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 2023-11-27
While I have quite a number of puzzle friends from Luxembourg, I don't think that I have a mass produced puzzle made in this country. Today one arrived: The Lost City Chapter 1. It was part of a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, and they have just started shipping and today already it has arrived, securely packed in a beautiful box. It is one of the now famous genre of escape room in a box puzzles, where you have to find clues and open locks, and maybe also find tools to progress. Usually they are made from laser cut plywood boards, and maybe some acrylic sheets, and this one adds a new feature to that: 3D printing. It feels nicely heavy, and must be the heaviest of these little boxes I have. While I haven't started solving it yet, I have already taken a close look at the outside. There are decorations of various kinds, and some of them look beautiful and surprising. Looks like some efforts were made to ensure this is a high quality box and while this is considerably more expensive than most of the others, this one also feels like a higher manufacturing quality. I played with some sliders near what seems to be the first stage a bit, and it looks like efforts were made that they operate in a nice and satisfying way. I am looking forward to solve this box and to see how all those mechanisms work!
Added on 2023-11-22
Yesterday I managed to make some progress with my solving backlog and solved 3 of the puzzles I was working on. Now today some new parcel showed up, and I got myself a burner phone — usually a temporary phone that you can throw away when no longer needed or when you need to get rid of the phone and the number quickly. Well, nothing I am planning on doing with this, but anyway, here it is: Burner. It is Dee's latest puzzle box/sequential discovery puzzle. The buttons on the front don't seem to do anything, and the time displayed is the same typical one I saw displayed on many advertising pictures of digital watches in past times. And there is another engraving beautifully added to the front, the constant g (the acceleration of objects falling on earth, and even the same digits like my pocket calculator tells me). Should I really drop this beautiful puzzle to the ground or throw it away? I will do nothing of the kind! Instead I seem to have found the first few moves, and first tool, and this engraving may mean something different! Looking forward to solve this and unlock the phone('s secret)! Maybe after all, this is a burner phone Angry Walter used before he went over to using his radio in his evil plan for world domination?
Added on 2023-11-20
Today the latest release of the Feldman family trick locks arrived, and a winner from this year's Design Competition: Picolock. It is a cute padlock puzzle, and not too large, but that does not justify the name Picolock. However, having solved the lock, I agree this is a very good name for an excellent lock! It features multiple steps that go beyond the classic trick lock category, and I am not surprised it won a prize at the vote. There is so much going on in this lock, and new tricks I have not seen before. One word of advice for anyone attempting to solve this lock: It contains small parts, be careful not to loose them! An excellent lock, and I am curious to see what will be released next.
Added on 2023-11-17
After a few hours of assembly the other puzzle box kit has been assembled into a Treasure Chest. Assembly is working well, but maybe a bit more challenging because of the unusual shapes. What you will get is an escape room puzzle box that has several clues to be decipered and multiple tools to be found and used, until the box can finally be opened. It looks like a nice chest, and is a fun puzzle to play with. I wonder what this company will come up with next!
Added on 2023-11-16
A few days ago, etsy showed me some interesting new puzzle boxes from Mobimods/Wooden City (and they are still available with some discount), and I ordered myself two of them. They quickly arrived from Poland as puzzle box kits for self-assembly without glue. Today, I spent a few hours to assemble the first one, and that was a lot of fun and the result looks like this: Secret of the Templars. After assembly, this is an interesting multiple step puzzle box, where you can see most of the mechanisms, but there are some hidden mechanisms as well that have to be deduced for solving, and there are also some pieces that have to be removed before opening the door. The mechanisms work nicely, but maybe here my prior experience with the assembly of such kits helped. That some of the mechanisms have to be operated back and forth during the solution, makes it even more complex, and I did not expect this level of complexity from this small box, especially after assembling it myself snf seeing all the pieces.
