not (enough?) dedicated to crafting puzzles and they can also think you don't take care of your customers. After all, you have to take care of your walking pocket money ;-)

4. Always keep on designing
The key success is to design always new puzzles with new shapes, new mechanisms and so on.
Your customers want novely, they like to experiment new things and new approaches.
Having a good pace of new puzzles if also important. Realeasing puzzles often keeps your customers constantly aware and ready to spend some money.

5. Time is money
Obviously if you're alone to design, craft, sell puzzles and reply to your emails that can be somewhat difficult to handle...
The time you spend on replying to email you loose it as selling and designing puzzles and you already know that time is money!

If you have grown enough, you should hire some people dedicated to replying questions and shipping the puzzles. It can be the same guy or others who take care of your website and social media.
If you cannot affor hiring people ask to friends/family, they will be happy to participate in a growing business. It's rewarding

6. The customer is the king (but maybe not the king solver...)
Like in every business, the customer brings you money and can also bring you new ones, by saying good things about your puzzles. It can also, by negative things, make you loose some clients.
Bad comments can be the consequences of: you don't reply to email, you only seem to be willing to earn money and you don't act in a friendly seller/customer relationship, you don't communicate enough.
Happy customers, happy designers :)
After all, isn't it very rewarding to get nice feedback?

To finish, some links of puzzle designers:

  • Kadon Enterprises, Inc runned by Kate Jones: if you like geometry, packing puzzle, quality products, you will find what you like!
  •  IQ Lolly: created y Patrick Chan (see my review in a previous post). Website under construction but to follow.
  •  Rademic puzzles: nice metal hedgehog puzzles. They like very nice with some original shapes and features

Now you reader, what are you waiting for to create your puzzles and give birth to your devilish puzzling mind??

Friday, 7 September 2018

IQ Lolly

IQ Lolly series is designed by Patrick Chan, a Hongkonger who claims that he is always inspired by young people.
This nice looking sliding puzzle has been designed, crafted and presented by Patrick for the IPP design competition 38 (2018) held in San Diego.

What about the look: this is a really nice looking puzzle and guess what? It's made with 3D printers and the quality is, in my mind, stunning. It's indeed very smooth.

The goal of this puzzle is to scrambled the numbers by pushing/pulling/turning the rod and then revert to the initial position.
3 levels of difficulty: the more numbers you have, the more difficult the puzzle is, of course!

The nice features of the puzzle: when you push and release then it's goes in the "middle" position. Same if you pull and release the rod. It's like the cutting corner technique of the famous rubix's cube: it's a way to be faster to solve the puzzle.
Also if you don't turn completely the rod of a turn, there is a little somthing that prevent from screwing up the puzzle (pushing/pulling if the numbers are not horizontally aligned). See below:

When playing with the Lolly you will notice that you cannot turn 2 times on the same way (I mean 2 times clockwise or counter-clockwise).
So far I am not super fast to push/turn/pull, but I think this is just a matter of practice :)

How to solve the puzzle you may ask? Well there are algorithms (see again a common point with the rubix's cube) to rearrange the numbers and several steps to be performed.
Easy if you follow the steps. Way more difficult if you try to discover them...

A nice video of Patrick's skills to solve: HERE

I am not that used to sliding puzzles, not even with 3D printed sliding puzzles and I must admit I like it a lot. Consider asking Patrick a copy of it. I suggest to go with the easiest level ;) Don't be a fool!!

The IQ Lolly comes in 7 different colors: you can see HERE the website (it's still under construction but gives you an idea of the colors.

Did I say that there are some Easter eggs to discover? Patrick mention that on the solution he sends. So far, I have not idea about what they are....

EDIT: I found the 2 Easter eggs. Nice!

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Coke bottle in a row

You know the guy and his famous metal puzzles? You may also know his bottle puzzles I am sure.
But did you see so many bottles???

7 coke bottles linked with a long rod and locked on each side and inside!!

A lot of care is needed to handle that. First because it's fragile. Then because if you hold the puzzle on each side you apply pressure in the middle of the rod. It would be a pitty to destroy such a beauty:)

You can unlocked the 2 locks on each side, but how to unlock the inside locks?...

You don't have acces to them with your fingers....probably no tools are allowed....

Seriously I am (b)locked... :-(

Any idea?