Monday, February 11, 2013

Really? This is a maze?

Below are three small examples of the types of mazes in a new maze book:
At the end of 2012 I thought I was finished with mazes and began to work on a free, promotional e-book of mazes. As I contemplated what to include, I realized that it would be fun to pick up a thread I had started long ago but had abandoned to pursues threads of patterns, tessellations, and letter forms. This previously abandoned thread of coded mazes resulted in a book that is completely unlike any of my previous eleven maze books.

As I was working on the book, I gradually realized that it was less a maze book than a book of miscellaneous puzzle. The mazes themselves are not the challenge. Finding the maze is the challenge. To do that, one must have a key, a explanation of how to decode the maze.

The title of the book? Hidden-Path Mazes: Decode to Solve.

The key for the first maze above is the phrase. "Wish upon A Star." If a letter in a block is part of that phrase, you can cross the block, otherwise the block is closed. The key to the second maze is black even, red odd. If a card from a red suit (diamonds or hearts) is odd, it is part of the path but if it is even, it is part of the wall of the maze. If a card from a black suit (clubs or spades) is even, it is part of the path but if it is odd, it is part of the wall. Finally, the last maze has a number code inside telling how it connects to the left and up. A one means it connects to the left, a two means it connects up, and a three means it connects up and to the left. Connections down and to the right are controlled by neighboring cells. If you decode these three mazes to discover the paths, you will find two of them contain the same maze.

Hidden-Path Mazes has mazes based on these three patterns plus another 80 patterns or puzzles. Decoding the mazes requires a lot of matching and sometimes some computation. It will provide many hours of fun (or frustration). Although some of the puzzles can be worked by small children, most are more appropriate for patient older children and adults. Because of the nature of the mazes, the solution section at the end shows the complete paths in a simplified form, not just the correct paths. However, the task in this book is to find the path, and once that is done, solving the maze is not hard.

Hidden-Path Mazes is available from CreateSpace and Amazon.