|0019: Crazy Elephant Dance|
This puzzle took place in the "Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition" at the 25th International Puzzle Party (IPP25) that was held in Helsinki. It was awarded by the jury with an 'Honorable Mention':
|1.||each elephant has 3 orientations: pointing upwards, pointing to the right, pointing downwards|
|2.||an elephant can only be rotated at the position with the circular cut-off|
|3.||an elephant can be rotated from pointing upwards to the right (or vice versa) only when the elephant to its right is pointing downwards|
|4.||an elephant can be rotated from pointing downwards to the right (or vice versa) only when the elephant to its right is pointing upwards|
|5.||an elephant can only leave the stage when pointing downwards|
Do you know the wonderful puzzle Spin Out by Binary Arts? It is a mechanical sliding puzzle, where you have to slide a red bar ouf of a green shell. Ontop of the red bar there are elephants attached which can be rotated. According to the mechanism the elephants all have to point to the exit before the red bar is able to be slid out completely. Below you can see a picture of that puzzle.
Each elephant has exactly two orientations which corresponds to a binary system.
My idea was to extend this puzzle using three orientations for each elephant instead of two.
This extends the puzzle Spin Out from a binary version to a ternary version.
On top of this page you see a mechanical prototype of the puzzle which has been lasercut by
Peter Knoppers (Buttonius Puzzles & Plastics).
The mechanism for the Crazy Elephant Dance is more complex than the Spin Out puzzle and uses more layers where the locking and unlocking takes place. Each elephant has three orientations: pointing up, to the right or pointing down. In the start position all elephants are pointing up. The objective is to turn all elephants such that they are pointing down. In this position the slide can be moved out of the shell.
When an elephant is pointing to the right, it interlocks with its snout to its right neighbour. The next pictures show the layers where the most 'interesting things' happen:
In contrast to Spin Out, the puzzle Crazy Elephant Dance is more complex. While solving it, you
can do 'wrong' moves that lead to dead ends. So, if you don't watch out carefully you have to go back
'some steps'. This means that you always have to think which move has to be done
It is interesting to know how many steps are necessary to solve the puzzle with n elephants. Therefore, I use S(n) for the number of times you have to grab an elephant and turn it (in the mechanical puzzle version). In this case it doesn't matter whether you only turn it 90 degrees or 180 degrees. Here is a table showing the numbers S(n) for n=1,...,10: