This time I am writing about an IPP competition entry which won an Honorable Mention back in 2010. The puzzle is called EX 3 and was designed by Hiroshi Yamamoto from Japan. When I saw his email address on the John Rausch forum I just tried my luck and shot him an email asking for several puzzles. I got positive response and could obtain almost all I wanted. This very puzzle cost me 8 USD only and there is a great chance you can still order your copy.
The puzzle itself is a tangram like puzzle consisting out of 3 odd-shaped acrylic laser-cut pieces. It also came along with 3 different tasks (see first picture) whereas at the IPP in 2010 the "only" challenge given was the last and most difficult one. EX 3 looks actually very simple. You have 3 pieces to play with and one would think you finish it within half an hour after a little bit of trial and error. No guys, it is not that easy! The first two challenges can be solved really fast (took me a minute for the first and a few more for the second) but my problem was not to find the correct solution but to realize I found it already. The last and final challenge is really a hard nut to crack although there are no tricks involved (all pieces are placed flat on the table and no silhouettes have to be created). I did not count but I believe it cost me around 5 hours of puzzling to finally solve the last challenge and I really felt the achievement. From a difficulty point of view I would rate it a 8 out of 10 (just for the last challenge; the others may be 2 or 3 out of 10).
I can really recommend to either buy or build it by yourself (paper, carton or wood is fine) because you can have a lot of fun with your friends and colleagues. Also kids will have some fun and might find the solution/s faster than the grown up's due to different visual recognition of shapes. Overall really a great puzzle!