BENDIT - flexible pattern matching puzzle for adults

 

THE STORY BEHIND THE CREATION OF BEND-IT


Bend-it is another SmartGame with ball shapes I invented for 2012.  The tagline says “flex your brain” and I definitely flexed mine when I developed this fun puzzle. The balls are a lot bigger than those of IQ-Fit or IQ-Puzzler, but that’s not the only difference.


THE SOLUTION = THE CHALLENGE

You have 6 puzzle pieces and the object is to use them to fill up the grid but… the challenge shows you this time how the solution will look like! When you start you already know the color of every ball (either white or black) but you don't know which balls are part of which puzzle pieces.


To complicate things a little, every puzzle piece is made from both white and black balls AND each puzzle piece can bend in 2 places 90°, so it can transform into different shapes. 4 puzzle pieces can have 9 different shapes, the other 2 puzzle pieces can only be bended into 6 different shapes.


This sounds difficult, but it isn't that hard to solve, if you know what to look for. If you want to find out yourself, just skip the next paragraph. But if you don't have any clue yourself, check out the hints below.


top left: example of a challenge of Bend-it, showing the color of each ball

top right: example of a solution of Bend-it: each line represents another puzzle piece


HOW TO SOLVE BEND-IT?


  1. A)There is only one puzzle piece with one white ball (indicated with a green line in the solution). You can easily find back this puzzle piece in challenges where you can find one white ball that is not next to other white balls.





  1. B)There are only 2 puzzle pieces (red and orange) with one black ball at the end. If you see a black ball that is not touched by any other black balls, you know that you need to use one of those 2 puzzle pieces.





  1. C)The puzzle pieces indicated with a blue line, has 3 white balls in a row. There are more ways to make this 3 white balls in a row, but with this puzzle piece there will also be a black ball on the same row next to it.




  1. D) Every puzzle piece is a combination of white or black balls. Look for areas where there are a lot of balls of the same colors close to each other. These areas are always made with different puzzle pieces.


  1. E) Look for patterns that are easy to remember. Two puzzle pieces (yellow and purple) are made of a combination 2 white - 2 black - 2 white or visa versa.





F) When you create an empty area on your game board surrounded by balls, this space should always have a number of places that is a multiple of 6.


When you now look back to the challenge on top of this page, you will see that this challenge can easily be solved using the clues A and C. Every challenge has clues like these, but harder challenges have fewer than easier challenges. If you don’t look for clues, it’s just a trail and error game, but if you use your brains, it becomes what it really is: a logic puzzle.



FLEX YOUR BRAIN

Although I normally prefer to play puzzle games with a theme, I really liked this one too. The reason for this is that once you understand how the game works, you can already solve a lot of challenges, only by using logic. Other games often require you to check a lot of possibilities one by one, which is not really my cup of tea.


It's also the first game were I could solve most of the challenges in 5 à 10 minutes. In most other SmartGames I designed it was hard to find challenges that you could solve in that time frame. Challenges are often easier (less than 5 minutes) or much harder (more than 10 minutes). But this game was different. That is probably another reason why I enjoyed to play it. Good challenges should not be too hard or too easy.


To make real easy challenges possible, I added hints to the STARTER level. The first 2 challenges show you the position of 4 of the 6 puzzle pieces. The following challenges show you fewer hints. The other levels don't show you any hints.


GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY

There is some psychology involved with this game. People are very focussed on recognizing patterns, even if they are not intentional or don't make any sense. When you look at a challenge, your mind thinks that groups of balls with the same color belong to the same puzzle piece (which is often not the case). This makes solving the challenges confusing when you start playing with it.


update june 2012: There are 3 small errors in the challenge booklet with date code 20120220 of Bend-it. Challenges 30, 52 and 56 should have 19 black balls instead of 18. CHB SG450 Bend It CORRECTIONS.pdf shows you the right challenges. Coloring the 3 white balls (indicated with a red circle) black solves the issue. These errors are only there in the first print run of the booklet. In more recent versions this is corrected.


REVIEWS AND LINKS

  1. Bend It on the official website of SmartGames

  2. www.deskovehry.com (CZ): Recenze: Bend It - ohýbání všeho druhu

  3. Gabriel Fernandes’ Puzzle Collection (blog)


AWARDS

  1. Guldbrikken: nominated “Toy of the Year 2012-2013” (Denmark)

  2. Major Fun Award 2013 (USA)

  3. Best Puzzle Nominee 2014: GAMES Magazine (USA)

 


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Raf Peeters, January 2012

2016

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