Tag Archives: International Puzzle Party

Meet the Daily Puzzle Inventors!

Meet Oskar van Deventer and Wei-Hwa Huang, the inventors of Daily Puzzle, ThinkFun’s newest brainteaser!

Oskar holding Daily Puzzle small 300x225 Meet the Daily Puzzle Inventors!

Oskar van Deventer

IMG 20121008 173849 225x300 Meet the Daily Puzzle Inventors!

Wei-Hwa Huang

 

Daily Puzzle wan’t born overnight… here Oskar and Wei-Hwa share the story of how they collaboratively developed this innovative puzzle over the course of several years!

 

Oskar:  In July 1986, I designed a single-digit three-leaf version of this puzzle that could make 0-9. There was no black background. I added a single-digit two-leaf version for making 0-3, again without the need of a black background. Together, the five leaves could make 00-39, enough to make all days of a month.

Wei-Hwa:  Nick Baxter and I were visiting Oskar at his house in the Netherlands (October 2003), and Oskar was telling us about the many puzzle ideas he had.  One of the ideas was this “digital” version of the classic “calendar cubes” puzzle (which, if you haven’t seen, is a set of two cubes that you can use to display the numbers from 01 to 31)… but Oskar couldn’t actually find a working arrangement.  We went to bed that night, and in the morning I had a working arrangement for Oskar.

Oskar:  When Wei-Hwa visited me in October 2003, I showed this puzzle to Wei-Hwa and asked him to improve it. Overnight, he developed a two-digit four-leaf design that took advantage of the black background. This puzzle was shared by Tanya Thompson at the International Puzzle Party (IPP) in 2008 as “Daily Puzzle.”

 

Wei-Hwa:  At this point I thought — well, the “calendar cubes” puzzle has a lesser known cousin which spells out the first three letters of the month.  Why can’t the same equivalent happen for our puzzle?  One night later I had the basic design for the month names.  The challenge was quite different, of course, because this was about giving the pictures a “look” of a segmented digital display while not actually being a consistent set of segments.

Oskar:  In March 2009, I asked Wei-Hwa to also design a Monthly Puzzle with JAN-DEC which I prototyped.  Wei-Hwa made some detailed improvements on the letter design, rounding and sharpening where needed, and that version became Tanya’s IPP gift for 2009.

During the next two years, ThinkFun worked to find the right form and price for a mass-produced version that combined the two puzzles.  The first deluxe version looked superb, but it was too expensive and it did neither fit in a toy store nor in a stationary store.  Then ThinkFun simplified the design, reducing the cost and achieving the current great looks of the puzzle!

Daily 6825 HiResSpill1 300x300 Meet the Daily Puzzle Inventors!

Hooray for teamwork - we are so proud of this final product!

Oskar shared the following message when he received a case of Daily Puzzles last month – love the idea of personalizing the puzzle with a special date for a gift!

I cannot describe how happy it makes me to see this puzzle finally to the public. When I made the original design in July 1986, I was already convinced that it could make an attractive and compelling puzzle to a wide audience. Now, over 26 years later, it is finally happening. Thanks to the additional innovations by Wei-Hwa, theming by George Miller, and some great and subtle industrial design work by ThinkFun, people can now buy it!

Only after receiving the samples, I realized what a great birthday gift this puzzle makes. I can open the package and change the date to a personalized one. Tomorrow, my sister has her 43rd birthday. So I have hers set to SEP-08. I am sure she will like it.

I am thrilled to report that Daily Puzzle is nominated for a People’s Play Award from Time to Play!  Here’s a campaign video Oskar created to help spread the word – please take a moment and VOTE NOW!

Want big fun? Super-size your games!

We’re all about the value of hands-on play here at ThinkFun, with games and puzzles designed to challenge players to think with their hands, encouraging tactile learning and building new understandings and strategies by manipulating pieces.  But why should the hands have all the fun?!

photo 2 300x224 Want big fun? Super size your games!

This week’s giant office-wide craft project to create two massive game mats for the Destination Imagination Global Finals got me thinking about the other ThinkFun games that have been super-sized over the years!

Back in February, Giant Swish was unveiled at the TEDActive Conference with an entirely new way to play!

TEDActive iPhone photos 055 224x300 Want big fun? Super size your games!

Giant Swish in action at TEDActive!

Any time I mention big games, I always hear, “Wouldn’t it be AWESOME to make a giant Rush Hour game?!”  It’s been done!  At the 2007 International Puzzle Party (IPP), puzzle-lovers from all over the world came together to take on a massive Rush Hour challenge – I must say I’ve never seen such cheerful people stuck in gridlock !

Giant Rush Hour IPP 300x200 Want big fun? Super size your games!

Giant Rush Hour is a crowd-pleaser at the International Puzzle Party!

This photo shows a huge version of our River Crossing game being played by none other than Andrea Gilbert, the game’s inventor!  This large hands-on puzzle was featured at the Delft Science Museum in 2006.

Large River Crossing 300x225 Want big fun? Super size your games!

Andrea Gilbert, the inventor herself, attempts a River Crossing challenge!

Slightly less fancy, but no less impressive, is another fantastic version of River Crossing – this one constructed by a teacher and his students in Mumbai, India!

IMG 9978 300x200 Want big fun? Super size your games!

Students in Mumbai, India construct a massive River Crossing game!

When Solitaire Chess was still in the development process, ThinkFun created gigantic versions of the game based on the most current prototypes!  During a company event, employees teamed up to try their hand at the test challenges and experience the game play in a BIG way!

DSC 0392 300x199 Want big fun? Super size your games!

ThinkFun employees puzzle over a Solitaire Chess challenge!

During this same 2009 company event, we tested out another new game that hadn’t yet been released… any guesses what this one became!?

DSC 0376 300x199 Want big fun? Super size your games!

I'm "knot" giving any clues...!

Here, a creative teacher in Vermont turned her students into candies for human Chocolate Fix!

Mary Ann Caraco 3 Want big fun? Super size your games!

 

Finally, here are the 2 most recent additions to our Giant Game collection, both featured at our Destination ImagiNation booth!  Check out Human Hoppers and Live Action Solitaire Chess!

photo 11 300x224 Want big fun? Super size your games!

photo 21 300x224 Want big fun? Super size your games!

What is it about playing a large-scale version of a game that makes it more engaging?  For our single-player games like Rush Hour, blowing them up into massive versions transforms them into collaborative, multi-player challenges – great for team building and encouraging effective communication!

Have you played a giant version of a game that’s been more fun than the original?  Please share!