It happened about a year ago. A Reddit user found an “anonymous” maze on a beverage coaster in a pub in Vancouver. Astonished by its peculiar look, and convinced that it was awesome, he decided to upload it to the content sharing website where it became a viral phenomenon, to the extent that various mass media started recopying it. Probably what most people “infected” by the virus are unaware of is that the maze in question is one of the most popular games of Robert Abbott.
Okay, so who’s this Abbott fellow and what’s so special about his mazes? Well, it turns out that Robert Abbott, who isn’t from Vancouver but rather is an American, in addition to being considered as “The Grand Old Man” of strategy games by his fans for having created such classics as “Eleusis” or “Babel”, is one of the best, if not the best, designer of mazes of all kinds in the world.
In fact, he is the inventor of the so-called logic-mazes (among which is included the one on the beverage coaster), puzzles that must be completed while following a set of rules of varying complexity. The one shown below is the first of its kind. It was published in the October 1962 issue of Scientific American, in the column of Martin Gardner under the title Traffic Maze in Floyd’s Knob (years later Abbott rebaptized it as The farmer goes to the market). The idea is to travel from the entrance to the exit through the streets and the city, choosing at each intersection one of the directions permitted, while not being able to make U-turns or retrace the segment already crossed. It’s logical that after attempting to solve this historic game you’ll want more. To satisfy this desire you just have to visit Logic-mazes.com, Abbott’s website. But beware! It is known that this type of puzzle is highly addictive.