Extremely Puzzling - Goetz Schwandtner's Puzzles

On this page some extremely puzzling objects are displayed: My private puzzle collection consisting of a wide range of three-dimensional puzzles, from industrial produced Rubik's Cube like puzzles to my custom builds, from production range Pihilos wood puzzles to rare and special puzzles from various excellent craftsmen, and not to forget the Japanese Himitsu Bakos, including some equisite works of the Karakuri Creation Group. Please note that you won't find any (standard) jigsaw puzzles on these pages, may they be two or three dimensional.


Added on 2020-02-14
From the US another puzzle arrived which is not available in the European market yet: True Challenge. Under a different name, this one won a Jury Honorable Mention award at IPP38 and is a puzzle with a new concept. On one hand, a twisty puzzle, where colored segments in two rings can be rotated around the equator of the puzzle and a half turn of the whole puzzle along an orthogonal plane is possible. The objective is to solve these colored segments, but in a way that all the magnets of adjacent segments attract each other, like shown in the picture. Three magnets are embedded into each segment and they produce some nice clicking sounds when turning the segments pushes them outwards and inwards again. A clever design idea!
Added on 2020-02-13
After finding a star in the Mindanao last week, it is now time for the first snow (star crystals) this winter. Not outside, of course, it is too warm here, but imported from Plaza Japan: Cast Snow. This is the latest of the famous Hanayama Cast series, and this time it is an easier one than the ones before, and a beautiful one! While this has just been released to the market in Japan, it will take a few more months for the regular world wide release. Solving the puzzle is a fun experience and consistent with the 2 star difficulty rating. While not being too difficult, don't expect the puzzle to be trivial, there are still some twists in the solution (literally) to be found!
Added on 2020-02-05
The latest of the fascinating pocket sized puzzles from the Philippines arrived today: Mindanao. It has a black and dark brown colour scheme, and it is slightly bigger than the others, but still pocket size. This one came without the usual sticky tape securing pieces from falling out, so I am guessing there are no such pieces that will come out easily or by accident. Not a lot can be seen from the outside, just a hexagonal white window, and a strange hole on the back side. However, tilting the puzzle is something that may lead to the first insight, and in my case it did. Soon afterwards it turned into a sequential discovery puzzle, and I can only guess how this mechanism is implemented. It has mulitple steps, and several interacting elements. Without completing I returned the puzzle to its original state for later examination, and to see if I can understand what may be going on inside, but then I was surprised to see that the strange hole on the back has changed its appearance. Seems I did not return the puzzle to its original state after all. From what I have seen and found so far, it is a great puzzle with some nice new ideas, some Aha! moments, and I am curious to see what else I will find. Not too quick, to enjoy the solving process a bit longer! Of course the screws and nuts are off-limits for solving the puzzle, but knowing the others that should be self-explanatory. A fascinating addition to the series, and I am curious to see what I will find in this puzzle and how the series will continue!
Added on 2020-02-01
No new puzzle today, but an extension of the Burr Zoo group page, about an excursion to solve a whale related puzzle.
Added on 2020-01-21
When looking at the IPP38 Nob Yoshigahara Design Competition, one entry was puzzling me. A shiny metal puzzle, looking very well engineered and a bit in the style of Wil's usual big boxes. However, knowing Wil, I was not aware that he had released a new design without telling anybody, and the inscription "J. Keegan" hinted that there must be a new designer in the puzzle scene. When it had become available and after hearing some positive feedback, I went to join the waiting list, and today a big shipping box arrived, and in it a nice wooden box, containing the: Jewel Thief. The puzzle comes with an instruction card made out of anodized metal and some additional extras, including a stand for the Lego Jewel Thief, to display her once she has been freed from her prison. The puzzle itself is also solid and massive, and seems to be as well made as the images would suggest. I am curious to give it a go, and it will be interesting, because it also includes some form of riddle solving. Seems like an escape room aspect. Probably this will take some time to solve, so let's put it to the backlog list — but more to the top of the list of puzzles to be solved, so the Jewel Thief is freed soon.
Added on 2020-01-18
In recent years, Volker Latussek became famous for his packing puzzle designs, and also published some puzzles where one had to match highlighted sections of wooden blocks while packing. In today's update, there is a Design Competition Entry having some similar constraints, to arrange pieces while matching parts of them: Mesh. Here, the matching parts are press studs and their sockets, and the goal is to arrange the puzzle into a 4x4 grid and closing all the 16 studs — not like shown in the picture, can you find the mismatches? After some initial trying of 15 minutes, I have made some interesting observations already, but without solving the puzzle. That will take a bit longer, I guess, and involve more analysis. A nicely made puzzle and fun to play with.
Added on 2020-01-09
On the way home, I could today pick up Juno's latest sequential discovery puzzle box, sent from the Pluredro shop directly to me: Ring Case. It is a cute beauty and the size is very friendly for collectors as well. The description on the web shop said that this may be something to befriend partners suffering from your puzzle collection activities, but after solving part of it, I strongly advise against using this box to propose. That may end up in a desaster! Removing the lid involves some nice sequential discovery steps, but then .... The ring inside looks expensive, even though it has no opal in it, but that is not the problem here. Like some other ring bearing boxes, there is a different challenge. Well, you get the idea! From comments I read from other puzzlers, I am not the only one looking to solve this challenge. This box is very well crafted and at the moment there still seem to be some available in the shop.
Added on 2020-01-07
First parcel of the year came from Hong Kong, directly from Meffert's, with a new golden puzzle: Golden Dodecahedron. This one is based on the Skewb mechanism, like the Golden Cube by Tony. While the overall structure and shape make look like a Skewb mod with triangles and squares, it is still a confusing puzzle. There is a nice click mechanism, but when the pieces click into place, that does not mean that the puzzle is in a solved state, or even close. Actually for one of the rotating axes, clicking into place means that the puzzle is definitely not solved. A consequence of this is also that you have to be very careful when picking up the solved puzzle — grabbing the wrong layers and the puzzle will rotate easily and escape your grip. What I like best about this puzzle is the nice solid feel, and the looks: There are cuts that look like you could turn the puzzle, just to notice that these cuts slightly change direction from piece to piece and will not allow any turn in this configuration at all.

Just noticing that the names of the Karakuri x-mas presents have been published, these have now been added to this site and one of them also went into compendium and n-ary puzzle group.

Added on 2019-12-30
Today there was a nice private year end puzzle meeting and we had greeat fun. From my friend Dirk also attending, I received his IPP39 exchange puzzle, which I only had as a prototype before: Chinese Soft Ring, which I incidentially had nominated as one of my top three new puzzles this year. Now I can combine the two to add additional challenges to be solved using all four metal rings. Of course, this means disassembling both puzzles before. The puzzle is part of the compendium and n-ary puzzle group, where more details can be found.
Added on 2019-12-23
Today the latest puzzles from Cubicdissection arrived. The first one is an old design from 2002 now available again: Secret Burr. Like the Ball Bearing Burr, this one has some extra pieces inside that need to be navigated before the first of the burr sticks can be removed. This burr is nice to solve once you have an idea what these moves may be, and several of the special moves are required to disassemble. The Confetti Box is the latest of Eric's box designs and looks very interesting, and I have found the first piece to remove already. When removing this, another mechanism is unlocked and then an interesting mechanism is unlocked. I wonder how the rest of the solution will look like and what the name of this box is about. I just cleaned up from the styrofoam peanuts that came in that parcel as well!
Added on 2019-12-18
Today I completed the remaining puzzle box kits and built two nice little puzzle boxes: Chinese Torture has two layers of sliders on each of the six sides, a fascinating concept and making it difficult to solve. Helter Skelter has more of a traditional look and mechanism and quite easy to solve. Then a parcel arrived with some puzzle boxes that have been assembled and built by master craftsmen from the Karakuri Creation Group: The christmas presents I ordered beginning of this year. X-mas present 2019_1* looks like a typical design by Iwahara, a cubic box and probably some complex mechanism interacting with the panels inside. The box has three light and three red wooden panels, and this should not be due to the available woods available in the workshop, but more likely a hint for the solution. The other one is X-mas present 2019_2* and immediately looks like last year's present by Kawashima, but of course the solution of that one does not work here. Four nice boxes for one day!
Added on 2019-12-16
The next box kit to be assembled is from the same company like the Mini Punk yesterday and works in a similar way: Assemble the pieces interlocking by their structure and glue. It is the bigger Silver City. Assembly was fun, but took a bit longer than I thought. The box consists of two symmetric halves, and each of these halves is symmetric again, so that basically most parts occur four times. In the manual, one starts noticing this when the magical "2x" or "4x" icons appear that make you start over with the second part again. The mechanism works well after assembly, and this box reminds me a bit of a Coffin puzzle: To join the two halves on closing the box, one has to be careful with the alignment to slide the parts together, and when opening it, one has to think about where to put the fingers to be able to pull it apart. After unlocking the locks, that is! A great DIY puzzlebox, and certainly an advanced one.
Added on 2019-12-15
Some time ago, I ordered myself some more puzzle box kits, to be assembled when I would have some time. Yesterday, I started building the boxes, and the first two of them have been completed already: Antique Box is a box assembled without any glue, but a fascinating mechanism. It has eight compartments and the first six of them open simultaneously and that is more an interesting mechanism rather than a puzzle. The last two are secret compartments to be found and to be opened, too. The other box is a smaller one, with a bit of a steam punk look: Mini Punk. To open it, several interacting mechanisms need to be operated to unlock the lid and open it. This box also has a coin slot with an extra cover. Both boxes are fun to assemble, and come with detailed building instructions, and the mechanisms of both boxes work nicely.
Added on 2019-12-14
Today two small and heavy parcels arrived from different countries in the world: Lock'd In from the US, with a new puzzle lock shaped puzzle,, which also participated in this year's IPP. However, I would not advise to use this puzzle as a padlock, because that may get you into trouble. The other one is from Israel: Fun-Lock. It is a new variant of the TRIP puzzle lock from many years ago and comes from the Feldman's, and it is fun to solve — as the name suggests. Both puzzle locks are very well made, work nicely, and are fun to solve.
Added on 2019-12-13
Yavuz Demirhan recently offered a whole range of packing puzzles. They are all beautifully made from wood, and include some acrylic restricting the opening of the packing box. In general, I am not too good at solving packing puzzles, and these have the additional challenge that most likely the pieces will have to move around a bit after packed into the box to allow enough space for the others to be inserted. From the whole offer, I chose about half of them, which looked interesting to me: Snake Pit No 1, Snake Pit No 2, Mushkila No 3, Mushkila No 4, Quadro. From what I have seen so far, for each puzzle there is exactly one shape of pieces (or mirror imaged pieces), and this shape occurs multiple times. At least one does not have to worry too much about exchanging pieces between positions in the process, as each puzzle only has one shape. However, The Mushkila seem to be an exception: Still same piece shape, but two different kinds of wood, and in the end you are supposed to create a nice pattern. Cute puzzles, and I am sure it will take me some time to solve them all!
Added on 2019-12-10
A surprise arrived from my puzzle friend Michel. A surprise because I did not know about it, and because it is a new puzzle: Senemmetry. After thinking about the goal a while and playing with the pieces, I found the solution, and it looks beautiful, and it is not shown in the picture of course! It looks nice also because of the 6-fold symmetry! A fun puzzle, thank you Michel!
Added on 2019-12-09
Today another IPP39 puzzle arrived, this time one from the Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition: Drawer Box IPP+ edition. It is not the same model like at IPP, but an improved version. First, I had no idea how it would work, but then I managed to start opening drawers a bit and was quite surprised. A cool mechanism, possibly inspired by a certain Japanese box, but then completely different. It even has a coin inside and even features a little sequential discovery element. A cute box and and great puzzle, and nicely decorated and making excellent use of the 3D printing technique!
Added on 2019-12-07
A puzzle related to IPP39 arrived today: The B-LOCK II. It is a very well made trick lock based on a Nabob lock, and it features a new trick I have never seen before. It was fun to solve and to figure out what was happening durinng the steps to open the lock. A great puzzle lock, and currently on offer via the etsy shop, too!
Added on 2019-11-30
Today I went to a private puzzle party a friend had organized, to meet some puzzle friends, solve some rare puzzles, and also to add some puzzles to my collection. When I came home, an order from NowStore was waiting for me with two of the latest twisties; Six Spot Cube is a puzzle with some similarity to the Ivy Cube, and it is nicely made and does not seem difficult to solve. The Bamianti Cube II is a face turning octahedron where the edges turn together with the faces, and therefore part of the twisty octahedra group. After these new puzzles, a vintage puzzle, and a noisy one: Twelve Edges. The metal pieces make a lot of noise when playing with the puzzle, and it does not seem trivial to disassemble. The other puzzles were all built by our host Bernhard: Pushbutton Burr was a Design Competition entry and I asked myself what was so special about it. Well, it has a lot of buttons and you have to push them in the right order for disassembly. It came with everything assembled aside from the button pieces, so it was a partial assembly challenge. As you can see from the picture, I have managed to assemble it, and now it will require pushing some red buttons before getting it apart again. Pushing some of these 10 buttons in the right sequence is fun, and I seem to understand why the puzzle was submitted to the competition. The rest of the haul are some more of Andrew's Turning Interlocking Cubes (TICs), and the first two also part of the Design Competition FantasTIC and PedanTIC. The others are new, and some of them I haven't seen mentioned before: LunaTIC, CatharTIC, KeyTIC, and MajesTIC. A lot of interlocking puzzles with many moves, and for none of them Burr-Tools will be of any help (aside from maybe finding possible assemblies).
