City Block was my exchange puzzle for IPP33 and is much in the style of my exchange puzzle for IPP31 (Breadbox
): Both are 2D packing puzzles, and both were collaborations with Bram.
In the case of City Block I added less to the collaboration than I did with Breadbox, mostly some iterative tweaks, adding the City theme and consequently a minor warm up puzzle to build the skyline.
The theme of both of these puzzles came from my desire to optimize for shipping a bunch of them to IPP. In the case of Breadbox the idea of slices of bread came from my experiments with packing the pieces into a 1"x2"x3" box (as opposed to flat) where it was immediately clear to me that a bunch of rectangles in a stack is a loaf of bread slices. This led to more than just a theme, but adding curves which altered the puzzle a bit, reducing the solution space and even adding a piece. I never pursued that more compact packaging, but it altered the course of the puzzle.
For City Block the exterior shapes were not changed by the theme. My motivation began as a way to save weight: The blocky pieces needed a rigid outline but the insides were not important to the puzzle. So my idea was to cut holes in the pieces to save on weight (85 puzzles worth of acrylic is heavy!), and once I started to do so the shapes and "windows" made a building/city theme jump out.
Unlike Breadbox where wood had clearly more of a bread feel, for City Block I chose eight different acrylics (five granites and three marbles) that all looked like various types of stone as the pieces represent buildings.
But enough talk. Pictures!
This shows the top mat of the packaging and describes the warm up puzzle, the main challenge and the configuration (with clear packaging inserts) for storing the puzzle.
Here is the puzzle in the unsolved, storage configuration. There are two clear inserts to keep the pieces from shifting around.
Here is the puzzle ready for the challenge. Just fit the buildings in the City Block...
Here are three puzzles to show some of the differing frame inking colors. I also made red and purple versions. Each puzzle has only seven pieces but in these three puzzles you can see all eight varieties (each is missing one of the colors). The black marble in the upper right of the right most puzzle is hard to see in this picture (washed out by light reflection), but the same material I used for the Elemental: Stone Heart
. On the smaller pieces (with holes) it looks a bit more plain black but you can see some of the white marbling.
The packaging is less fancy than the metal box I use for Breadbox, another way to save some weight. There are two black mat boards, one for a base and another for the top with the puzzle sandwiched in between to keep things flat. A simple bag keeps everything together.