Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition

Eligibility, Entry, and General Rules


  • The puzzle design must be first manufactured or otherwise made public no earlier than two years before the competition: June 2016 - June 2018. In this context, "design" refers to both the puzzle's operation and its physical appearance.

  • The puzzle must be a new design, or an inventive new application of a known principle.

  • Each entry must be submitted by the actual designer (or designers) of the puzzle. Up to three entries are allowed from the same designer.

  • Anyone can participate with any qualifying design, regardless of Puzzle Party affiliation. The designer need not be a Puzzle Party participant. Additionally, the puzzle does not need to be part of the Exchange, nor does being in the Exchange necessarily qualify or disqualify a design. Participation in the Design Competition does not entitle the designer to an Puzzle Party invitation.

  • All commonly recognized classes of mechanical puzzles are eligible for the competition. This includes: Put-Together, Take-Apart, Interlocking, Disentanglement, Sequential Movement, Dexterity, Vessels, Vanish, Folding, and Impossible Objects.

Form of Entry

  • If you are planning to submit a puzzle design, please send advance email to as early as possible, so that we know to expect your entry.

  • A complete entry, including the puzzles, must be received no later than June 15, 2018 (approximately one month prior to the Puzzle Party). The entry must include the following: 

    • 2 complete, working versions of the puzzle -  Prototypes are acceptable, but you must recognize that some judges may consider finished quality as significant. Puzzles may come from the designer or borrowed from other collections.

    • A detailed description -  Use the online Entry Form to provide the following information for each entry:

      • Puzzle Name

      • Designer

        • your name

        • e-mail address (for all official communication)

        • full postal mailing address (for returning your puzzles)

      • Manufacturer

      • Date of design

      • Date of first public disclosure or manufacture

      • Materials used

      • Goal/problem statement

      • Solution (maximum one page; include images or drawings if needed)

      • Puzzle classification

    • Entry fee - Nonrefundable US$40 per design entered. PayPal is recommended, and should be sent to the IPCA account:, adding 3% from inside the US, or adding 4% from outside the US. Please include a note indicating your name and the name of the puzzle(s) entered. US bank checks are also welcome; please make US$ checks (or money order) payable to the International Puzzle Collectors Association. Please do not send cash.

    •  Optional information:

      • Buyer's Guide: instructions for how collectors can purchase your puzzle after the Puzzle Party. Please include price and quantity produced.

      • Slocum Puzzle Museum: Please indicate your interest in donating or selling your puzzle entry to the Slocum Puzzle Foundation for the permanent collection at the Lilly Library/Slocum Puzzle Museum.

      • Other descriptive information is welcome, including the relevant history, motivation, construction process, recommendation on how to present puzzle during judging, etc. However, please note that this information may be reduced or not included in the official judging guide.

  • Submit your entry in four parts:

    • Complete the Online Entry Form. Any additional information (such as solution images) should be submitted via email to .

    • Send the entry fee to the IPCA:

      Harold Raizer, IPCA Treasurer
      1323 Glyndon Drive 
      Virginia Beach, VA 23464

      Use this address for checks and money orders. If using PayPal, please send to

    • Send the first puzzle to the Design Competition chair:

      Nick Baxter/Puzzle Design Competition
      801 Newhall Road 
      Hillsborough, CA  94010

      Most puzzles shipped to the US will have the duty waived under the US Customs Service Harmonized Tariff Schedule, #9503.60.20.00. You should note this number on your customs form.

    • Mail the second copy of the puzzle to the IPP38/Design Competition on-site coordinator:

      Peter Grabarchuk/Design Competition
      4220 Corte Favor
      San Diego, CA 92130


  • The puzzles will be returned after the competition; all other portions of the submission will be retained by the committee and will not be returned. Puzzle Party attendees should expect to pick up their puzzles at the IPP Awards Dinner. Others will be return shipped by mail. Owners that request special mail services, or oversized puzzles, must pay the cost of additional/excessive postage or customs duty. The Competition Committee will not be responsible for puzzles lost or damaged during transit.

  • Each puzzle description submitted may be marked with an appropriate copyright. However, the puzzle itself should not include any identifying markings, if possible, so that the design can be kept anonymous during judging.


  • The names of the designers will not be revealed until the announcement of awards. This is a preference of the competition organizers and judges, and should also be observed to the extent possible by the participants. Any undue promotion of competition participation (campaigning, etc.) will be considered a breach of rules and entries subject to disqualificaiton.

  • Each participant understands that the puzzles will be subjected to hands-on use by a large number of Puzzle Party attendees during the judging process. Reasonable care will be taken by the organizers to prevent damage, but neither the Competition Committee, the Puzzle Party organizers, nor the Puzzle Party participants will be liable for any damage or loss due to such use. In case of minor damage, routine repairs will be attempted.

  • It is possible that more designs are submitted than can reasonably be judged during IPP by the jury and by the Puzzle Party participants. If the total number of entries is greater than 50, then the judging committee may perform a first round of judging prior to the IPP, reducing the number of entries to no less than 50. As a courtesy, entries eliminated in this round will not by publicized, nor will they appear in the competition guides. Please note that based on recent trends, the jury will endeavor to bring the number of published entries close to around 60.

  • Photos and descriptions of the entries may appear in publications about or promoting the competition, including but not limited to the IPP Souvenir Booklet, CFF, and the Design Competition web site.

  • Any issues not covered by the existing rules will be resolved by the committee at its discretion.

  • These rules go into effect on November 1, 2017, and are considered unofficial and subject to change until that time. Any substantial rule changes made after November 1, 2017 will be noted below.

Rules Changes since November 1, 2017

  • None.


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