Added on 2019-11-26
Today a an early birthday puzzle came from Meffert's, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its own design next year: Crystal Pyraminx. This puzzle is transparent to me in several ways. First of all, I know how to solve Pyraminxes and they are not exactly difficult puzzles. And secondly, the puzzle is of shining brightness when you look at it, and you can look inside and through it. A bit like puzzle pieces made out of diamonds. It not only looks nice, but has also the clicking mechanism we know from the Pyraminx making sure the pieces are staying aligned.
Added on 2019-11-23
From Australia, from Pluredro, a new puzzle arrived: Grooved 6 Board Burr #4. It is a 6 piece board burr, no sequential discovery puzzle, or puzzle box, just a burr. However, it is a nonstandard 6BB, with grooves and pins. It is the 4th in the series and bigger than the previous ones, and it is also a hybrid version of the placement of pins and grooves we have seen in the previous ones. It is very well made, looks nice and moves easily. Will be fun to solve, but also a challenge, at this level!
Update: Having solved this puzzle (complete disassembly and reassembly), I like this design even more. The moves enforced by the various pins and groves are unusual and fascinating. Similar to earlier puzzles in the series, one piece has to be parked in a position where it would just fall off it it was a regular 6 piece board burr. The grooves come in linear form without exits and some in angled or even cross shaped form, and while some of them pose the challenge to get the pin out, others actually help to understand where a piece will move within the solution while newly entering a pin into a groove. 28 moves with all kinds of restictions do not make the puzzle easy, so that during my first solve, I was suddenly surpised: How did that piece come out of the puzzle? A quick analysis showed that it must have been the intended way, with a sequence to leave a groove just a few moves earlier. Getting the piece back in and the puzzle into starting configuration was another challenge, and then I noticed something that would make this easier: Like for the previous one, there is a complex rotational shortcut, so that the same first piece comes out after 8 moves already, including two rotations, and one angled move. I consider this an alternate solution, which is also fun to find, and determining both solutions make it a nice challenge. After complete solve taking apart the puzzle into all six pieces, and back again, I disassembled the puzzle once more to confirm my soltion with Burr-Tools, and it seems I was spot on with my approach. A fascinating puzzle, and maybe my favourite of the series so far.
Added on 2019-11-22
From Pelikanpuzzles some of the latest, beautiful, wooden puzzles arrived today. They are some more of Osanori Yamamoto's ingenious packing puzzles (but with an interlocking component of some level) and some of Klaas Jan Daamstra works. Belt Cube 3 and W-Windows look like some of the other packing puzzles released recently, crafted from beautiful woods, and coming unassembled of course, so the challenge is to pack the pieces into the box, covering the holes. The Rattle Twist V is the 5th in the series, and the first few are well known from past IPP Design Competitions. The Little Hug is a cute puzzle, and the "little" in the name is to be taken literally! The Little Trick is a bit bigger and features three pieces in a frame. Five nice looking puzzles, and I am looking forward to solve them all!
Added on 2019-11-14
Today a parcel arrived with three beautiful and well crafted puzzle boxes inside. The first two are an extension of the current series: Small Box 3 - Nope Box employs many magnets and has some sequential discovery elements as part of the solution, and it just looks beautiful with the lacewood body. The Small Box 4 - Paradox Box reminds me a bit of Eric's first cigar box. Both of these small boxes come in a nice size and are fun to play with, and not too difficult to solve. The Lift Box is just a tiny bit bigger, but part of the regular box range. After quickly discovering that there is a lid that can be taken off, I have gotten nowhere so far. I made a discovery telling me what the final goal may be, but how to use the lid and how to apply the lift from the box' name? This one is going to be a much bigger challenge than the small boxes I would guess. Three nicely made boxes, and they are also in the perfect size to fit into the cabinet after playing with them.
Added on 2019-10-30
From my puzzle friends at Mr Puzzle Australia a parcel arrived after having travelled half around the world. The main reason for my order was Brian's new sequential discovery puzzle: ages. The central Customs Office had correctly identified the contents of the package as wooden puzzle, which may also be due to the detailed instruction sheet in German and English — a surprise and great service from down under! The instruction sheet details what can be done with the puzzle, but does not contain any hints at all, and no solution. What looks like a six piece burr or nine piece burr on closer inspection exhibits some other features, which are metal parts that can be seen through some of the seams. Locks and sequential discovery is included in this puzzle, as is a good sense of humor. After one of the first moves I tried, a piece slid out partially and a smiley face appeared. Should this be a dead end, or is it teasing me to follow this path to the solution? Time will tell, I am sure! The puzzle is nicely made and has a great size, too, which makes it stable and not too big for my shelf space after solving (The instructions explain that after solving it can be displayed for decorative purposes!). The next puzzle is much easier to understand, but also a famous one that received a price in this year's design competition at IPP39: Cast Rotor. This latest Cast puzzle has only two pieces, so how hard can it be? Well, a common misconception for a difficulty rating, and it took me already some time to find a first usable move and will surely take some time to solve. The other two are puzzle boxes from the inexpensive price range: Plum Blossom is a variation on the theme of classic Chinese puzzle box designs, and contains a drawer and two more compartments to be opened. This does not seem trivial, as it even comes with a tool (wooden stick). The last one has a funnly look like a trasure map: Caribbean Pirate Treasure Puzzle Box. It is rattling inside, and may that be the treasure to be found or part of the mechanism? As a puzzle box, it has quite an unusual look, that is for sure! Now I have some new puzzles that are waiting to be solved, as if the other recent ones weren't already enough of them, a lot of fun guaranteed! I am progressing slowly and steadily, latest solve being the Bracket Holes with a very interesting solution.
Added on 2019-10-24
Today the yearly visit to the Essen games fair "Spiel" was carried out and while a good deal of the day was dedicated to the ever growing selection of board and card games, there were also some puzzles, and the Constantin fair booth provided the main part of this. The first one is a new box, that looks somewhat familar: Six Keys Box, and comparing with puzzles we know, it should indeed go into the compendium and n-ary puzzle group. There is a subtle difference in the mechanism how this box and the Six Bottles puzzle work. This box has a more compact mechanism, not requiring one of those long sliders actings as synchronizing piece. The Five Symmetrical Shapes is a "make a symmetrical shape" puzzle, and while selecting one of the pieces for the first challenge, the other challenges are much more difficult. The Bracket Holes is an exchange puzzle from this year's IPP, and being such, I had already played with it, but not have not solved it yet. The task seems simple, but the additional holes in the bottom of the frame hint that there is more going on than just usual packing. The next four puzzles are trick locks: Trick Lock* looks and behaves a bit like classic German designs, but with something new. The Trick Lock Heart* has some nice decorations which are surely more than just decorative. The Trick Lock* could be used as an alarm system as well: When opening it, it produces as nice and bright ringing sound. The Trick Lock* is a variation on the Indian locks with many keys, but here some new key shapes have been introduced. This lock is quite heavy and sturdy and the pointy tip may allow to (ab-) use it as a weapon. From Hendrik's Puzzle-Shop, I got the BaiNiaoChaoFeng Megaminx, which is from the same theme and make like the cube with the similar name (which I had to copy&paste not to misspell it). It should be a fairly simple puzzle to solve (famous last words!), even though I don't believe the packaging that tells you that the puzzle is for ages 3+. The packaging also tells you that the faces can be rotated by 360°, which I don't consider a special feature for a twisty puzzle (even though there are very rare custom made puzzles without this property). The rest is written in Chinese, which I am unable to read and comprehend. The ClueBox was offered by their manufacturer on the fair, and it is the first time they use a box as a kind of ecape room. Like in an escape room, you have to find tools (e.g. keys) and clues, and follow the trace of clues to reach the final goal, to free Schroedinger's cat, which has been forgotten in that box after the creation of the famous experiment. Wait, wasn't that only a mental experiment? Maybe, and there is no real cat in this box, too. It is too small to be the home for a cat, even for a small one. However, it is a good theme for a great journey, which may or may not be considered a puzzle box! A great puzzle haul for a great day with lots of interesting games, people, and conversations!
Added on 2019-10-23
Today a parcel from Austria arrived with two real beauties inside. The Spheres was Stephan's entry in this year's IPP design competition and won him a prize. While I cannot tell much about the actual puzzle yet, which still needs to be solved, the craftsmanship is excellent. The puzzle came packed in a way to contain most of the pieces, but with no possibility to close the lid. Six pieces (of two mirror imaged shapes) and 3 balls need to be packed into the box so that the lid can be closed. We are leaving the usual area of rectangular piece packing puzzles here and are adding three spheres. The other puzzle is Dubstep, which was published on Puzzlewillbeplayed earlier this year. An 18 pieces burr in a frame, and with a very high level, which adds a new level section to the 18 pieces burrs group. At 82 moves for the first piece, this one will be quite difficult to solve, and take some time. After a few moves only, one of the pieces is sticking out of the frame only to be held by one layer of voxels, and my guess is that this may very well be a dead end.
Update on 2019-10-19
Another update already, but no new puzzles again! I have quite enough new puzzles to be very busy solving for the moment, and I have only solved about a handful of them. Today, there is an update about such a solve, about an interesting puzzle made from wood with a 3D printed piece inside. After Alfons had mentioned that, I was particularly interested to see how this looks like and how it works, so I went for solving the Lion King 2 puzzle. You can read my report in the Burr Zoo group page entry.
Added on 2019-10-17
Today some fascinating puzzles both from the IPP Design Competition (2010 and 2018) and the same Designer: Namick Salakhov. Globular Embrace 4 Rings is a puzzle consisting of four rings (or two pairs of identical rings), which can be assembled using a sequence of different moves, some of them obviously rotational and making use of the circular shape of the puzzle pieces. It is a nice puzzle and stable when assembled, and can easily be picked up without any piece shifting or falling off. This one was one of Namick's design before he started with the n-ary puzzles he is well known for. The next one is from the compendium and n-ary puzzle group, and a IDC entry of this year: Sluice and Ships 6:5/N12. It resembles a sluice with 12 ships in it and they are trying to move to the upper chamber to be able to leave the sluice via the upper opening. This one reminds me a bit of the Dispersed GC Lock from a few years ago, and indeed the sluice gates also have a spring mechanism that allows only certain ships to pass, and depending on the help (more technical: configuration) the other ships can provide. The puzzle comes with an additional block that can be put into the left end of the middle chamber, to change the size and behaviour of the puzzle, which is then called 3:5/N12. These are actually parameters describing this puzzle: 12 ships, the left gate is 6 ships (or 3 ships) wide, the right one 5 ships wide. For some more technical details and statistics, please look into the corresponding. compendium entry. It is a great puzzle and fun to play with and I like the mechanism working very well. If you are up for a greater challenge, then you can try the reverse challenge, to start with the board with ships outside the chamber and then getting to the bottom chamber as a goal. Then you have to decide at which point in time to move each ship from the top chamber to the middle (no need going back, unless you made a mistake), and to continue with the sequence. Unlike real sluices and ships, the cute ships in this puzzle will travel back and forth between the bottom and middle chamber a lot during the solution sequence. A very interesting puzzle!.
Added on 2019-10-16
This October has been very busy puzzle wise, an update nearly every day since last Wednesday, and there are more to come. I already have some special puzzles coming from the IPP Design Competition that deserve their own update, and this one is planned for tomorrow — who doesn't love a cliffhanger every now and then? Look forward to tomorrow's update! Today's parcel came from Pelikanpuzzles, with some beautiful wooden puzzles inside, from two famous designers. The Peamaru was part of the Design Competition this year, and won Volker Latussek a prize. It is a challenge simple to understand, just building a structure that will sit on the table without falling apart, and where the red dots touch in pairs. The pieces are quite big and very well made, which is good for the stability part of the solution. Only when you try to match the red dots, you will notice that all nicely more or less brick shaped solutions will not work and you will have to try something different. Ten minutes and an Aha! moment later, and there is a piece of art sitting on my table, and stable it is. A nice puzzle and a good difficulty level for the IPP DC. The other two are by Osanori Yamamoto. While Crystal Ring is one of his well known packing puzzles, like the Petit Pack from earlier this year. Just pack the three pieces into the frame so that both holes are covered. Easy? Well, that is to be seen! The Bisect Frame 2S is more a disassembly puzzle, and already the first moves show some unusual interactions between the frame pieces, but are the correct moves among them? With the precise fit of this puzzle, even these four pieces only may be able to conceal a required move.
