The International Puzzle Party
The author (left) with world-famous puzzlist Nob Yoshigahara at the IPP 1996 in Seattle (click to enlarge).
The author with friend, phycisist, JORM editor, inventor, collector Harry Nelson (click to enlarge).
You may have a Rubik's Cube or two collecting dust in the closet, perhaps alongside a Pyramix or a wooden barrel that comes apart into a dozen pieces. But they won't get you an invitation to the IPP as a collector, where people with only 500 puzzles might call themselves "small" collectors. (Jerry Slocum, the party's founder, owns more than 17,500.) Guests have presented not only selections from antique puzzle collections, but also such new puzzles as the Moody Ball, Oskar's Cube, and the PuzzleCal.
During the three-day party, guests share their love of games, thriving on the complexity, discovery, and surprise found in puzzles, illusions, and magic. These collectors value mechanical puzzles, the kind you manipulate with your hands and solve through reasoning, insight, luck and dexterity.
For example the object of Escape from Alcatraz, Edward Hordern's diabolical
ball-in-cage, is to remove a steel ball from a tiny wooden cell that has only
six bars. Sometimes you simplz have to use your head to figure out "impossible
objects" that seem to defy explanation, like Nob Yoshigahara's wooden arrow
thorugh a Chinese coin, or Harry Eng's tennis shoe in a cider bottle,
or the Toyo Glass Company's one-of-a-kind 22-pound slab of granite with a wooden arrow through its middle.
The Puzzle Party also represents the perfect opportunity to showcase ideas that haven't yet made it to the market.