I was pleased to connect with many inventors at G4G this year. I have collected puzzles and played board games for as long as I can remember. I also was an avid user of both in my classroom when I was a teacher. You can imagine how thrilled I was to first meet Bill Ritchie. And now it is a true pleasure to meet so many inventors in my new role as Inventor Relations with ThinkFun.
Ivan Moscovich is the creator of ThinkFun’s Visual Brainstorms. Ivan was also one of the first inventors who I was thrilled to meet when I began working for ThinkFun. I had used his book 1000 Play Thinks in my schools to introduce students to puzzles. His beautiful illustrations were exactly what I needed to attract students’ attention. I later found out that Ivan himself had created all these illustrations. So I was well aware of Ivan’s many books and was thrilled at the chance to meet him. At that time, I had no idea of the interesting man he really was. His life story is an incredible one including being an Auschwitz survivor that is described in this Wired magazine article. I am pleased to now call Ivan a friend and someone I am always pleased to meet at the Toy Fairs and G4G.
At G4G9 I connected for the first time with Jimmy Stephens, the inventor of ThinkFun’s TipOver. I have had a lot of classroom experience with TipOver and it is always a favorite amongst students. I met Jimmy and his family and I look forward to working with him on future projects.
Another brilliant inventor is Iwahiro. Iwahiro is from Japan and a part of the International Puzzle Party community. I have come to know Iwahiro over the past few years and I am always amazed at the variety of his puzzles and how innovative they are. I remember bringing his rectangular jam into ThinkFun and was thrilled when it was chosen to become a part of our Aha! Brainteaser line. I connected with Iwahiro this year at G4G9 as well as at the Nuremburg Toy Fair (Spielwarenmesse). His new ThinkFun puzzle is called Straight Arrow. The goal of this puzzle is to slide the four planks inside the tray (without lifting them) such that you move the green plank horizontally from the top of the tray vertically out the slot at the bottom of the tray. It seems impossible at first as its hard to align the green plank to slide out, but with some patience, it is possible!
Another inventor of an Aha! Brainteaser was also at G4G9. Bill Cutler is the inventor of Square Fit. Avid puzzlers may recognize this Cutler original as Sneaky Squares or Stark Raving Cubes. I’m so proud to have this puzzle be a part of our current line. This is one of my favourites! The goal is simple, fit the four “cubes” into the open red box. It looks so simple but it is actually very tricky! A brilliant puzzle!
Derrick Niederman was also at G4G9. He’s the inventor of ThinkFun’s 36 Cube. The goal is to place the towers on the base such that there are no two colors in any row or column and that all the towers are the same height. Derrick was the brains behind this puzzle and it sparked a lot of controversy. You can read about it on the link above under the contest heading.
There were many other inventors at G4G as well. I was thrilled to meet some of the faces behind Zome Tools. Scott and Paul were a pleasure to meet. Zome tools is a really cool construction system. Also, Dick Hess, Nicholas Cravotta, Bram Cohen, Pavel Curtis, Markus Goetz, Bob Hearn, Norman Sandfield, Tom Lensch, Kate Jones and Derek Bosch, to name a few, are some of the other inventors that I admire so much and was pleased to spend some time with in Atlanta.
Working as Inventor Relations for ThinkFun has enabled me to meet so many talented inventors. I love sourcing new ideas and bringing them into the company. I hold these creatives in such high regard as without them, ThinkFun wouldn’t be the company it has grown to be today. Do you have a favorite inventor of a puzzle or game that you’d love to meet?