Added on 2019-10-15
After some boxes coming from DCD (and not yet solved), more boxes appeared from the US. They were accompanied by one of the fascinating TICs, and I was surprised size-wise in two ways. The TIC was larger than expected, and the boxes smaller than expected, they are cute! The puzzles are: BioTIC (in pieces at the moment, will need to be assembled to be solved, and that is a real challenge at 28 moves with 9 of them rotations), and the two boxes: Small Box 1 - Window Box and Small Box 2 - Aha Box. All nicely made and the boxes came in nice little pouches.
Update: The BioTIC is now solved, which took a little more than an hour. A nice puzzle with some easy pieces and some very difficult pieces requiring some rotations. It can be solved by analysis and experimenting with the pieces and is a fun challenge to solve.
Added on 2019-10-14
The next update is coming already, with an a nice acrylic/wooden addition to the compendium and n-ary puzzle group: After the Ternary/Quinary Cube, the Septenary Cube. This one contains 4 acrylic boards in a box, and an additional block with a pin running through the mazes. It seems that when all boards are at the end positions, the pin can be extracted and then the boards be taken out. A clever solution!
Added on 2019-10-13
This weekend was a weekend of some long and very exciting days, when I went to the Netherlands to participate at the Dutch Cube Day (the biggest European Puzzle Party) and some private puzzle parties. A lot of meeting old and new friends, including some from Canada and the US, a lot of puzzles to play with and a lot of nice chat. I even witnessed some brass monkeys assembling their new "medium sized" puzzle prototypes, involving many rubber bands, helping hands, and even a hammer. Of course, I could also bring some puzzles home for my collection, and some adding entries to some of my group pages: 18 pieces burrs group and Burr Zoo group page. Of course the latter one needs to be updated when I have solved the respective puzzles and can provide a tour of the solution and some inside pictures of the zoo related contents. There may even be a third group page to be updated, but that has yet to be determined. The new puzzles are:
15 Interlocking Quads, the giveaway and joining in with the craze of unusual jigswaw puzzles (Yes, there are now some jigsaw puzzles on this page, but only very special ones! And this one has only 15 pieces and multiple challenges, so it should be OK). The first visit was to Alfon's tables to collect some pre orders and some others that are particularly interesting: Friend with a shield, Polidoor, Spidernest, Waltzing Whales, Lion King 2, Six Pack 2, Try Me, Try Me 2, The Box. Some of those are even calling out to solve them, so I had get them to try them. While all these are made from beautiful woods and now have their names engraved with a laser, there is one exception (Try to find out, it is documented on this web presence somewhere!) of a 3D printed piece, printed by Alfon's new 3D printer. He also had some purely 3D printed puzzles, like the Kruispunt. Puzzles of such 8 parallel boards are usually quite difficult even at low level, and look at what level this one has! Thanks for offering me these nice puzzles, they look beautiful!
The next two are from Jean-Claude Constantin's latest works and Wil had some of them, which are unmistakenly the new style, but unfortunately, I had to guess some names. The Rainbow Colour Box* is a small puzzle box, and then the Rainbow Colour Lock* is a hefty wooden lock that is no good for your credit cards and alike — very strong magnets! One of the magnets escaped when I dropped it, and I had to collect it from some metal part of my sofa at the other end of the room! Then there are some Siebenstein Puzzles Hendrik had for offer, and two of them are more puzzle boxes, in the series I already have: Puzzle-Box 05 and Puzzle-Box 06. When seeing the Tresor on a picture, I was immediately intrigued after having solved the traditional design "Combination Lock" a lot earlier this year. There seem to be some similarities, but also notable differences. The second puzzle looks a bit like a Panex or The Bell puzzle, but there is no completely empty column at the start: Samurai, and possibly multiple solutions. Makoto had some Benno's Magic boxes for offer, which I hesitated to order earlier on and now got a second chance: Companion Box, Dice Box, and Answer Box. In such a big haul with many burrs and puzzle boxes, I also managed to sneak in a twisty puzzle (for the Cube Day Theme) at last: 2x2x3 Minions, one of the easy puzzles made for a promotional campaign. A great weekend and a great puzzle haul!
Added on 2019-10-10
Rex Roxano Peres is well known for his pocket sized sequential discovery puzzles with a trapped coin to be released as a goal. The latest one is Visayas. This one is an exception in the series, as there is no coin inside to be freed. Instead, the goal is to "Unlock the star", and for this some parts of the puzzle need to be manipulated, but leaving the screws and nuts alone. There is a tool to be found that will serve to unlock one of the locking mechanisms, and this step is a particularly nice step and demonstrates how well designed the pieces are. Several locks are to be opened before unlocking the star, and the first one is the most complicated mechanim of them all. The puzzle is very well made as usual, and I like the screws, which make it possible to open the inside of the puzzle after solving, to see if the deductions about the mechanisms are correct. For these deductions, some parts of the mechanisms can be found by careful observation, so no blind guessing is required, and also no banging. A nice little puzzle and a great extension of the series, and not an easy one!
Added on 2019-10-09
What if there was a Dogic like puzzle, but in octahedral shape, not in icosahedral shape? Then this would look like the Hexic. The name of this puzzle is also supporting this hypothesis: While the Dogic has twelve tips, this puzzle has six of them — the rest of the argument is related to greek number words. Custom built as a 3D print with a regular cube in the center, and adding many magnets, this puzzle looks, feels, smells(!), and also moves very nice. The magnets ensure that not only the tips, but also the 2x2x2 corners click into place and everything is perfectly aligned. Like the Dogic, it is an easy puzzle, but does not pop like the Dogic. In fact, the pieces are held in place firmly, which I noticed when playing with it. During scrambling and solving (as a 2x2x2 with additional tip triangles), everything worked as expected, only that I accidentially tried some Diamond Skewb moves, which do not work, and are probably due to a lot of Skewbing with the Twins Cube recently. The Hexic is a great puzzle and fun to play with, and the latest addition to the twisty octahedra group!
Added on 2019-10-02
From Hong Kong, from Nowstore, one of the latest twisty puzzles arrived: Twins Cube. It looks like a Skewby Copter Plus and is indeed very similar, only that it has the extra cuts from the Curvy Copter Extreme. If they had been released in a different order, I may have skipped these two puzzles and directly bought the Twins Cube. To summarize what this twisty puzzle features and what it makes it a great puzzle: It works like a Skweb, then it works as a Curvy Copter, and even as a Curvy Copter Plus with the separated centers, and then it has the split edge pieces allowing extra moves including a simple sequence to swap two edges. This will confuse anyone solving this as a Curvy Copter (plus) only! Of course the special moves based on half Skewb turns and then edge turns, as demonstrated by Kevin in the video on his Puzzlemad blog, are also possible. This puzzle has a lot of moving pieces and moves surprisingly well, and offers a lot of possibilities. The only thing that it does not have even though it looks like it: It is not a 2x2x2 cube, and these 2x2x2 cube like cuts are only to separate the edges via Skewb turns. So far, I have scrambled and solved it as a Curvy Copter, then as a Skewb, and the next challenge is to go for something more complicated, probably leading to a crazy shape shifting puzzle over the time!
Update on 2019-09-18
Recently, I have been implementing some technical changes to the Compendium of Chinese-Rings-Like Puzzles. They can all be found on the big and ever growing Puzzle list page. The first change is a graphical overview with just the pictures on one page in compact form to quickly find a puzzle accessible via a link on top of the page. The second change is a bigger change: The puzzle list can now be ordered by various fields by clicking one of the links above the table on the page.
Added on 2019-09-18
Today I could pick up a package containing my "win" from a recent auction. The biggest puzzle inside is a beautiful wooden puzzle by Jerry I had been looking for for years, and never won in an auction: The Fortress This one fits nicely into my Quadlock collection, but is more massive, and also seems to have a more complicated mechanism than the Quadlocks, even though lock picking seems to be required. Looking at it, the name does not seem too far-fetched. I will add some solution parameters when I have managed to solve this one. The second one is a variant of the standard puzzle of the compendium and n-ary puzzle group: Catacombs. It is the first one I have with an even number of rings, and quite a high number. I should really have calculated the solution length before disassembling it, but luckily the solution sequence is simple and well known. This version is a nicely made heavy duty version, which may make it unsuitable for speedsolving in one of these competitions I have recently seen on the internet. It very stable and does not bend requiring more careful alignment than for a cheaper version. The next one looks like it is also one for the compendium: Devil's Halo. However, that is not the case, as it was designed by James not to be a binary puzzle, but to have an other solution (more details to be found in his Puzzle Museum). It is quite an old puzzle from 1974 and the arrangement of the loops makes it quite confusing compared to the binary standard variant.
Added on 2019-09-17
Today a parcel with a beautiful wooden house in it arrived. It is a small house (but quite big for a puzzle) for a small fairy, the Puzzleduck Pastures. It comes with a cute story narrating that Lil' Ms Fairy Pants has moved to a new house with many mechanical creations inside, but has managed to lock herself out. Not visible on the picture, but I have already managed to find the fairy and she is indeed locked out of her house (or rather to the outside of her house!). There are many moving parts that can be found on this box, but so far I have only found one interaction between two pieces to unlock one mechanism, far from unlocking the main door. The whole concept of the fairy door started some time ago when Mike Toulouzas made a fairy door and sent it to the IPP34 design competition, where I remember solving it with a lot of fun. Then, later on Shane Hales built the Goblin's Box in this theme. Now this new puzzle by Kel followed, and it seems the common aspect of these is to open the door for a fairy (or goblin). I am looking forward to see what awaits me when I open the Puzzleduck Pastures.
As a side note, I have quietly updated my compendium with an additional feature for easier navigation. You can find it on the upper part of the compendium puzzle list page.
Added on 2019-09-12
Earlier this year, Eric Fuller started a poll on facebook whether his some of ideas for puzzle box mechanisms should go into several smaller boxes, or one bigger box with all the mechanisms included. Most of the puzzlers including myself went for the one more complicated box, and meanwhile this box was built, released, and arrived today: Escalating Puzzle Box. It has beautiful looks, and indeed it is not a trivial box. Several mechanisms are to be opened, and it helps if you know others of Eric's works. While the first step is quite obvious, it is followed by some more difficult steps quickly. The next mechanism has some visible parts and after some analysis it becomes apparent how it may work, but there is more to it. It seems that there are some additional pieces built into this one that can be heard when shaking the box and moving the corresponding panel. However, the precise layout and operation of this mechanism still eludes me, even after I have managed to solve the then following last mechanism (some more rattling pieces, but also visible hints if you are really observant!), and have opened the box a couple of times now. There is something to that second mechanism still to discover! It is great that Eric has indeed combined these several mechanisms into one box, leading to a very interesting puzzle, with a lot of fun to solve. Aside from that mechanism mentioned, there are even some visible hints for the others, making the solving process even more enjoyable. As usual, operation and craftsmanship of this box is top notch, and at the moment there are still some available on the Cubicdissection website for order.
Added on 2019-09-10
A parcel from Russia, from Grigorusha's etsy store, brought some pentagonal prisms. All of these look like one side of the corresponding dodecahedral puzzles and that is where they got their names from: Slim Megaminx, Slim Gigaminx, and Slim Teraminx. All three are SLS 3D printed and move nicely and are very stable, well suited for playing with them and solving them. While I like to solve a Megaminx from time to time, these three will take considerably less time than the corresponding dodecahedrons I have, and they all come in a cute size, good for the display case as well. Unlike in the pictures, now they look all colourful and scrambled and are waiting to be solved.
Added on 2019-09-02
Today's puzzle addition is part of the ever growing compendium and n-ary puzzle group. Looking back to the beginning of the compendium, I was not sure if three digit identifiers would ever be needed, and this is now entry 207 already! This new puzzle is Black Bow-Tie and a brand new design by Aleksandr Leontev, who is well known for some other puzzles in the compendium. However, this one raised the bar with the number of moves even further, to a whopping 13122 moves, with only 4 moving pieces. Only 4 moving pieces and a maze, that sounds a bit like a Kugellager (which had one additional piece to be precise), and indeed this one is like a 9-ary Kugellager. Just in this case, the maze is on the inside of the sleeve, so you cannot easily see what to do next, but have to work out the sequence. With such a long sequence, there is a lot of opportunity to learn the sequence and at some point the moves can go quite fast. Luckily, I did some training on the original Kugellager and the Ternary/Quinary Cube in the past few days! The Black Bow-Tie is very well made from 3D printed pieces and some post processing, and there is no doubt where the name comes from. Actually, having those two black pieces is really helpful when solving the puzzle, and it has an excellent size to operate. Some more details of this puzzle are in the new compendium entry.
