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The DIY PYI Puzzle

Presenting a mini mechanical puzzle based on the new PYI logo.

First, a little background!

Mechanical puzzles are those that are meant to be solved manually. The ubiquitous Rubik's cube is a quintessential example. There are many more such puzzles out there: Peg Solitaire, 15 Puzzle, Tower of Hanoi, just to name a few popular ones.

There are 10 major categories of mechanical puzzles. The DIY PYI puzzle would be categorised as a put-together puzzle (Slocum 1.1: 2 Dimensional assembly puzzles). Specifically, it is a shape dissection or tiling puzzle in the likes of the well-known Tangram, Anchor, and T puzzles where you are shown figures (typically silhouettes) and you need to use all available pieces without overlap in forming those figures. More broadly, the puzzle can also be classified as a paper or card puzzle, similar to Sam Loyd's famous mini postcard-type puzzles which you need to cut up to play with, for instance, Famous Trick Donkeys and The Wonderful Chinese Pony Puzzle.

About the significance of the puzzle pieces. The rectangular blocks represent pillars of support. The semicircle, a mentor, and the wedge, a mentee. Together, the mentees, mentors, and the community innovate and create endless change that in the puzzle manifests as infinite possibilities of creative shapes originating from finite pieces. The shapes formed are eclectic in theme: letters, vehicles, animals, representing the varied nature of the missions that mentees champion. All underpinned by the same larger goal of making a difference in the world; all shapes are of the same colour.

Anyone can come up with new challenges given a set of tiles. Same goes for the DIY PYI puzzle. Creating new challenges for a tiling puzzle can offer even more joy than solving them, as you not only need to think about what looks good but what is also tricky for the puzzler. It is an art and a science. You may need to think from the shoes of the solver, imagine what thought processes will be going on in their mind, and design your challenge to intentionally mislead them and throw them off. When you do this successfully you set the puzzler up for a temporary struggle that blossoms into an aha! moment when they discover your out-of-the-box solution. I invite you to create your own challenges with these set of pieces and submit them below. I will append new challenges to this page as they come in.

Now, with just 5 pieces (3 of which are identical rectangles, and 2 dissimilar pieces with curves) it is hard to create a complex challenge. Yet, any challenge crafted inevitably demands attention to detail from the puzzler in employing the right piece in the right place. When you think you have cracked a challenge, check the proportions again to be sureIn the spirit of puzzling, solutions are not provided. When you arrive at a solution, you should know it!

Generally, the more compact a silhouette is, the harder it is to make out any singular piece and that silhouette could be deemed a tough challenge. Another way to increase the difficulty of the puzzle is to subdivide some of the pieces into polygons that are subsets of larger pieces. For example, one rectangle could be split into a large parallelogram, and 2 small triangles, while another rectangle could be split into a large triangle and 2 small triangles. Since now a rectangle can be made in multiple different ways using the substituent pieces, there are more ways you can misdirect the player. The greater number of pieces naturally allows for more interesting patterns too.

For ease of handling, you may wish to print the puzzle pieces on A4 paper. To enhance the puzzling experience, a simple hack would be to print on paper with higher GSM/art card or print on standard 80gsm paper but paste onto cardboard before cutting out the individual pieces.

Play variations. Since each puzzle card comes with 2 sets of pieces, puzzlers can compete with another person. It could very well also be a solo timed challenge. 2 sets could be combined to make more complicated shapes as a divergent thinking exercise.

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Additional Challenges

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Project Enigma offers puzzle customisation services. Puzzles are a great way to showcase ingenuity and spark conversations. If you would like to elevate your stakeholders' experience or leave a lasting brand impression, give mechanical puzzles a try. Get in touch with us to craft puzzles that suit your organisation.

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