Added on 2023-11-13
Today a parcel with my order of the latest Pelikan puzzles (and some older ones) arrived, all beautiful wooden puzzles. For the first one, the designer is obvious and I played with it a bit yesterday: Dick-Flop. Just pack the pieces into the box, and expect some rotations going on, that sounds like it will not be easy. The opening is just too small to fit a two units wide piece through it horizontally, so I am expecting more tricks. The next one not only looks beautiful, but is also one of the interesting board burrs in a box. GEM. And also an IPP Design Competition winner, I am expecting it to be good. I have quickly removed the boards from the box, so this can give me an assembly challenge later. The rest of the haul is by only one designer who seems to be quite popular with Pelikanpuzzles recently. They are an interlocking puzzle with 5 pieces, even though it looks like 6: Captain Hook. Then some rectilinear packing puzzles, and the frame/box is quite unusual, especially for the second one: Infinite and Tigridia. And then another IPP Design Competition entry, for packing skewed pieces into a rhombic box: Play-Girl 2. More puzzles for the backlog, and I look forward to solve them!
Added on 2023-11-12
Yesterday we had a nice little puzzle meeting with some nice conversations, puzzling (also puzzle designers successfully solving other designers' puzzles!) and also trying some prototype — thank you to the host, and also for some puzzles! I could also buy some vintage puzzles, and there are some very interesting ones among them. The first few are IPP29 Exchange puzzles. While I already have the second set of the small disentanglement puzzles from Markus, I now also own the first one: Six Serpentile Strings. I am not expecting those to be easy, and they are nicely made -- and came in a still sealed package. The next Exchange puzzle consists of some metal frame disentanglement puzzles by an expert: The Three Sisters. The goal is the same for all three (disassemble into head, neck, body), but they seem to be of different difficulty. The last from this IPP I already have as Shapeways print (and actually solved last week again), but now I have the more beautiful original Tubular Burr. This is a tube shaped burr, but from before when Derek started designing the helical pattern that led to many puzzles (some of them brand new, see the DCD update below). From this year's IPP, a new puzzle from a designer of whom I collected many interlocking cubes many years ago: Rotamove Cube. The next one is an Endou puzzle, and these are usually coming in very small numbers and unusual designs: Gikan Bako should be packed into the tray initially, and you can see the goal shape in the picture. A beatiful find was a beautiful wooden puzzle by the late Trevor Wood, my first one: Arrow-Block Slide Block. This is a restricted sliding puzzle designed many years ago, and is nice to play with. The Fundamentally Framed Burr 1 an old design I have not seen made before, and the level is also interesting, and the second puzzle I have from this designer. There were also some chinese locks available, and I got myself one with a dagger on the bottom, and several steps to open: Chinese Lock with Dagger. Now the last one is a puzzle-puzzle: Unknown 24 piece burr*. The seller did also not know what it was, but it could be a prototype. 24 piece burrs of this shape are somewhat rare, and after comparing with all of them I have, this seems to be an unknown new/unpublished one. I will be trying to disassemble it to know the piece shapes, and maybe one day I will find out what it is. A fascinating surprise find!
Added on 2023-11-07
From Czech republic a small parcel arrived today, but not from the Pelikan release yesterday. Instead, it is from Ivan, who runs the Puzzle Guy YouTube channel, and a nice video on this channel made me aware that he sells 3D printed and officially licensed copies of the Zigguflat puzzle in his etsy shop. Why more of this puzzle, you may ask? Well, with already two copies one can demonstrate a typical concept of such n-ary puzzles: Building larger and smaller versions! From two standard 6 piece puzzles, I bought myself a Zigguflat (4 pieces) and a Zigguflat (8 pieces). And of course I tried a 7 piece version in between! For the updated Compendium entry and n-ary puzzle group page, I tried to count the moves, but my count may be a bit off, as usual. Definitely fun puzzles to play with!
Added on 2023-10-30
GrayCodeCounter Yesterday DCD42 happened (Dutch Cube Day 42, in the Netherlands), and this leads to a somewhat special update today. As in the past, many old and new puzzle friends were there with many nice converations, and also interesting and beautiful puzzles. From Oskar, I bought a non-puzzle item that is shown in the picture in the left. It is a dual counter with a crank that allows you to count through some binary numbers by rotating the crank on top. The upper number is simply the usual binary representation that is used in computers as well, in this case for a 5-bit number. The lower one is more interesting which makes it actually a Gray Code Counter: It will count through the reflected binary Gray Code, and this is of course linked with binary puzzles. If you roll it forward to 11111, it will show you a step by step solution of a 5 ring Chinese Rings puzzle. Each digit stands for a certain ring, and a 1 means that the ring sits on the long bar, and a 0 denotes a ring off the bar. Cranking backwards, it will show you all the steps until 00000 where the handlebar of the rings puzzle is freed from all rings. I have tried it, and it actually works! Of course you can crank the other way from 00000 to 11111 for the sequence to re-assemble the Chinese Rings puzzle again. All this using some gear mechanics, that is fascinating!