Added on 2019-08-30
Today some of the latest puzzles offered by the New Pelikan Workshop (Pelikanpuzzles.eu) arrived, all made in the usual nice craftsmanship and woods. The package did not contain the "Dunant", but only because I already received this one earlier, otherwise it would have been part of my order without question. The first two puzzles arriving look similar to some I already have by the same designer: Petit Pack looks like the Pack 012 from last year's Design Competition, but this one seems to be a bit more difficult. The Rattle Twist III has a name describing obvious features of the puzzle. Once you move the pieces out of their initial position, they can start twisting inside the frame, and there is some rattling going on, but only on a very limited level due to the excellent tolerances of this build. The last one is Party and a three piece burr sitting in the middle of a half open frame, by a different but well known designer. Also this one has nice tolerances and initially one of the three sticks can move, the others are securely held in place at the beginning, giving the puzzle a nice stable feel. I guess the name will become more apparent when solving this one, maybe some party dance for burr pieces?
Update on 2019-08-25
As mentioned below, I have been working on a puzzle leading to an update, and here is the updated compendium entry. This is about the last of the Corn on the Cob disentanglement puzzle series, and while others of this series took me much longer to analyze and solve, this one is the only one I have not solved completely. The structure of the solution is simple, so that is not the problem but the number of rings is, as it is similar to a Chinese Rings puzzle with 16 rings, and going to the Compendium and looking up the entry for the Chinese Rings puzzle, this will give you a formula for an estimate of the number of moves for this puzzle. This estimate is 43690, and depending on how you count the moves in the Corn on the Cob VI, the number of moves is quite close.
Added on 2019-08-22
Today I went shopping to the local customs office, and came back with three packages, or at least that is how it felt. Each of them is relating to a special group: The first one is relating to the twisty octahedra group, which I initially created because those octahedra were so rare once, and I am impressed how many more there are. The latest one arriving is a custom built one: Leaf Octahedron. After ordering it from their etsy store, ThePuzzleArtists made a great job creating this puzzle, which seems to be based on a mass produced core (4-Leaf-Clover Cube), and it is actually a hybrid of two puzzles: A 2x2x2, and (who would have guessed after some recent web site additions!) a Curvy Copter/4-Leaf-Clover cube, combining face turning and edge turning in a nice way. While FDM printing is not the top notch method for twisty puzzles, this one has an excellent quality, which may also be due to some surface handling and a lot of magnets stabilizing the 2x2x2 moves and leading to a nice clicking movement. While the 8 different colours on the octahedral faces makes it a trivial 2x2x2 to solve (i.e. always solved), the edge turning moves add some challenge. It turns out that not only jumbling moves are possible, but also some new moves of this kind, where even petals and centers interchange places, almost like in a Curvy Copter Plus.
The next puzzle is one of a very big and prominent special group on this page: compendium and n-ary puzzle group. The Ternary / Quinary Cube is a design by Aleksandr Leontev, and while we were discussing such puzzles earlier, he asked who might be able to actually build a series of one of his puzzles. It turned out Johan did! The puzzle comes in a standard configuration of all ternary, and can be reconfigured to use quinary mazes (and also mixed base setups as Jack found out, details in the compendium entry). The look and feel of the puzzle is overall very nice, but Johan gives two warnings, and both of them seem to be appropriate: Never disassemble completely, and some pins are very close to the edge of the blocks, so one has to be careful. A very interesting puzzle and made from nice and unusual woods.
The third group does not have a dedicated page here, but it is more a puzzle for the reader to find out all members: The IPP39 Design Competition entries. After IPP39 was over, Brian offered the IPP39 IDC entries he had built, and there is even one top 10 vote getter amonst them: Hat Trick makes you wonder how these pieces should all fit into this box, with the strange T-shaped slot. The pieces of Rules of Attraction come in a nice pouch, and this is for a good reason! They are made of "magnetic wood" and as soon as they land on the table, they will come alive and will move around like by magic. This makes the task of building a stable cube not exactly easier. The Cover Up explains the objective in its name: Just cover that one light piece with the others. Looking at Somaa, not only the name seems to be slightly off, but also the dimensions. Knowing Brian's skills, it is quite obvious that this is no mistake, but part of the design and a feature making it more difficult to form the cube (now cuboid!). I am sure that all these puzzles will keep me busy for a good while. Actually, I have another update on an existing post, but this post today is long enough already. Let's get back to puzzling!
Added on 2019-08-20
There are many new twisty puzzles appearing and I got two of them from Hong Kong: The Mini 6x6x6 is really mini size compared to the original Verdes cube. The Curvy Copter Extreme is a new variation on the theme involving the Skewby Copter Plus. The Curvy Copter Extreme is a hybrid of a Skewb and a second puzzle. Looking closer, one will notice the missing corners, and is it actually a hybrid of a Skewb and a 4-Leaf-Clover Cube. There are some more cuts making it look like a 2x2x2, but actually these work completely differently. If the edges are rotated to align these cuts with one of the Skewb cuts, then this edge can be split into two halves, and with this, it is quickly possible to interchange two edges, or do some other fancy moves. The special Skewb-Curvy-Cupter shapechanging moves are also possible for this one.
Added on 2019-08-17
This morning a parcel with a cute puzzle box in it arrived, and very quickly this time. It contained Jack in the Box by Jesse Born. This is the second box I have in my collection with this name, and while the other one inherited the name from the designer, this time a deck with playing cards (containing some jacks) is in this box leading to the name. Having the right size to hold this card deck, this box is beautifully made, especially the Yosegi inlays including the spades symbol. This one is easier to open than the other boxes I have from Jesse, and it is a fun solve! A great little puzzle box!
Added on 2019-08-15
Today a parcel with some of Eric Fuller's latest works arrived and contained two beautifully made puzzles: Harun Packing Puzzle is a packing puzzle by Volker Latussek, and knowing some of his designs I was interested in it, even though I am not an expert in packing puzzles. There are two simple piece shapes, and six pieces of each, and from the calculation of the volume, they could fit in there, leaving some extra space. I made a first deduction about this extra space and how it may be distributed, but so far the puzzle has stopped my attempts to find one of the two solutions. It is fascinating how difficult a puzzle with such simple pieces can be! The second puzzle is the Cam Box Improved. As written in the description, there are some sliding panels ready to move once you start playing with the box, but then these obvious moves don't lead to an open box. Having solved this box, I like it a lot and I am looking forward to other box designs to be released by Eric in the future.
Added on 2019-08-13
After some detour in Germany, today a package arrived from Wood Wonders with some of the latest TICs and a puzzle with an interesting frame shape. The one with the interesting frame shape is Bouquet, and not only the frame looks interesting, but also the burr pieces. These are unlike the usual sticks, but have an offset in the middle, and this all leads to a nice level of 23 moves. The others are two TICs by Andrew Crowell: For the X TIC, the puzzle came nearly assembled with one piece outside the puzzle. The pieces have quite distinguished shapes making it easy to determine which goes where. While trying the complete assembly, I did not find the original solution with the 3 rotations, but an alternate solution: The last piece goes into the puzzle in a diagonal move (straight move along a around 30 degree angle), then performs one rotation, and everything else comes together without rotations. This is not uncommon for rotational interlocking puzzles, as we are missing the means of an exhaustive search for solutions of those, like there is for the non-rotating interlocking puzzles. The MysTIC is still unsolved and what separates me from the solved state is a clearly illegal rotation which is just not possible, and may break the puzzle. So this one may take some more time to solve. All three puzzles are made from beautiful woods and have excellent fit.
Added on 2019-08-10
Today an even smaller parcel arrived from Sweden, just big enough to contain a padlock, and indeed that was inside: the brand new Titan's Treasure Puzzle Lock. It is a trick lock, but the goal is to get the Titan's treasure out (and locked up completely again afterwards), and there are some tools involved, so it is clearly in the sequential discovery category as well! The first tool to use is the small part of the broken key, and the bigger part of the key is glued to the instructions and just decoration, not to be used for solving. Of course the treasure is not big, as it has to fit into this lock, and also the tools are small, but very well made and they work nicely as they should. When solving this lock, I did not only discover additional tools, but also a trap that was mentioned in the advertising video. It was an additional challenge to get out of this trap again (with the provided tools) and I believe no solve is complete without figuring out how to escape this trap! Having solved this lock (both the opening and closing part), I am amzaed about how many steps this little lock contains, and that it can be solved by careful deduction — and some dexterity with the small tools. It is an awesome lock and in case you would like to accept this challenge too, you may want to head over to the designer's Etsy shop. I am curious what we will see from this designer in the future.
Additional update: After taking months for the previous one, I completed the solution of the Corn on the Cob V within a day, and it seems much easier to me, and a great puzzle. Some details of the solution are now found in the new compendium entry.
Added on 2019-08-10
Today a small parcel arrived with some of Aaron's latest creations. They are all disentanglement puzzles and all of them look very interesting, and will probably not be easy. Several of them feature the little clasps that can be unlocked, but while for earlier puzzles they were used as a quick reset mechanism in case something had gone terribly wrong during the solving attempt, now they are mainly used to set up different challenges. The Mammoth is the first one, and has such clasps for choosing between different challenges. The rope is quite long, and since the length of the rope is usually measured to fit the solution requirements, this tells me that Mammoth is a difficult puzzle. The next two only differ in the position of one of the additional connector and marble: Scissors I has this attached to the bottom ring, while Scissors II to the top ring. Grenade I is another mulitple challenge puzzle and for the first challenge, you have to remove the rope and marble completely, making it look like a more friendly puzzle for the beginning. While the other challenges look more difficult, it seems that Grenade II looks like an additional, more complicated challenge of the previous puzzle. In this case, the rope has been connected to form a double loop, which is not possible by just using the single rope from the first puzzle. Also, you may notice that the wooden ball is now sitting on the main frame, blocking the metal loop's way out. These great puzzles are currently available at Puzzle Paradise, together with some more, and the Chinese Soft Rings mentioned below.
Additional update: Just today I managed to solve Aaron's Corn on the Cob IV puzzle completely, after struggling for many months. With the solution determined, it seems quite easy actually, but that is the case for many of those. Some details of the solution are now found in the new compendium entry.
Added on 2019-08-04
Why an update on Sunday evening, and why new puzzles arriving (without me attending a puzzle event)? There is a big puzzle event currently in an other continent, and today the winners of the IPP39 Nob Yoshigahara Design Competition were presented. For one puzzle it was no big question to me that it would receive a prize, and indeed the Slammed Car by Juno Yananose has won a big prize. Now is the third time I mention this puzzle on this page, and at the time of writing this, there are still 12 available for offer. HoKey CoKey Lock and Mazeburr L won Jury prizes, and well deserved for both in my opinion. The last one I have of the prize puzzles in my collection is the recently received Cast Slider, getting into the top 10 vote region. As a side note, there are only 7 top 10 vote getters mentioned on the page, meaning that 3 of them received higher prizes as well. Now for the new puzzles I have mentioned to be added today:
Chinese Soft Ring is a puzzle from simple components, but very well designed: 7 rope loops, and two steel rings with an opening to narrow for the rope. I received fully functional prototype version early this year, and can only reveal it now because it took place in both IPP Exchange and Design Competition. It is fascinating how complicated such a simple looking puzzle can be, and how entertaining. Once you have worked out the basic structure — equivalent to the classic binary Chinese Rings — you only need to stay focused to solve this puzzle. In Competition/Exchange, it was set up as a simpler version with only 3 rope loops, and additional challenges were added for additional puzzling and entertainment. Some more details can be read in the entry in the compendium and n-ary puzzle group. The other Design Competition entry I received for an early look was the Dunant. From the initial setup, the theme is obvious, with the two pieces showing a red cross (Look up the name of the founder of the Red Cross to see the link!). However, these pieces are not packed into the box completely, and the goal is to pack all 5 pieces into the box. How this works is not obvious and can be worked out by careful analysis and experiment with the puzzle. Needless to say that just packing the pieces is not enough, and some special moves including rotations are required for this very entertaining puzzle. To my knowledge this puzzle will be available in the near future, in a very high quality build. The last of the three is not part of the Design Competition, but of the IPP Edward Hordern Puzzle Exchange: Rainbow Colour Tree. This is Wil's Exchange puzzle and nicely made and fun to play with. This is a brand new variation on the "Nur 8" puzzle, and here there are two rows of colour coded fields, and a set of pegs with the same colours. Goal is to move pegs from the matching colour alignment in the inner ring to the outer ring with matching colour alignment, and back. If you feel brave, you can also try more challenges, like using the outer ring's colour scheme in the inner one and vice versa. What makes this a puzzle is that there is one obvious gap in the frame allowing the transition between inner and outer circle, and then on the middle acrylic layer, there is a maze, which can be rotated around the central pin, and which limits the transitions between different positions. A fascinating sliding piece puzzle!
