Rod Kimball, professional juggler with The Flying Karamazov Brothers, is also a puzzle designer in his spare time.
He created a new type of pen and paper puzzle and published a book of them: Path Puzzles.
We met Rod at the New York Puzzle Party this past February, where we spoke about escape rooms. He recently gave us a copy of his book.
The cover of his book reads “Easy to pick up, hard to put down” and I have to agree.
Easy to pick up
The basic rules are simple:
- There’s a polygon grid of squares.
- The grid has two openings along its edges.
- The grid has numbers along the edges.
- You have to draw a single line from one opening to another, with that line passing through each row and column of the grid matching the numbers along the side
- If a column or row has the number 4 beside it, then the line must pass through 4 squares on the grid.
- If a column or row has the number 0 beside it, then the line must never pass that column.
- If a column or row has no number beside it, the line may pass through anywhere from none to all of the squares–it’s up to the solver to figure out.
That’s all there is to learn to get started.
There are a few advanced rules that apply to more challenging puzzles, such as multiple false openings along the edges and numbers in the middle of the grid. These serve to greatly increase the difficulty of later puzzles.
Hard to put down
From March through June, I spent a lot of time traveling for work and fun. Throughout my seemingly endless string of flights, I would swap between two puzzle games:
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (ported to 3DS), one of the finest puzzle adventure video games of all time, and Rod Kimball’s humble book Path Puzzles.
I was torn between them… which is just about the kindest compliment I can bestow upon a puzzle.
Since Rod gave us a free copy of Path Puzzles we have bought additional copies as gifts because they are wonderful, easy to learn, and ultra portable.
I’ve burned out on Sudoku and Path Puzzles has grown into a refreshing replacement as my go-to pen and paper puzzle.
(Amazon – If you purchase via our Amazon links, you will help support Room Escape Artist as we will get a very small percentage of the sale).