Puzzlers, You've Met Your Match!

When puzzling in the Merchant's apothecary, you may be presented with a pile of sticks like these:

Here's what Happens

The Merchant will first have you arrange the sticks in a starting position and then give you a set of instructions in order to create a new shape or transform the original shape in some way. These are commonly referred to as "matchstick puzzles," which are often a source of amusement in bars and taverns (where matchsticks are usually readily available).

Take these, for example:

The Fish

The Three Brothers


Move three sticks to make the fish swim in the opposite direction.  The fish will end up in the same shape, just flipped vertically as though he decided to swim to the right.


Move two to make four.


 The black sticks are those that have been moved from the original arrangement.

One only needs to pinch the middle and right-most stick together at the bottom to create, "IV," the roman numeral for four.

Try some for yourself

The Grid


Move two sticks to create seven perfect squares.  All sticks will be used.

The Tic-tac-toe


Move three sticks to create three perfect squares.  All sticks will be used.

The Triangles


Move one stick to create four triangle.

Here's how to play

  1. Take a photo of some stick-like objects (matches, pens, pool noodles, you name it) in the final position for any puzzle.
  2. Post your photo on Instagram, write the name of the puzzle with a hashtag (#Grid, #Tic-tac-toe or #Triangles) and tag @OOTBpuzzles
  3. In a few days, we'll post the answers here and give away some sweet prizes.

Here's what you'll win

On Wednesday, April 6th, we'll award these prizes to the seven most creative (and correct) submissions