Added on 2019-07-29
Today two parcels from different parts of the world (but both east of Germany) arrived with some brand new puzzles. The first one is the latest Hanyama Cast puzzle: Cast Slider. While like the last one (and many before) designed by Finnish designer Vesa Timonen, this one is not incredibly hard like the previous two Cast puzzles, but a nice little challenge. Having 3 pieces and a 3 star difficulty rating, this rating seems to match this time. All this seems to be a good recipe to enter it into the IPP39 Design Competition, which has been visible since last week. The next one is an addition of the formerly very rare group of octahedra, and therefore added to the twisty octahedra group page: Edge Gear Octahedron is based on a Skewb mechanism, or should I rather call this layout the "pocket FTO", as it is basically a FTO with less layers?. The additional trick comes with the gear pieces placed on 6 of the edges of the puzzle. Following my initial analysis, these can be rotated whenever they form a closed loop of 6 gears —good that it is an even number of gears, so it works! Each gear turns into 4 different orientations allowing subsequent Skewb moves, 2 of them leading to some shape changing of the puzzle, so it is the first diamond skweb to shapeshift in some way! Additionally to the 6 initial gears, there are more gear pieces in the white and yellow face, offering further challenge. A fascinating puzzle and very well made!
Added on 2019-07-25
In the Knobelbox shop, I spotted some new Constantin puzzles and after ordering they arrived quickly. The first one is one of the boxes in a cooperation with puzzle manufacturers from India, and looks like an Indian puzzle box: Sliding Box. The second one is a variation on a sliding piece puzzle I already have (called "Schieblehre") and has a smaller version of this puzzle in the lid. This is a sliding piece puzzle requiring some analysis to get the balls through the maze of varying cutouts in the pieces and with a great interaction between the slinding pieces, balls, and maze below. This is a main component of the Two in One Box. Instead of one in the original sliding piece puzzle, there are now two balls in the sliding piece puzzle, and the box is two puzzles in one: After releasing the balls, you need to find a way to open the lid, and this has a sequential discovery component to it. Two reasons why this could be called Two in One. This box is not too difficult and not too easy to solve (quite right for these current record heat temperatures!), features a nice quick reset feature, and is my favourite of this lot. The next one is a sliding piece lock: Albert Einsteins Gedankenschloss. Actually, this uses the same piece layout like an old lock by Constantin, so it is another of his designs. The last one was a goodie added by the shop and is a wooden twisty puzzle by a well known designer: Tetraturn. It has two challenges and a nice clicking mechanism keeping the pieces aligned.
Added on 2019-07-06
Recently, a nice little puzzle box kit showed up and is for sale in an etsy shop. This weekend, I found some time to assemble it and built the Mini Puzzle Box - Ibhokisi. It only took me some wood glue and less than an hour to build the box following the detailed instructions. The box comes with some nice ornaments engraved, so there is no need to apply decoration or paint afterwards. The box features a hidden maze and some extra steps and is nice to play with, and it comes at an excellent price.
Added on 2019-06-28
Meanwhile, I have solved the Slammed Car and it is a great puzzle! While the initial progress was quick, I struggled with the last steps for some time (and it seems I was not the only one!) and eventually asked if I was on the right track, and I was! With some careful observations, I was able to solve the puzzle and get out the loaf of bread. One typical issue with sequential discovery puzzles is unintended shortcuts or second solutions, but I have found none here, everything works as designed. At the moment, there are still some available, so if you are looking for a new car (puzzle), this could be it!
Now for today's update some nice twisties arrived from Nowstore this morning, and one of them is a puzzle that was waiting for mass production for a long time: Rua. This is probably the most difficult of the lot, and it seems to be related to the FTO. The other two look quite easy, and could be nice and easy puzzles even solvable at the very high temperatures we currently have: The Seed and Evil Seed
Added on 2019-06-21
Last week, some new puzzles were offered in the Pluredro web shop, and today I have already picked them up at the local customs office. The first one is the third installment in a very interesting series of 6 piece board burrs, which have additional mazes and dovels. The Grooved 6 Board Burr #3 has a very high level considering it is only 6 board shaped pieces. After the first one in the series with level 22, the second one with level 25 added half step moves to be used in the solution, and this third one has now level 34, and 9 more moves for the second and third piese each, which is quite an achievement. This nicely made burr would have been enough reason for me to place an order, but then there is an even better puzzle in the parcel. After the Australian car industry went down a couple of years ago, we now see a new car designed and built in Australia, and so I got myself a new "hot hatchback": Slammed Car. This car is made from wood, and as usual, there are also some magnets involved. The puzzle could be classified as a puzzle box, with the goal to find the cavity with a small loaf of bread in it! A better classification would be as sequential discovery, as there are many tools to be discovered that have to be used in certain places. I have not yet progressed through the solution a lot, yet I have already found a tool, which literally looks like a tool involved in car repairs, and also a place where it can cause some fun effect. So far, it is a great puzzle and a lot of fun! Both puzzles are made in excellent quality and are still available via the Pluredro web shop at the moment.
Added on 2019-06-20
A second package arrived from one of these two big auctions, quite heavy and with some heavy metal puzzles in it. Those were two of the lots advertised with the help of a Standardised Puzzle Hamster and contained two Indian trick locks with their usual rustic look. The first one comes with one key and three keyholes: Trick Lock Indian Three Keyholes. It is a nice and easy trick lock and works very well. Obviously, the first step is not to put the key into the visible keyhole and turn, as this will not open the lock, and not even progress in the solution! The second lock is related in a way, as it has three keys (as opposed to three key holes), but no visible keyhole: Trick Lock Indian Three Keys. This is one of those "temple lock" style locks, heavy and sturdy in making and with huge keys. It requires several steps to open, and for those you have to determine which of the ornaments are actually part of the mechanism and which are red herrings. Two nice locks to add to my trick lock collection!
Added on 2019-06-14
Recently, two big puzzle auctions were held and my win from the first one arrived today. It is a beautiful, vintage wooden puzzle: Cage #1-216-14 Kodo, designed and built by D. Closterman in 2000, a designer I have never heard of before. The puzzle is beautifully made from wood and despite its age, all the pieces move smoothly and are neither too tight nor too loose. By classification, this is a serially interlocking puzzle, where 13 pieces are built into an 6x6x6 frame, and it takes 11 moves to get the first piece out. What is interesting is that during this sequence, each piece is moved only once and you can see how it unlocks the next piece (once you have determined that one), and each piece can be pushed from one of the six sides of the puzzle, no pulling required. After some moves, this big puzzle has a wild look with all kinds of pieces sticking out in the various directions. The name is taken from the inscription, and it seems to be a technical name hinting for one particular design in a whole series of designs, and the —14 may relate to the number of pieces. A beautiful and big puzzle, and maybe a bit of puzzle history, and definitely fun to play with.
Added on 2019-06-13
Earlier this year, a puzzle was announced and sold which quickly sold out and was available nowhere for some time. Now it is back in stock, in this case from HK Nowstore: the Skewby Copter Plus. As the name suggests, this is a hybrid between a Skewb and a Curvy Copter Plus. This is quite fitting for my current twisty solving activities, because starting last year, I took a closer look at the Helicopter/Curvy Copter family and learned how to solve them. They are all fascinating puzzles, and not too hard until jumbling comes into play leading to some massive shape shifting, and (for the people interested in solving details) also kicking pieces out of their orbits and into different orbits (compared to the non-jumbling version/solve). Jumbling was first discovered in the Helicopter Cube, and with the Curvy Copter, one could see how the cuts moved from puzzle to puzzle, and some parts being unbandaged. The Curvy Copter is the easiest one, and there is also its little sibling, the Curvy Chop. Then the next iteration is the Curvy Copter III, which moves the cuts over the center, adding some additional center pieces and petals. Then there is another extension, in form of an unbandaging leading to the Curvy Copter Plus, having extra center pieces, and weird things can happen, which made this puzzle the hardest of them all to solve. Actually, I am not completely done with solving this one, and have not started with an hybrid reaching into a separate family: The Flower Copter, a hybrid between Curvy Copter and Dino Cube (like), which I have first seen at IPP37. Now the latest one, the Skewby Copter is another hybrid, reaching out into the Skewb family. Those have been the ones I recently had a look into — solving wise — and I have mastered the two Master Skewbs (sic!) and the Dino-F-Skewb. The Elite Skewb is the current project and nowhere near solved or even reduced to a Master Skweb. The interesting fact about the Master Skewbs is that one is a master version of the Skewb, the other one a master version of the Dino-F-Skewb, which can be experienced in the solving attempts for the two puzzles. But enough about these others, the new Skeby Copter seems to have a lot more pieces than all the others, but it is a very stable mechanism overall and fun to play with. I have also tried to reproduce one of those particular Curvy Copter Plus configurations the regular Curvy Copter cannot do, and this nearly ended in a big desaster. This is the part of the Curvy Copter Plus I still have difficulties with when solving. The Skewby Copter Plus is a great puzzle and I am happy I found it.
Added on 2019-06-04
Today two recent orders arrived at the same time. While I still have not solved the previous one (the Hourglass), the latest Cast puzzle arrived: Cast UFO, which finally seems to be available in Europe (via Knobelbox in this case). Built in the usual very high quality, it seems quite obvious how to arrange the four pieces inside to slide the two outer pieces apart — just that it does not seem to be that easy after all! Looks like I should devote some time to catch up on solving some Cast puzzles. The other package was from Nowstore, with some of the latest twisties inside: The Rediminx should be a rather easy dodecahedron, which is a corner turning puzzle, and therefore a member of the Dino Cube/Redi Cube family, which contains many puzzles. The last one is bigger than I expexted it to be, but since when are Panda Bears small? Panda 2x2x2 Cube is a simple puzzle, and cute looking. In my collection, it is bigger than the ice bear and smaller than the Koala (technically not a bear), so the puzzles may be a bit off compared to the real scales and size ratios.
Added on 2019-05-28
Today two of the latest and greatest puzzles by Eric Fuller arrived already: Both of them boxes of about the same size and both look beautifully and very well made. Topless Box was Eric's contribution to the famous Apothecary Chest and it is a re-release of this rare puzzle. It has two lids that are not too difficult to find and to open. However, that does not seem to provide any access to the interior. Having managed to solve the box, I can say that I like the solution and the box will also give you hints how to open it, on careful examination. It contains some magnets and some of this fascinating "magnetic wood". No blind guessing required, and a clever design! Where the name of Multiball comes from should be obvious from the picture. It looks like a securely locked block of wood, but has a little acrylic window to look into some part of the box, and that part contains 4 steel ball bearings. When playing with the box, some magic happens in plain sight, and reproducible. I am sure this will be part of the solution, but still needs to be investigated further. This one contains magnets as well, and also gravity pins and sliding panels. Even though I have seen all that in action already, I am still nowhere nearer to opening this box.
Added on 2019-05-25
After the last update showed a new puzzle to the twisty octahedra group page, there is another addition to this group today already: Mini Octahedral Kilominx. This puzzle arrived from one of the specialists in custom octahedral twisty puzzles: Raphaël Mouflin. The puzzle is of great quality and fun to play with. While I am able to solve the standard Kilominx/Megaminx series, I am not sure how easy solving this one will be, because of the unusual piece geometry. When turning the pieces, it quickly becomes apparent why they have these strange shapes with the gaps in between, to allow movement without bandaging. An excellent addition to my Octahedra group!
Added on 2019-05-14
Today a parcel from Russia again, but not with many thousands of moves in it, but with some nice twisties, both falling into categories I like. The first is from the cuboids category: Slim 1x7x7. This is a higher order floppy cube, but not much bigger than an originial Floppy Cube. It has a handy size and it is very nice to play with, even though it may not be suitable for speedcubing, but it will be too simple for speedcubers to solve anyway! The second one is from a group that has even its own page on my web site: twisty octahedra group page. It is the Jewel Octahedron and based on the Alexander's Star. It has a different colour scheme than the original puzzle, with each triangle having the same colour, not each pentagonal (here square) side. Actually this is how re-arranged my painted Alexander's Star, but that does not seem to be possible completely, so there are some mismatches in the colour scheme on the back side. Two nice and both pocket-sized twisties and fun to play with!
Added on 2019-05-10
Today a small but thick envelope arrived, and it a cute little puzzle: Apolaki, the latest creation by Rex. It may be small enough to fit into an envelope, but actually it is the tallest of the series, taller than its 5 friends, a lot of space for additional mechanisms and traps. After carefully removing the wrapping, I noticed that I noticed nothing for any obvious first step, like a piece sliding out a bit, or dropping out after tilting, like it happened with some of the others. In fact, I found nothing helping me for my first step, just the coin rattling inside, wanting to come out, and some other pieces rattling which I could hear after holding the coin in place. Only after a while, I made a little discovery and I found a way to interact with some inside pieces without being able to touch or to even see them. Fascinating! That cannot be a coincidence and must surely be part of the mechanism to be solved. Like for the others, this puzzle has been made in very nice quality, is not expensive, and if I do the extrapolation of Rex' other puzzles right, it will be quite challenging. Unlike other puzzles with hidden mechanisms, this puzzle and the others in the series have a great advantage: After (!) solving them, you can unscrew the nuts and carefully disassemble the puzzles to find out how the mechanism works. This is an aspect I always look forward to, because I am always amazed about discovering all the mechanics going on inside the small puzzles. Right now, there are still a few for sale at Puzzleparadise, just in case you would like to try one of these, too. A great puzzle so far!
