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Mathematical Objects: Fingers with Ben Orlin

Mathematical Objects

A conversation about mathematics inspired by some fingers. Presented by Katie Steckles and Peter Rowlett, with special guest Ben Orlin. Ben’s new book is Math Games with Bad Drawings.

fingers
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Mathematical Objects: Quarto

Mathematical Objects

A conversation about mathematics inspired by the game Quarto. Presented by Katie Steckles and Peter Rowlett.

Quarto board and pieces
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Review: Math Games With Bad Drawings

Photograph of the book cover. It's big (did we mention that) and yellow, and covered in drawings of jokes about games.

Friend of the site and good writer/bad drawer Ben Orlin has recently released a new book, and we were kindly sent a copy to play with and review.

Introducing hexboard – a LaTeX package for drawing games of Hex

Chris Sangwin and I wrote a LaTeX package for drawing Hex boards and games called hexboard. It can produce diagrams like this.

Hex board with counters.

First: why? Then: how do you use it?

Mathematical Objects: Ox Blocks

Mathematical Objects

A conversation about mathematics inspired by the game Ox Blocks. Presented by Katie Steckles and Peter Rowlett.

Ox Blocks game
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“Transposition”, a sliding block puzzle by Jacob Siehler

Start and finished states of a Transposition puzzle

This is just a quick post to tell you about a nice puzzle game I spotted on Mathstodon.

It’s called Transposition, and it’s a sliding block puzzle in the vein of the popular game Rush Hour. You’re given a grid that’s almost full of rectangular blocks, and you have to slide them around each other until the two coloured blocks have swapped places.

The puzzle was invented by mathematician Jacob Siehler, who says he used a computer search to generate a pool of puzzles, given the rules of the game. I took quite a while to solve all 5 “easy” puzzles – as with any logic puzzle, you need to play about for a while to get a feel for the mechanics. I hadn’t appreciated at first that the grey blocks don’t need to be in their starting places when you solve the board – only the coloured blocks need to in the right positions.

There are 26 puzzles at the moment, ranging from “easy” to “very hard”. Have a crack at it! I really enjoyed it.

Play: Transposition, by Jacob Siehler

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