[Attention Idea Scavengers: The puzzles in this project are my original creations. They represent my ideas and they are my Intellectual Property. All Rights Reserved.]
I love creating pen-and-paper puzzles, especially visual pen-and-paper puzzles. The Big Book of Visual Puzzles includes over 200 puzzles, 19 different types. These are all my original inventions and re-inventions.
The book is beautiful. It is soft-cover and leather bound with the title embossed on the front cover. Because most of the puzzles are square in proportion, the book measures 8 inches by 8 inches. The puzzles are big and the book is a little like a journal, a pleasure to handle and a pleasure to solve.
Eye-Q, Visual Puzzles for Artists, Architects and Reason-able People
Despite the title, please do not think that these are "art" puzzles that test your artistic skills and knowledge and required you to have artistic abilities. If you are able to draw a relatively straight line between two dots that are about 1/8 inch apart from each other, then you have the necessary skills that you need to solve the puzzles in the book.
And while all the puzzles in the book are visual puzzles, there are no mathematical or verbal or trivia puzzles here, they are not created to merely challenge your artistic abilities or knowledge. The 19 puzzles are created to challenge your reasoning abilities, your perception acuity, your visual memory, your ability to learn from examples, your ability to focus and concentrate, your ability to visualize in your mind and your ability to mentally multi-task.
In short, these multi(ne)farious puzzles test your mental mettle.
And they are fun, meditative and beautiful (and they become even more beautiful if you use colored pencils to color-in the puzzles).
The Puzzles Included in the Book
All of the puzzles that are included in the book are visual puzzles. That means that they test your visual intelligence, not your knowledge of words or trivia. Also, they are visual puzzles because they are visual attractive. I made them to be beautiful to look at.
The book includes the following types of puzzles:
Connect the Dots by Break ^ ing the Line
Lover's Duel / Lover's Search
Complete the Melody
Adventures in Labyrinthos
Recognizing patterns is the crucial ability that has led to the fantastic achievements of the human species. Our understanding of the world comes, in large part, from this ability. It begins with observation which leads to recognition of a pattern which leads to a theory of why that pattern exists which leads to tests of that theory, etc. Our knowledge of physics, astronomy, biology, chemistry has its inception in our ability to recognize complex patterns in nature.
Pattern Square is a puzzle in which you have to identify a two-dimensional pattern (three dimensional in the case of the Pattern Square Pairs and Triplets) and fill-in the missing elements of that pattern.
Each Pattern Square puzzle is made up of a grid of rows and columns. In that grid are different visual elements or visual symbols. Each row and each column has these visual symbols arranged in a way that they form two patterns, a horizontal pattern and a vertical pattern.
But some of the symbols are missing and you have to fill-the empty spots with the appropriate symbol by figuring out the pattern from the symbols that are shown. The concept is simple, the puzzle is not.
Pattern Search puzzle is like a word search puzzle but instead of looking for words you are looking for a set pattern made from visual symbols. The patterns vary and so do the symbols. Each puzzle describes the pattern that you are looking for with letters (like describing the rhyme of a poem).
Unlike a word search, the patterns that your are searching in the Pattern Search puzzle are formed orthogonal only, up and down, left and right. Do not look for diagonal patterns.
Building Blocks and Connect the Dots by Break^ing the Line
In Building Blocks you have to fit a set of different shapes into a Box. This is a little like solving a jigsaw puzzle but requires more imagination and thought. And you get to draw in the shapes.
To add more variety and challenge, Boxes that you have to place the shapes in will be squares, octagons and triangles. And the challenge will range from easiest that use only 6 shapes to most difficult that use 25 shapes
In Connect the Dots by Break^ing the Line your task is to do just that. One continuous line has to go through all the dots. You can “break” the line but you cannot curve it or separated it. You also cannot cross the line on itself.
The goal is to connect the dots with the line using as few breaks in the line as you can. The puzzles will range from easiest that use only 3 breaks to most difficult that use 13 breaks.
In solving these puzzles, two features and a rule have been added. The two features are blocks and bridges. The line cannot touch or go through the blocks. The bridges are where the line can cross over itself. Both of these elements are hints to the solution of the puzzle.
The rule is that the line can go up and down, left and right. It can also go diagonally but only at 45 degree angle to the horizontal and to the vertical.