Added on 2019-05-09
Last year, on Ishino's page, I saw a new n-ary design with a lot of moves: Sequence cube design, with a quarternary structure and a binary solution length function. Later, on my friend Kevin's PuzzleMad blog, I saw that a version of this cube had actually been build as a 3D printed puzzle, and soon after that I got in touch with the designer Aleksandr Leontev. He offered to build a cube for me, and some time later, today I received this amazing puzzle. The Sequence Cube is actually a variant called the "136 Minutes Cube", relating to an estimate for the time needed to solve the puzzle. Only the first piece can be removed, the others are built non-removable for additional stability of the puzzle, and the puzzle indeed works perfectly. I did run though the sequence and after I lost track several times — which is not good in a 8190 move sequence — I attached little stickers to the pieces and numbered them from 1 to 12. Then I started solving from the beginning and timed the solve. It ended after 97 minutes for me, so I had beaten the estimate. However, I had a lot of training with n-ary sequences, with some Barcode Burr variants only recent examples. It was a nice solve and it almost felt like some form of meditation, but after I finished, my fingers and hands did hurt a bit. The puzzle comes with an additional piece, that can be inserted as first piece in an alternate solution and it increases the overall number of moves — to a whopping 12282 moves to remove the first piece! A great puzzle and nice addition to my compendium and n-ary puzzle group. The puzzle has been realized as a 3D print, and the pins and connectors are solid metal pins, and the puzzle has a nice solid feel to it. Thank you, Aleksandr, for building this nice puzzle for me!
Added on 2019-04-28
Today I went to the yearly puzzle party at a friend's house in the Netherlands (AKA "King's day Puzzle Party") and had a great time with puzzle friends and also solving some unknown puzzles. The puzzles I acquired there for my collection are all from the sliding pieces type: Q-Borg is a nice and interesting variant on a well-known concept. The sliding pieces in 4 colours can slide around the central axis in a rotational movement. Then two halves of the core are able to rotate by half a turn, and then there is a special move: The central core pieces can slide up or down by one unit, so that pieces from different layers can mix. The other two are classic and well made puzzles: Slide 11 Disk. Here you have to exchange the yellow and green piece, and the only moves possible is rotating the circle of pieces, or pushing the slider that runs through the 4 and 9 pieces. The Triple Slide Egg is another one of them, and it is already scrambled, meaning that I will have to figure out how to solve it and then proceed with the solution. Looking at the green 3 piece shows something that surprised me a bit at first, and I was not sure whether the puzzle could be solved at all: The pieces can also be rotated upside-down!
Added on 2019-04-21
Yesterday I went to the German Cube Day (GCD) to meet some puzzle friends and also to collect some puzzles. I received some presents (thanks to Frank and Christoph!): Jump Choreography as a welcome gift, and Monster High Cube. I also found some brand new puzzles, some of which had played before at an IPP design competition, others completely new to me: Free the Marble, Japanese Lock Copper Front. Aside from that, I was catching up on some vintage puzzles from IPPs and others: To Open Space, Coral + Sweet, The Tangle of Amathus, Sunflower, Smart Alex. Diniar had two puzzles for me. The first one is a reproduction of a design that is over 120 years old: Combination Lock. The second one is brand new and has mulitple challenges that can be set: Maze Burr L. Not having played with it a lot yet, I can already say that it is a nice and interesting puzzle. You have to push the pink sticks to make way for the ball to move through the maze, and of course the pink sticks are interlocking! A great day and great puzzle haul!
Added on 2019-04-17
From Nowstore a parcel arrived quickly with some of the latest twisties inside: Overlapping Cube is actually an older design and now mass produced. As can be ssen on the picture, it is a hybrid of a 4x4x4 and a 5x5x5 and I have already scrambled it to solve it later today. The BaiNiaoChaoFeng Cube (I copy&pasted the name from the web site to be sure I get it right) first looks like a new edge turner, but at a closer look it is basically a Fisher cube variant with a strange colour scheme. This colour scheme leads to some interesting effects. For example, it seems to be possible to swap one piece from the red layer with one from the yellow layer, something that would not be possible on a standard 3x3x3 Rubik's cube. This situation only involves moves keeping the blue layer intact, and then you can also scramble the whole puzzle by mixing all the layers.
Added on 2019-04-04
In a recent auction event, I won the Swiss Cube #2 Hard. This one is of a similar make and by the same designer/manufacturer like the US cube, but much simpler. Three pieces looking like cross shaped columns are sitting in a cube to come out, and of course they are interlocked with each other. Like for the other cube, the cube itself does not come apart. I have seen many cheap wooden variants of this cube for offer on ebay, but this is the original, and it is nicely laser cut from acrylic sheets.
Added on 2019-03-27
About half a year ago, the Grooved Board Burr #1 was released in which Juno took the standard 6 piece board burr (6BB) to a higher level (also literally!) by adding grooves and pins. The main tool used for this was a CNC router, and one could also see some of the grooves from the outside. Now the second one arrived beautifully created in wood again: Grooved 6 Board Burr #2. This time, the grooves are hidden in the starting configuration of the puzzle and the level is even higher. Even the first handful of moves contains some that you would not expect from a standard 6BB. Several moves later, it is obvious that this is no 6BB, as there are configurations of the puzzle that would be trivial on a standard 6BB with pieces falling off, but not in this case! Seems to be a worthy family member indeed, and a very interesting puzzle!
Added on 2019-03-26
Years ago, Kagen Schaefer (now Sound) created the Maze Burr, which is a cube with 6 sides and 12 moveable boards on these sides, interacting via pins running in little mazes. Later Derek Bosch created a rhombic version, the Rhombic Maze Burr, which I was happy to pick up at a past IPP. Today the latest puzzle in this series arrived, Derek's Split Maze Burr, nicely crafted by Eric Fuller in beautiful woods and shiny acrylic. It is a cube again, but instead of having 12 panels atteched, there are now 24 panels in two layers, and two of each running on the same side next to each other. This puzzle comes with a solution requiring 31 moves to remove the key panel, and there are in total 50 challenges coming with the puzzle, with a variety of move counts, ranging up to 382. For this, the opened puzzle can be reconfigured with the help of the screws running in the mazes. The overall challenge is to solve a maze, and while you can see the little mazes on the panels, the real maze is actually much bigger and requires you to plan ahead around all sides of the puzzle. A beautiful and interesting puzzle, and quite challenging! Unfortunately, it has sold out within less than one hour, but maybe there will be a second edition, who knows?
Added on 2019-03-15
Today a package arrived from Nowstore with some of the latest Twisty Puzzles: Fangshi Venom Cube is a hybrid puzzle, consisting of a 2x2x2 and turning edges. The edges are implemented in a wireframe way, so one can still see inside to solve the inside 2x2x2, and this also describes a solving strategy. A fun and not too difficult puzzle! The Elite Skewb is the next bigger Skewb after the Master Skewb, with two diagonal bands rotating in the middle between two opposite corners. The 4x4x4 Curvy Dino does not have anything to do with a 4x4x4, but it is more related to Dino, Redi, and in particular Mosaic Cube. Actually, it is like a Mosaic Cube with additional sets of center pieces, which are quite easy to solve. A nice little solving challenge which I have just finished.
Added on 2019-03-04
Of the coordinate motion variants of the Barcode Burr, I have already solved 6 of the 10, with the most complicated remaining to be solved. As the contest has already been closed, it is only solving for fun, and these puzzles are great fun playing with. Today a brand new sequential discovery coin trap arrived: Walang Galang. This one is the latest creation available from Rex Rossano Perez and has the similar nice form factor of the other ones, only that it is thicker than all before, meaning: It has more layers and more mechanisms built in! I have just started playing, but have already found a strangely shaped key inside, and a key hole, which partially explains the shape of the key. No simple key hole, but to be used in different ways and interacting with other mechanisms. While the previous one had a difficult solution with many steps, this one seems to be of a similar kind. I like a lot what I have seen already, and I look forward to the things to come during the solution. A nice addition to a great series of pocket puzzles!
Added on 2019-03-01
A package full of puzzle pieces arrived today, but no complete puzzle. All the pieces arriving are in fact inserts for the Barcode Burr (printed), which had already been upgraded by the Barcode Burr Master Set Upgrade. Having solved all of those (at least as disassembly challenge), there is now some time for new challenges: Barcode Burr Master Sets Upgrades. This set consists of several sets that can be ordered on Pacificpuzzleworks' etsy page, and are the following 10 puzzles: CrossCode Burr #1 — #4 (white) and #5 (golden) are similar puzzles with variants, getting more and more difficult, and overall not too high level (3 for #1 — #4, with for the #5), and involving coordinate many motion moves of many pieces. The GreenCode Burr series consists of four puzzles with coordinate motion moves, and level up to 9.9.4. The PurpleCode Burr may very well be the most difficult one, having coordinate motion and level The puzzle pieces are well made and come with a lot of nice paperwork again, but no solutions! Instead, there is a challenge card included asking to participate in solving these puzzles and publishing the shortest solution. While these are not n-ary puzzles as such, the compendium entry has been updated to note these extension sets. A lot of pieces and 10 puzzles to work through, meaning: Disassemble the existing one, disassemble the pieces, set up the pieces in the new configuration, then try to assemble the new puzzle. I am expecting hours of fun, and from the description cards Lee provided, there will be different aspects involved, including some dexterity. Remembering the fun I had with the original puzzle and the first master set, this will be a lot of fun and I am curious to see what will show up in this category in the future!
Added on 2019-02-26
Today there was a big box waiting for me at the Customs Office, a box with a big box in it: The latest numbered Stickman Puzzlebox: Dwemer Construct Puzzlebox. It looks like a beautiful wooden box, with some strange mechanism sitting on top of it. It is like someone had decided that it was a better idea not to hide the locking mechanism, but make it visible to whoever would want to play with the box. Starting with that, there are some big wooden discs, and each of them carries additional elements, including some wooden gears. All these interact when moving some of the parts, and soon some more parts become visible. It does not only look like a complicated mechanism, indeed it seems to be complicated! And it is massive, leading to the next puzzle: where to put it on display after playing with it? Well, that puzzle can be psotponed, since there are more puzzles to be solved. First, one has to open the mechanism and open the box. Inside there are some parts that can be used for an alternate mechanism, and of course one will have to find out how they need to be arranged to create this mechanism — another puzzle! After that, the box will need to be locked with the alternate mechanism, which leads to another challenging puzzle. Only opening the box up again after that should be a bit easier, after building and locking the mechanism. Having only started playing with the box, it is hard to put down again. I have a slight idea what the goal of the first stage is to unlock the lid, but how to get there may be a completely different story! Beside from some brass screws, the whole mechanism seems to be made from wood, as usual for this puzzle designer, and which is always a fascinating aspect.
Added on 2019-02-15
Today a parcel with the latest release of beautiful wooden puzzles from Pelikanpuzzles arrived, and at the moment they are all still available in their shop and you can get some nice new puzzles there. The first one is Angelus, a puzzle from the category of two pieces in a frame. This may be a smaller example in this category, yet the two pieces still perform a nice dance before coming out of their frame. The Math is an addition (sic!) to the Addition puzzle by the same designer and craftsman, introducing some more mathematical symbols. It has a nice solution and you have to maneuver all three pieces carefully to get the first one out. Aracna is a 12 piece burr at first sight, with an additional piece hidden inside, so I put it into the Burr Zoo group page, with my experiences of solving that puzzle described on that page. This is an easier one of this category, and therefore it may be a good start if you want to have a look into the Burr Zoo category and proceed with a puzzle that is not incredibly difficult to solve!
Added on 2019-02-05
Today by coincidence two packages arrived at the same time. The first one contains some nice wooden puzzles built by Bernhard, and are some of the latest and greatest TIC puzzles (TIC=Turning Interlocking Cube). They are all designs by Andrew Crowell and have some rotations. The first one is GiganTIC, which was available in a different version from Brian Menold earlier, and on which I missed out. It has a high level of 10.10 and several rotations, and interesting moves. I have also found an alternate solution with only 7 moves for the first piece to separate, but that is probably due to the angled edges in this version. So this version has actually two different challenges! The PenTIC does not have that many moves, but one more rotation and some really interesting move sequences and moves. The PackTIC #2 came disassembled, and as an assembly challenge. I got it together after some time, and my solution has the same number of rotations and overall moves as advertised, so I am assuming I found the correct one. What puzzled me most is the last piece to come out/first piece to go back in, which is actually the most difficult one. For the assembly, you first have to solve the entanglement puzzle to get this (dark) piece into the frame, and then put in the other pieces with some more rotations and many more moves. Now I know why these TICs seem to be so famous at the moment, they are great puzzles and very interesting for 4x4x4 cubes.