The other reason why this update is a bit special is the high number of group pages which are updated in this update: Compendium and n-ary puzzle group, Burr Zoo, and 18 pieces burrs group. Right at the entrance of the DCD venue, it started with a brand new and flat n-ary puzzle that does not even have any sort of frame: Zigguflat, a flat variation of the Ziggurat puzzle with a lot of zick-zack action going on during the solve, and multiple challenges. From Steve I received another giveaway for a puzzle party I have never been to, the Northern Puzzle Party in the UK: NPP Puzzle. This consists of 3 flat pieces held together with a special clamp that then need to be assembled into a 3D burr shape, similar to a coordinate axis quadrant. Amongst many other puzzles, also two new helical burr variants were available, and they come in a cute size while still moving perfectly: Tweedle 11 and Tweedle 14. Oskar had one of his recent difficult co-operations with Volker for me, which go quite beyond the usual Soma cube or packing puzzles: Soma Ultimate. Of course, all the pieces should go inside, not like the configuration shown in the picture. This was Oskar's IPP exchange, while Frans went for the more traditional beautiful wooden interlocking puzzles as his Exchange (the 25th in a row): Rivieara. Jack had prepared a smaller version of Christoph's favorite puzzle in the intended and really beautiful colour scheme: Bouquet (small). Seems this is the designer's favorite puzzle so far, and I remember that it had a nice solution as well. Hypno Balls was an entry into last year's IPP Design Competition, and I had played with it at last year's DCD already, and it does not only consist of 3D printed parts, but also heavy steel balls. Maybe that should not be solved in a quiet room, and it will require some careful manipulation of the balls to get it apart. Another IPP40 Exchange was picked up, a co-operation of Andreas and Andrew: SwapTIC. It comes in 4 separate pieces that need to be assembled using sliding and rotating moves, and after having achieved that, it seems that this may even have been easier than taking it apart again! The next puzzle was one of those rare vintage puzzles one sometimes finds at DCD, a Closterman Cube, smaller than the one I already have: Cage #1-125-10. Being already 23 years old, it still works flawlessly and the pieces slide nicely without locking up tightly.
Of course, I also paid Alfons an extensive visit to acquire some of this beautiful high level interlocking puzzles, to be solved until the next DCD (while I still have some unsolved from the last DCD and before!). The first one is not only an n-ary puzzle, but also contains another puzzle: Sensi Box with this a Sensi Puzzle. This is basically based on the B-Box and Reactor puzzle from years ago, but with more moves. Then some brand new puzzles going right into the Zoo with some insects in them, in particular: Blue Beetle and Blue Beetle 2. While the names are nearly identical, one has an 18 pieces burr as a shell and the other has 12 pieces only, with more room inside. Looks like there is more to the Blue Beetle theme than just an insect, according to what some WWW search brought up. This also brought us into the range of 18 pieces burrs, and there are more of them: Buzzard is an older design with a very interesting level. A level over 100 is complicated enough already, but look at the details for the other pieces! 2-digit numbers for four more pieces. Wobbe seems to be on the easier side again, and comes with some wider sticks as well. A lower number of wider sticks is found in The Kick, but at a high level of slightly below 100, and with 3 more non-trivial pieces in the solution. The Spy Hole makes use of wider sticks again, and the name is very fitting: You can actually look through the centre of this puzzle in one orientation, and see what is happening on the other side! The next one reminds me a bit of the School Bus puzzles, but with an open top (convertible school bus), but the name seems to hint something else: Courage. Will this be a difficult one that you need a lot of courage to attack and solve? Today's update ends with a small puzzle named after small people, the Hobbit. That should be some easier entertainment when all those difficult puzzles resist solving!
Many thanks to my friends for the puzzle presents I received, and also the great time! We all had a great weekend yesterday, and I am looking forward to future ones.