Visual Sudoku is just like a traditional sudoku puzzle but instead of using numbers, I use graphic symbols. This allows me to create Visual Sudoku puzzles that range from simplest 4×4 grids to most difficult 12×12 grids.
The use of graphic symbols (other than numbers) makes the puzzle more challenging because it takes the players out of their comfort zone. Dealing with numbers has become second nature to most of us. But these graphics are new. This forces you to be more self-consciously aware and pay more attention. It thus forces you to use more of your CPU power.
For those who work on puzzles to improve their minds, Visual Sudoku is superior to regular sudoku for that purpose.
DeStijl Squared and Skritches Squared
DeStijl Squared is one of my most original maze puzzle design. DeStijl does not even look like a maze puzzle but it is.
In DeStijl Squared there are two spaces that are labeled with a number. You start from the space that is labeled One. Your goal is to get to the other labeled space. The number of that space tells you in how many “steps” that you can get to it. Each space is considered a step. So that to make it to a space labeled Ten, you take ten steps, ten spaces. And to get to that space you have to follow the Rules of Movement.
The rules are thus:
You move from space to space orthogonally only. That means you can only move up or down and left or right in straight line.
You can move directly right or directly left only to spaces that have the same height as the space that your are moving from.
You can move directly up or directly down only to spaces that have the same width as the space that your are moving from.
Skritches Squared is one of my most fun maze puzzle design. What makes Skritches even more fun is that it can be played by two players.
Lover's Duel and MazeSquare
Lover’s Duel is a puzzle for one or two players. The goal of one-player game is to get from one end to the other and back without going on the same path twice. On you way, you task is to gather as many of the Power Pellets in the maze as you can but without repeating a path.
The goal of two-player game is to reach your opponent’s base first.
Lover’s Duel does not have to be a duel. It can be Lover’s Search. Rather they being opponents, the two players have to find each other by connecting their paths head on. Again, neither of the players can go over a path that has already been walked upon.
MazeSquare is a puzzle that you solve visually without marking the paths. Instead, you have to count the little squares that are on the paths. The correct solution has a specific number of squares.
This puzzle is a test of concentration and focus. Every time you choose a path, you have to subtract the squares that are on the wrong path from your total.
On double or triple lane paths you want to take the shortest route but you cannot go diagonally. You can only go orthogonally.
This is a classic newspaper puzzle. You have two similar images and you have to find the differences between them. I've complicated this puzzle by arranging the images on the front and back side of a sheet. They are not on opposite pages, so you can't simple look back and forth and compare.
You play this puzzle by looking at the first image closely and then turning the page and circling any elements that you think are different from what you remember of the first image.
Some of the elements that change are large and obvious, like a different figure or a figure positioned differently. Some of the elements that change are smaller and more subtle, like a line positioned differently, or a small object added or subtracted.
These puzzles can challenge beginners and experts. And afterwards, you can color in the first image.
Crossing and Daedalus Palace and Daedalus Treasure
Think of Crossing as trying to get from one side of a stream to the other side by jumping over rocks. This is a form of a maze puzzle that has rules for movement, for how you jump.
The rules are simple. If you are on one rock, then you can jump over one empty space to get to another rock. If your are on two rocks, then you can jump over two empty space to get to another rock, if you are on three rocks, then you can jump over three empty space. You can jump over less but not over more.
It get's more complicated when the rocks are not aligned in a straight line. And it gets even more complicated when multiple levels are added. But that is all explained in the book.
Daedalus Palace and Daedalus Treasure are almost like conventional maze puzzles made from walls as seen in a plan view. The one thing different about these two puzzles is that they have stairs and tunnels that go down another level. There are paths underneath of what is shown and they go in straight lines.
Each stair/tunnel that goes down is paired with a stair/tunnel that goes up. The two are directly opposite each other, although they may be some distance apart.
Some of the Daedalus Treasure and Daedalus Palace puzzles extend over multiple pages. This provides extra challenge.
In PlusMinus you have to fill up a box with dots. You do so by adding dots to it and by subtracting dots from it in such a way that you end up with it full. There are rules, of course. Two of them.