The other package was a package from Knobelbox catching up on some older Hanayama puzzles, most of them just being two entangled pieces each, but that does not say anything about the difficulty rating: Cast S and S, Cast Hook, Cast Baroq, Cast Medal, and Cast H and H. The order also contained a trick lock: Push Trick Lock 5. This is a variation of a well known trick lock design.
Added on 2019-01-18
Today the latest puzzle from Australia arrived, and it is the second puzzle box in shape of a crocodile I have: Chubby Crocodile. It is a nice looking and very well made wooden crocodile and has even room for a belly containing a treat. The objective of this puzzle could therefore be described to open the box, or to find the treat included, and to make things better it also contains some sequential discovery elements. When you first touch the crocodile, it may be that it starts moving some of its legs, like it was trying to attack (or run away?), which is a nice surprise. This is of course one of the key elements, and overall the puzzle is fun to play with and not too complicated to solve. Definitely a great addition to the recent line of boxes Juno has been creating, and at the moment, there are even some left for sale on their Pluredro web site!
Added on 2019-01-08
The first puzzle delivery for this year came from my puzzle friend Diniar, with nice golden puzzles. They are not actually made from gold, but 3D printed, but with a nice golden look, and as usual they look better in reality than on the pictures I have taken. The theme for the first two is: puzzle box with sliding piece puzzles to be solved to open the box. The Crucibox has some two-layered pieces and then a whole lot of one layered square pieces. The first surprise you may see is that there is no visible hole to perform the first move, and this is not the only trick in this design. The shape of the cross piece is another, and then the box is also reconfigurable and comes with 30 challenges! The Treebox looks a bit like a Japanese puzzle box, due to the nicely printed tree on top of the sliding pieces. Those pieces actually have three different colors of material, demonstrating advances in 3D printing. You may wonder where the hole is to perform the first move of this sliding piece puzzle, and this is the first trick to be found. The second observation is made after moving some pieces around and seeing how the mechanism to open the box might work. This leads to another challenge to be solved before the box can be opened. The last one is a maze puzzle, with two circular mazes to be entangled into one cross-like structure: Mazy. The picture shows the puzzle already assembled, and during the assembly process it becomes obvious that this is a visible maze, where you can plan ahead instead of performing blind guesses. The pieces nicely interact with each other in a nice and new way, and especially with the golden color, I can imagine this to be produced in a cast metal version, maybe this is a good candidate for a future Hanayama Cast puzzle? All three puzzles are fun to play with (thank you, Diniar!) and at the moment there is actually one such design for offer on Puzzle Paradise.
Update on 2019-01-07
Names of the Karakuri x-mas presents added.
Added on 2018-12-28
Yesterday there was a small private puzzle meeting at a friend's place and I even got two puzzles there. First, I acquired the Printable Interlocking Puzzle 4, which is strange to see in wood, as the name tells that the pieces of this one can be 3D printed without the need for a support structure. Dirk presented me his IPP38 Exchange puzzle, the TRIROD, nicely implemented and close to the original prototype. This one had been designed by late Markus Goetz many years ago and much later in the early 2000s, the prototype with the hand written instructions made an appearance at IPPs, and the basic principle later showed up in other designs by other designers. This route finding puzzle is a nice one to remember a great puzzle designer and puzzle friend.
Today, the Karakuri Christmas presents showed up at the local customs office for import. As usual, I don't know the names for most of them, to be added later on. The first one is Silent Cat and a nice little cat figurine in the typical style for this designer. Not too difficult, but some funny steps. The X-mas present 1 is a drawer, like last year, but this time it does not open immediately, as the last one did (with the secret still hidden). The next one is X-mas present 2 and has some trees on it. These trees were used by the designer in several puzzles in the past, and they always gave a very specific hint for the solution. Based on this, I have a vague idea, what may happen here, too! The X-mas present 3 looks like a caged 6 piece burr, but it is actually a box, and behaves like one. I have only found some steps so far, but they are typically for the designer, and I am looking forward to finding many more steps before the box opens!
Added on 2018-12-27
Yesterday I had a Christmas visit by some good friends, and one of them also brought a puzzle as a present: Stadtpuzzle Muenster-Rathaus. He had been in the German city Münster and there this puzzle was offered showing the architectural features of the city hall (hence the German name of the puzzle). It has only around 40 pieces, but all of them having the same colour and only different shapes (many of them!), it is not a very easy puzzle. One fascinating aspect is that the picture on the manufacturer's web site is different from the actual frame shape, so I will be completely on my own when solving it. Luckily, the wood grain helps a bit, and I already managed to match the first few pieces. Thanks for the nice challenge!
Added on 2018-12-20
Only a week after their release, some of the latest puzzles from Eric Fuller arrived, and this time, the usual extra high precision was not only visible on the puzzles, but Eric also included a card stating this, and some instructions on the puzzles. Instructions how to store and keep them, not how to solve them! The first one has an unusual look and is a three piece burr, as the name suggests: Just 3. The other two come from a designer with a name well known from the IPP Design Competitions over the last years: Hajime Katsumoto. The Burr with Rings looks like a caged six piece burr, but is actually similar to Stephan Baumegger's "Frame Me Up" burr, where six of the 18 pieces have a ring attached. Here, all pieces have a ring each, and the wood is really beautiful (maybe not on my picture)! The last one is another variant of Soma in Case, and there are several other puzzles where you have to pack the Soma pieces into a cage, and I also have one of them. However, this adds a special element: The box has a lid to be closed and that lid has an extra cubie attached, on the inside! We have seen the success of the great 5L Box in this year's IPP Design Competition, and this Soma based puzzle employs this element, too. Something tells me this will be a real challenge for the holiday season.
Added on 2018-12-10
Today a small delivery containing two cute little sequential discovery puzzles, both with the objective to free the coin (Some more coins from the Philippines!): Rizal was the first one, that started the series and maybe a smaller one in the series. Several steps are required to get the coin out and it seems I still need to work on the solution for the first steps. The Kusing 25 is possibly the largest one, and definitely the newest one in the series available so far. Looks like there is a lot more going on, and I have already found a piece that wants to come out and there seem to be some other parts of the puzzle where it fits in nicely. Not yet solved, but very interesting! These puzzles are fun and high quality puzzles for a small price tag and form factor, and they are a recommendation, all four of the series.
Added on 2018-12-05
Today a package arrived with puzzles following two themes: They are all nicely crafted from beautiful woods by Pelikanpuzzles, and they are all about some interlocking pieces dancing in a frame. Addition has six plus signs, one on each side, and after the pieces dance through the frame for a while, one of them comes out — with the others in their original positions! Tom Pouce looks like a block strapped by two wooden rings, but actually there are two central pieces, leading to a total of four. The first piece to come out has interesting moves, some of them not easy to find, but the second pieces seems to be stuck in the puzzle forever, until one finds a clever move sequence to get it out. The next two puzzles are by the same designer and follow some of his recent schemes: Triad has some letter shaped pieces, in this case three letters L are visible in the assembled state. Like for the other puzzles, the pieces perform some strange dance before the first one is finally removed. Even though it sometimes looks like a rotational move may be possible there does not seem to be any intended or unintended rotation. The final puzzle of this package, Wing Hangar, has the lowest number of pieces: Two identical pieces and a cage. I wrote "and" because the puzzle came in disassembled state and for the picture I had to find a solution to assemble it. Even at the level of 20 moves it has, it is still possible to assemble the puzzle from scratch without help. Luckily the stick pieces are identical and both the pieces and the frame are symmetrical, limiting the number of possible assemblies.
Added on 2018-11-28
At the customs office I picked up another new six piece burr coming from Australia, or at least so it seems. The puzzle definitely looks like the standard six piece burr, and like a bigger of them. After disassembling it, there are indeed six pieces. However, there are different aspects that are more interesting: Some people might call it a puzzle box (with just a little cavity inside), but for me the sequential discovery aspect is the strongest for the Sequential Discovery Burred Box, so I am putting it into that category, and this may also help some of the non-box-puzzle collectors out there (correct, Kevin?). The sequential discovery solution of this puzzle box (sic!) is not very difficult, but extremely well designed and makes good use of the overall six parts of the puzzle. In fact, several of the sequential discovery steps will require that you combine two of the tools to perform the step. Whithout saying too much about the solution, there is also a nice sequence of steps where you use one of the tools to extract an other tool and then combine both in one of the next steps to progress. Another fascinating property of the solution is that there is a point where several steps can be carried out, both using the tools, but only one order or performing these steps will lead to success. What may be the best distinction to a puzzle box is the visibility of clues and mechanism parts that enable you to solve the puzzle without any blind guessing at all. A very clever design and unfortunately, it seems that it has sold out already.
Added on 2018-11-24
The Hanayama Cast Puzzle series, now coming in the "Huzzle" brand offers great designs in a nice and sturdy metal implementation at a very good price. The latest of the series is not yet available in Europe, but fortunately, it can be ordered in some other parts of the world already: the Cast Hourglass. The designer is well known for some other Cast puzzles and also IPP Design Competition entries in the past. From the picture, it should be obvious where the name comes from, and like several other puzzles from the series, it consists of four metal pieces which need to be disentangled and re-entrangled afterwards. The difficulty rating is at the top of Hanayama's scale with six stars and from what I have heard from others, this rating seems to be justified.
Added on 2018-11-16
Like yesterday a parcel with something special arrived. This time, it was not an exquisite beautiful small puzzle box, but a big set to construct many fascinating puzzles: The Barcode Burr Master Set Upgrade. This one extends the recently arrived Barcode Burr with an additional cubic burr with a different set of (blue) inserts already mounted, so that the result is a binary coordinate motion version of the puzzle. I have already solved this one, and it is a very interesting combination of concepts: a binary sequence and coordinate motion. In some way it reminded me of the Confetto Box 2 by Hiroshi Iwahara, but then the sequence is quite different. After understanding the sequence for removing the first piece, finding which piece would come out second and after which sequence was an additional challenge. For the third piece, the sequence was now obvious and to my surprise, the last three pieces came apart like in the original binary Barcode Burr. The other inserts offer various other assemblies of higher level, some of them following a ternary or quaternary sequence, others having more irregular sequences. To avoid spoling the puzzle set for others, I will not explain more about the set, but more details about the contents (and an additional picture) can be found in the compendium entry. This also includes a good amount of high quality paperwork, a great set, and a very good deal for the price! A great addition to compendium and n-ary puzzle group (do you notice something unusual there?), and it will take some time until I will have built all the configurations and solved them.
Added on 2018-11-15
From Jesse Born I received a parcel with a small puzzle box in it, just slightly bigger than a typical smart phone: Saifu Puzzlebox. This is a beautiful and well crafted box and comes in different materials to choose from. When ordering this box, one could choose between different woods for the various pieces of the box, and between Yosegi and brass for the sliders, and if I understood correctly, all of the boxwes have been different so far. The sliders are the first interesting thing to note: They seem to be locked into their respective grooves without having any visible link to the mechanism below. However, they behave like they are in fact interacting with this mechanism, and each of them seems to be behaving a bit differently. I wonder how this all relates to the solution and I am eager to find that out.
