Apr 15, 2013

BGS 2013: David Singmaster about Vanishing Puzzles

Metagrobologist David Singmaster made a nice presentation about an old subject: Vanishing Puzzles.

Here's a simple one where we move a piece of the puzzle and the original egg disappears:

David Singmaster brought lots of puzzles and old book references.

Here is a part of a page from Sebastiano Serlio - The First Booke of Architecture from 1611 (!) where it says that we can cut a table in a way to increase its area:

Another old reference is Davis Hooper's Rational Recreations, volume 4, from 1782:

And a 19th century French puzzle with the same theme:
Sam Loyd also made some famous vanishing puzzles:
I remember this next one from my youth, here in Portugal:
Other ones:
update: here's a Geogebra application of Loyd's Get off the Earth

Apr 12, 2013


Rules of play
A strategy game for 2 players from 8 years and up.

1 game board with 6 x 6 spots
36 playing pieces in 6 different colours

Object of the game
The first player capturing 3 times 4 playing pieces of 1 colour wins this game.

Start of the game
1.      Put the game board on the table between the players.
2.      Each player receives 3 playing pieces of each colour.
3.      Draw lots to decide which player may start. Turns are taking clockwise.

Course of the game
1.      In turn a player puts one of his playing pieces (he may choose any colour he has) on a random empty spot on the game board. There are only two exceptions:
·         It is not allowed to put more than two playing pieces of the same colour beside each other.
·         It is not allowed to put more than three playing pieces in one line.
2.      When a player puts a fourth playing piece of the same colour on the game board to make a parallelogram he captures these 4 playing pieces by taking them off the game board.

Some examples of winning patterns:

© January 29 – June 21, 2012, Fred Horn & Sjaak Griffioen

Apr 5, 2013

Queen Bee

A Keith Budden 1980 game for Clipper's publisher.

The rules are the following (from BoardGameGeek)


1 playing board
4 sets of 8 bees (playing pieces)

This game may be played by 2, 3 or 4 people.

If played by two people they should set their bees up on opposite sides of the board. If three people play they should use alternate bees marked on the board as starting positions for their Queen Bees. If 4 people
play then two players should start opposite the other two players, ie. each player has a blank space on one side and another player on the other side.


The aim of the game is to get your Queen Bee into the hive on the centre of the board. The first player to do this wins the game.


Each player has eight bees. One Queen Bee (value 1) four worker bees (value 2) and three warrior bees (value 3). To begin the game, the bees are placed on the board as in the diagram below. The Queen is placed on the marked position on the board. Note that the bees are located only on the intersections.

  /     \
 /       \
2         +
 \       /
  \     /
  /     \
 /       \
1         3
 \       /
  \     /
  /     \
 /       \
2         +
 \       /
  \     /


Players take turns, on each turn moving one bee. The value of the bee determines the number of intersections it may move, ie. a warrior may move 3 intersections, worker bees 2 intersections and the queen one
intersection. Each bee has to move the exact number of intersections indicated by its value. It may never move forward and then back to the same intersection in one move, ie. no repetition of movement is allowed
in a turn. A bee may never move through another bee.


Players may capture their opponents' bees. To capture a bee you have to land exactly on the bee you wish to capture and then it is removed from the board. A captured bee is eliminated from the game and may not be returned to the board. You may never capture your own bees - only your opponents' bees. IMPORTANT: players may begin to capture their opponents' bees only from their second move onwards; they cannot capture on their first move of the game.

If your Queen Bee is captured, you are out of the game and your remaining bees are left on the board. These bees cannot be moved but they may be captured by any of the remaining players. It is, therefore, important to guard your Queen Bee as carefully as possible.


The player who first gets his Queen Bee into the hive wins OR if all the other players are out of the game because their Queen Bee has been captured, the remaining player wins.

(C) Seven Town
Originated by Keith Budden