You can only add two boxes together that don't share the same dot or dots. For example, if one box has a dot in the upper right hand corner and another box also has a dot in the upper right hand corner, these two boxes cannot be added together. That is called Doubling. It is against the rules.
Unless, you subtract the dot from one of the boxes. You can do that by using the Subtraction boxes. But you can only use a subtraction box if there is something to subtract from.
The rather complex example below (the puzzle starts out much simpler) will help you understand the puzzle. The top row is the Addition Box. The second row is the Subtraction Box. The third, outlined, row is the Solution Box. It shows the boxes you used in the order that you use them to come up with the full box of 16 dots. The bottom row is there for you to use to help you add and subtract the boxes as you figure out the solution. It is also the "proof" that your solution is correct. It shows the results of the additions and subtractions that you perform.
Architecting and Remembro
Architecting is inspired by the drawing exercises that I had to do in architecture school. You are given three two-dimensional drawings, a plan and two elevations, that you have to turn into a three-dimensional, axonometric, drawing (in some puzzles, the process is reversed. You are given the axo and have to create the 2-D drawings.).
The puzzles begin simple so that everyone can learn the basic rules of this drawing system before the hard stuff starts. And after you complete each axonometric "sculpture," you get to color/shade the art.
Remembro is a visual memory puzzle. Each puzzle contains five differentelements. You study the elements and the relationship between them for a while and then you have to recall them by re-drawing the puzzle.
It starts simple. Simple elements and simple relationships. But it quickly builds on that into a very complex work of art that you have to re-draw from memory.
But before you scoff at this puzzle for being a mere memory test. It is more than that. There is always a pattern, a system of relationship, between the elements. You don't merely memorize graphics, you study the system and try to find how everything is related. The puzzle tests you observation skill. It required visual understanding, not just visual memorization.
Balancing and Complete the Melody
Balancing requires rudimentary arithmetic skills but nothing too elaborate. You have to place objects of different “weight” on a scale in such a way that the scale is equally balanced. Your task is further complicated because there are different spaces on which you can place the objects and the spaces affect the weight of the object. You have to place at least one object on each space.
The most complicated Balancing puzzles shift the fulcrum to one side and use more complicated shapes for weights. You can rotate the shapes but you can't "reflect" them.
Complete the Melody is a linear pattern puzzle that is inspired by music notation. You have to complete the pattern by completing the notation. The patterns get more complicated by having more notes and exhibiting more subtle changes. Sometimes you have to complete the end of the melody, sometimes the middle and sometimes the beginning.
Adventures in Labyrinthos
Last year, I published the first Labyrinthos, a maze puzzle in the form of a 28 page book. It is a single maze that you begin on the cover and you have to find you way to the back cover. You take paths or you take jumps or you do a combination of both.
This time around Labyrinthos is not an independent, extended maze puzzle. This Labyrinthos ties this whole puzzle book together. It is a book length maze puzzle that incorporates all the other single page puzzles into itself. The “Adventures” in Adventures in Labyrinthos are the individual puzzles which are deftly incorporated into this maze journey. You move from puzzle to puzzle through Labyrinthos.
But there are additional adventures in the Labyrinthos puzzle itself that are not the individual puzzles. Stay tuned for more info on this.
You can pre-order Eye-Q, Big Book of Visual Puzzles for Artists, Architects and Reason-able People in three tiers: as a regular book, as a Special Edition and as a Limited Edition.
If the campaign reaches certain goals, I will add more puzzles to the Pdf and to the book. Potentially, what is planned to be a 200-puzzle book may end up being a 300-puzzle book. That depends on you.
But there is even more. There are two special rewards: Skating and Mesa Treasure Map. Skating is a 100 inch long maze which will be printed as a booklet. Mesa Treasure Map is a 24×18 black and white maze that would be printed as a foldable map. Both will be free additions to the Special Edition Big Book of Visual Puzzles if those stretch goals are reached.
So here are the goals to reach:
Here is the original video I made for this project.
Risks and challenges
The puzzles are ready (although I am still adding new types to make the book varied and rich) and I have a number of printers salivating to do the job. I have gained experience in publishing puzzle books by printing five different ones already. So I know how to prepare the files for printing and I know how to deal with the printers. The only risks and challenges that this project can potentially come against is delays in the printing.