Added on 2018-11-11
Today I went to a regional puzzle gathering to meet some good puzzle friends and to play with some new (or even newer) puzzles. Of course, there were also some puzzles for my collection. The main theme of today's update is IPP puzzles, and there are some puzzles with the same name like some I already have, but in fact different puzzles. The first handful of puzzles are actually some designs which showed up in the IPP38 Design Competition. From Dr. Volker Latussek, I received a Cubemaker, the 2018 version with four angled pieces. Last year, I had already played with a 3D printed prototype and found some solutions for the different challenges. This wooden version features some of the harder challenges, and the goal is to build a stable figure out of the four pieces, in which eight of the darker piece parts meet to form four dark cubes. There seems to be one more straightforward solution, and a creative one, and I am looking forward to finding both of them. The next one has a spectacular name: Rollercoaster. Only three pieces to be packed into the box completely, easy? It is not allowed to put your fingers inside the box, and maybe that is for a good reason, as I have been told that some of the moves required actually resemble rollercoaster like movements. The transparent box helps you to see what is going on inside and also to quickly detect when something is going wrong and there may be a rollercoaster accident in the box. The next is one of those simple puzzles where you only have to pack 5 L shaped pieces into a box and close the lid, hence the name 5L Box. As you can see from the picture, there is one of the pieces outside the box, and after inserting it into the available space in the box, I could not close the lid for some reason. On a second glance, I noticed why this was the case and now I am beginning to understand why the puzzle won a first prize in the competition. The Pack 012 is another one of those easy "just pack three pieces into that box" puzzles. The opening seems to be wider than just for one of the cubies, but I have the bad feeling it may still be way too small for a straightforward approach. The name of the designer and the prize in the competition make me reconsider and may not be an easy puzzle after all! From the name, the next one is a recycling puzzle that can be created from some leftover square sticks, yet not enough to form a complete cube. Hence the name: Leftovers. This was no spontaneous build, as this was also an entry into the competition at IPP38, and after playing with it a bit, I am slightly worried that I might have put it into the wrong category. The next few puzzles are for catching up on past IPP Exchange puzzles: The Tangled Dovetail is definitely in the Disentanglement Puzzles category (like the one before?), or isn't it? Trying to solve it, it looks like there might be a tiny little bit more to it than just disentangling the usual knot and then sliding the dovetail halves apart. The MIKSLOK is one of the rare trick locks in the Exchange (until very recently, that is!). I haven't seen one for a while, and upon first inspection it seems to be a regular lock that has been doctored with, as some people would say. Of course it does not open by simply inserting the key and turning it. The next one is a key by name, the Hysteresis Key. I already have the simpler production range version, but this seems to be a lot more interesting. Some longer dead ends to run into than in the other version. This puzzle also has a maze with more dimensions than at first look. You can move the key in one dimension, but it is actually a 2D maze. Very recently, I have received another puzzle with such a dimension jump: A box with two sliders, yet a 3D maze. Can you spot which it was, and guess how the third dimension was implemented? Big Wheel is another such case of a seemingly 1D maze which is more complicated at a second glance. The wheel will rotate forwards and backwards until it hits some obstructions, and then there is also another kind of wheel movement required to progress in the 2D maze. For solving this, you may need to remember that sometimes not only dentists should examine the teeth!
And now for something completely different: Non-IPP puzzles. The GELO 1234 is one of those numbered designs, and with just three pieces in a frame it is not overly difficult, but reassembly from scratch may be a bit more challenging. The Printable Interlocking Puzzle 4 made out of wood is a curiosity, as Richard has specifically designed it to be easily printable on a standard 3D printer without the need of support structures. Still it is a nice puzzle in wood and has some nice move sequences. Why, why, why, oh why does the next puzzle have the name "YyYy", you might ask? Having a look at the pieces, this will become clear, as they are clearly Y shaped. It is the second puzzle of this designer in this update, and one may have expected more like just level 13.3 with linear moves, like some fancy rotations. Starting to play with it, this puzzle will demonstrate some nice and usual move sequences, and level 13.3 for such simple pieces is actually quite high. The last puzzle is from a designer I have not heard of before, but searching for his name, I came accross an ACM paper about "Recursive Interlocking Puzzles" which I had read some years ago. The puzzle is a cube related to this article: Singapore 5x5x5. Not one of those fancy animal shapes, yet an interesting demonstration of the concept.
Added on 2018-11-06
Today I received the first coins from the Philippines I have. They are embedded into some nice small puzzles made from laser cut acrylic sheets held together by some screws, which both have an excellent size for storage in the display cases or even the pocket when bringing them somewhere. The first one is the Aguinaldo, which is a hidden maze puzzle, with a maze to be solved before the coin can be released. However, Rex has added a nice additional trick to it, in shape of an additional piece that takes part in the solution at some point in time. The Barasoain is a sequentially discovery puzzle, where you have to find and unlock some tool to progress in the solution. When that tool is found, it is quite obvious where it may help (It looks like a key!), but that is not all you need for solving the puzzle. There is an additional trick before the coin is released. An interesting observation is that the key actually solves as one of the locks in the beginning, a clever idea! Two nicely designed and nicely made puzzles, which are fun to solve and not too difficult. They are not the first ones to be released in this series, so let's see what Rex comes up with next. It is great to see such interesting mechanisms packed into this cute form factor!
Added on 2018-10-29
Today's package brought two nicely made wooden puzzles from Australia, and one being the completion of the trump card series puzzle boxes: Spade Case. This box looks like the Club Case, but the mechanism works quite differently and in a new way, in fact: I have never seen this kind of trick. I would be giving to much away of the solution by mentioning details, but it is notable that this mechanism has more dimensions (in a mathematical sense) than you would expect, and at some point in the middle of the solution, you can actually see more of the mechanism. If you have not yet formed any theory how to solve the puzzle, that is the right moment during solving. This one may be the most box-like of the case series, having the biggest storage compartment of all four. The Grooved 6 Board Burr #1 looks like a nicely made 6 Board Burr, but it additionally features some bamboo dovels and some grooves, increasing the level to a very high 22. Playing with it a bit, I immediately noticed that this grooved version behaves quite differently from the standard version, featuring configurations in which a piece would simply drop off in the corresponding standard 6BB. Not in this grooved design, of course! Clearly, this has been the result of Juno playing with the router again, and I am curious to see which other creative puzzle ideas will come out of this in the future!
Added on 2018-10-24
Yesterday I went to the biggest board and card game fair in Essen, and as usual I visited some puzzle friends to look for new puzzles. At the Constantin booth, there were some brand new vesions of known n-ary puzzels: Voidlock Metal is a heavy and nicely made full metal version of the voidlock, and Steuerrad-Kiste* (Steering wheel box) uses the puzzle as a lid. You have to solve the puzzle on the lid (or at least most of it) and then you can unlock the lid, which uses a simple, but clever mechanism. Two nice additions for compendium and n-ary puzzle group! The Two Side Sliding Lock* is a sliding piece puzzle in the shape of a lock, which uses pieces that can move in one way only. Some only horizontally, others only vertically, guided by grooves in the front and back side of the puzzle. A confusing and unique puzzle idea! There were also two items offered which were designed by Katsumoto, who is well known since IPP36: Spiral Square is a puzzle consisting of 4 identical parts to be taken apart (without opening the screws, of course!) and putting it back together, which proves to be the greater challenge. The Framed Jigsaw has a name and look that would immediately disqualify it from being shown on this site (please look at the introduction above!), but this one is not a true jigsaw puzzle, more like a combination of complicated packing, interlocking, and sliding piece puzzle. There is only a small opening in the top in the middle, where everything has to enter the puzzle, and obviously the task is to put all the pieces into the frame. Looking at the piece left over and the space remaining in the frame, the question immediately pops up, how this could be done, as the piece does not even fit into this gap. Well, some clever re-arranging of the pieces already inside might help. Rombol is also on my usual list for the fair in Essen, and they had some nice puzzles to offer. Kardan is a serially interlocking puzzle. The next two are designs by Dr. Volker Latussek, who appeared successfully in recent IPP Design Competitions (for example with the overwhelming success of his Casino puzzle this year, and the Marble's Cage a bit earlier): Six-T-Puzzle and SOMA Pack have the goal to pack everything into the box. Six T pieces (not 60), five of which are already inside, and then the whole Soma cube piece set for the other puzzle. Of course this is not achieved by simply creating a packing outside the box and then putting it in one by one, but the small openings will require a bit more to solve. The last visit was to Hendrik's Puzzle Shop, who is a good contact for the latest Cast puzzles and exotic twisty puzzles. He had the Cast Arrows for offer and then a variety of other nice puzzles. Molecube mini is actually shown in the solved state and is a cute mini version. The next three are serially interlocking with the same piece layout and solution, however the different puzzle shapes and symmetries make them vary in difficulty: Small interlocking cube*, Small rounded interlocking cube*, and Small interlocking barrel*. From the same unknown manufacturer was the Time Machine Variant*, and then there were small and tiny variants of the known Magic puzzle: Mini Magic Heart* and Micro Magic Skeleton*, which reminds me a bit of the Lucasarts Adventure "Monkey Island 2: Le Chuck's Revenge" with the groups of bones. The last one is actually a 1x2x3 and simple twisty puzzle, but also some decoration for the x-mas season to come: Zcube Christmas Tree
While creating this update, one of the latest works from the Karakuri creation group arrived: Visible 5-Ary Drawer (Quinary). As one may guess from the title, this is clearly part of compendium and n-ary puzzle group and fun to solve, with a smooth mechanism. Unlike many other Karakuri boxes, the n-ary mechanism of this box is in plain sight beneath an acrylic cover, allowing to follow what happens easily. This is actually the 200th entry in the compendium, and there are even more puzzles in it if you count all the variants!
Added on 2018-10-24
When you are busy, time is flying by, and so I did not yet expect the arrival of some of the latest works by Eric Fuller ordered last week. They are beautifully made as usual, and unusual in their designs: Okto Cube by Yavuz is a six piece board burr in a cube, easy enough. However, the cube is assembled from eight identical pieces (hence the name) and comes apart. A clever idea! When solving the puzzle and moving the boards around, after several moves, two of the cubies will drop off the puzzle, so you have to be careful when solving, or you are in for a surprise! The Pin Block Case first showed up at IPP37 and quickly afterwards it was available in the signature series, and now re-released in the artisan series. Four identical pieces with a pin and groove each, to be packed in a box through its opening, how hard can that be? Not very hard, but a clever design by Hajime Katsumoto, an expert and IPP prize winner for his packing puzzles, and fun to solve! While packing into the box, the pieces interlock in a nice way, which is why I put it into the interlocking category.
Added on 2018-10-15
Last weekend, the biggest European puzzler's meeting took place in Voorburg again, the Dutch Cube Day (DCD), and I attended to meet many puzzle friends from all over the world and also to add some puzzles to my collection. It was a great event, as every time! Right at the beginning, each participant received two presents from the organizers: Double Dutch as a welcome gift, and then a small version of the Utopian Cube, as a present to remember the late Markus Goetz. Alfons was there with a lot of beautiful wooden interlocking puzzles, some of them being: Greyhound, Long Skirt, Lolly Box (the original one, which I did not have in my collection so far), Four in a Box (a much more complicated variant of the same concept), the Moira's Cube (one of the cubes, this one being named after a cat), Madia, Missing Link, and a few of the Happiness Cube series which are older designs, but have been quite popular lately: Happiness Cube 169, Happiness Cube 95.2, and Happiness Cube 20.2 (which I have in a tiny 3D printed version, too!). Jack had some older designs newly made and looking beautiful: Sixticks (thanks for this one) and Crossing. That last one has been on my compendium web site for some time, but I never had one of these fascinating sliding piece puzzles. It is an n-ary sliding piece puzzle without a long control piece, which all earlier designs had, for example also the next one is also one: a vintage SpinOut mini in a version I have never seen before. Both puzzles are on the n-ary puzzle group now. This one and the vintage Gamma puzzle were offered from my late puzzle friend Laurie's collection. The next two puzzles are brand new designs, one of them taking part in the IPP38 Exchange: Gyrotwisty (do you remember the Gyro Twister toy, looking similar and promising to strengthen your wrists?) and the African Mask, which has two layers of sliding pieces, with the top layer being round, arc shaped pieces. The Curly Cube is a nice design which was around for some time and which I finally picked up, and it looks just beautiful and comes apart in an unexpected way. The Two Piece Cube is one of the rare puzzles by the German puzzle designer Carsten Elsäßer, which I had seen a couple of time and was now for offer — no need to think twice here! Maybe I will have to think more than twice when solving the puzzle, as I have already found some interesting first steps and interactions with outside and inside parts of the puzzles, but nowhere near a solution. The Turtle's Heart and the Kowloon Seal Luban Lock are some IPP Exchange puzzles from earlier years and this year.
Added on 2018-10-01
Before picking up the puzzles for this update, I revisited two rotational interlocking puzzles again: The Shield and Square Target. A puzzle friend mentioned that his solution works differently than what I had described, and indeed for The Shield, I found a solution to get the first two pieces out without rotations, and then the other two pieces requiring some rotations. With rotational puzzles, it seems to become more difficult to find the "best" solution, as one cannot simply take the one from Burr-Tools or a similar program. The puzzles arriving today are also in the interlocking category and also not in the standard Burr-Tools category. One of them is an addition to n-ary puzzle group and compendium, and both of them are 3D printed versions of IPP Design Competition Entries (this year and in the past). The first one is a nice coordinate motion cube extending Ray Stanton's Slideways series: Slideways Cube (printed). Three identical pieces with some angled cuts make it ideal for 3D printing. The other one is the one with the many moves and has more 3D printed pieces, the Barcode Burr (printed). It moves nicely and after quickly finding the right triangles to push, the sequence starts flowing and soon afterwards the first piece is released. Disassembling the cube completely, unveils that each piece is created from three 3D printed pieces and some screws. Printing each piece in three parts seems to have several advantages: Much easier to print and less support structure (if any) required, and the long bars can be printed having a smooth surface. This technique makes the puzzle very nice to play with, and then the n-ary sequence can be found during playing, confirming what is summarized in the corresponding compendium entry. Two very nice and high quality 3D printed puzzles, and also quite inexpensive. So if you ever wanted to get (a version) of the Barcode Burr, now is the chance!
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Hints: If you need solution hints to any puzzle in my gallery, feel free to e-mail me. My e-mail address can be found on my homepage.