My new favorite time filler, for those moments where I’m tempted to pick up my phone and get lost in the internet. Now I sit down with some dominoes and invent puzzles.
The goal is always the same. Get my pawn (in this case, a usb plug) from its starting point in the bottom row to an exit on the top.
I start by picking a grid size, say 4×5. Then pick a starting spot and arrange the dominoes to fill up the grid. (At this point, the grid is in my head, I’m just arranging the dominoes on the table). Important, now I sketch the positions of the dominoes on paper. If this ends up being a good puzzle, I don’t want to forget the starting pattern.
Next I try to “solve” the puzzle. I don’t know yet where the exits will be. Instead, I try to work the pawn up toward the top row in as many places as I can. In doing so, I figure out which exit squares are too easy and which exit squares are impossible. Then, of the remaining possibilities, I pick one “easy” exit and one “hard” exit and mark them on my paper. (In some puzzles, it is impossible to get to the top row, so I mark these failed puzzles with an X).
A half an hour later I have a few post-it notes filled with puzzles. Here’s what I accumulated over the course of a few days last week.