Escape the Plague

For the 34th International Puzzle Party, held in London in August 2014, Kate went back in history to 1665, to London's worst year of the Black Death, the plague spread by fleas infesting rats. The resulting design was a maze puzzle, "Escape the Plague", served up in a little coffin-shaped box. A booklet telling the awful history of those diseased centuries is included. There's a very nice write-up of this set on Jerry Loo's puzzle blog.

When successfully solved, there is one continuous path from starting point to exit, including where it runs over the four interchangeable borders. Computer-solving genius George Sicherman tells us there are millions of solutions. Here are some nice ones by both beginners and experts:


A harder challenge is to form the maximum of separate closed loops. George increased our best count of 16 to 20, with much difficulty. In 2020, Meng-Hsuan Wu in Minneapolis found a 22-loop solution and proved it maximum by computer, winning a prize! Here are some samples with 16, 18, 19 and 20 loops:



We made Escape the Plague originally as a limited edition, then decided it was too much fun to end it, especially with the irony that a real pandemic descended upon our 21st century.     $49

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