Added on 2023-10-18
Today just a quick update, as I am not feeling well currently, but in any case two nice 3D printed puzzles arrived. The first one had a "Caution! Heavy! 35lbs and over" sticker on it, and it is feels nice and heavy (and beautiful outside that is not truely visible on the picture), and things rattle inside, but it only has around 6cm edge length and nowhere near that weight from the USPS sticker. The name is: Button Box. Initially, only the white spring loaded button can be pushed, and I have not discovered the rest yet. The other one is from the same designer and manufacturer and has a nice colour matching the theme: Oliver. It's a pig's head and a sequential discovery puzzle. Those two are nice puzzles, but I am afraid I am getting into the same situation my friend Kevin complained until recently: I have started stacking puzzles on my desk because of available space, some of those unsolved puzzles form the backlog. Well, there could be worse problems, couldn't there?
Added on 2023-10-11
Today more puzzles from the Spiel games fair in Essen last week arrived — sort of. They were part of a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, and some copies were available in Essen, while the general launch will be early 2024. They are the latest of the Cluebox series and an additional box, by iDventure. This was the first company to produce these kinds of boxes, and looking at the current one, they have developed to me more complex and with more detailed mechanical tricks. The latest one is the ClueBox Sherlock's Camera, and themed to be a camera with secrets inside. A lot of elements can be seen here, and many details, some of which seem to be coming straight from Athur Conan Doyle's books. Numerous small steel balls, wooden and acrylic plates, and some other new elements. This will definitely be an interesting solve! The companion box in the campaign is a bit smaller, and it is not self-contained: ClueBox A-maze-ing Safe actually needs a coin to get the solution mechanism started. And If you stop and reset before solving, you will have to add more money to the box. I wonder if this will cost me more than one coin! Both boxes are created from the usual laser cut wooden and acrylic boards and look beautiful. More puzzling fun!
Added on 2023-10-05
Today this year's "Spiel" games fair started, and there were lots people attending for the games, but also some for the puzzles. I met some old friends from the puzzle communit and had some nice conversations, and also new ones, even a MPD/Discord member. Now for the real deal, the puzzles I brought home (aside from many more board/card games), and the puzzles are ordered by decreasing size, and possibly also complexity. The Constantin have teamed up with their partners in India again to create some hefty puzzle boxes. The first one is called Mystery Box, but "chest" may be a more appropriate description for this large and heavy (5kg) puzzle box. The next one is much lighter and looks beautiful with the colourful inlays and the golden front plate with the four locks: Lunch Box*. I am curious to see how this one opens, and from what I have heard, it will definitely not be easy. The Click Box has a very descriptive name indeed. The noise created is quite loud and can also occur in a series. I wonder if this is a puzzle, or a fidget toy to annoy other people? It looks beautiful and opening it will definitely be a puzzle! Season in the sun is a dexterity puzzle, and those seem to be getting more and more popular recently. The aim is not only to get those little tubes into the holes, but also in a rainbow pattern, thanks for the nice challenge! Those beautiful boxes will definitely keep me busy for a while, together with more unsolved puzzles currently. I think I made some progress with the new bolt puzzle yesterday, but after finding and using several tools, I have hit the proverbial brick wall.
Added on 2023-10-04
A small but heavy parcel arrived today from Australia, and after paying the taxes and fees, I now have some more IPP40 related puzzles: Just an Eleven Piece Jigsaw and 10 of Diamonds are the Exchange puzzles built by Mr Puzzle Australia, and surely the large laser cutter acquired many years ago plays a role in these. The 10 of diamonds puzzle even features two challenges, but they all don't seem to have the arrangement of the diamonds like on the playing card. The heavy puzzle was the main reason for my order: Brian's Big Baffling Bolt. This is Brian's 30th anniversary of puzzle making puzzle. One of my all time favorite puzzles is his 20th anniverary puzzle, the famous Katie Koala. Similar to that one, there is a plaque to be found in this puzzle, which consists of both the hefty bolt and the small wooden block. It seems I have already found the first step, and this immediately offers a view of some more elements to be solved (and they look tiny!), and it helps to know some of Brian's puzzles — and this seems to agree with one note from the instruction card. I am looking forward to solve this beauty and I wonder how long that will take me. There are quite some recent unsolved puzzles not allowing me any progress (but then there are others I have solved recently!). I am sure this month the puzzle solving backlog will not get much better, but will probably get much "worse" quickly, let's wait and see!
Added on 2023-09-27
It has been quite a while that I visited the Burr Zoo and reported about it, but this morning update will change this. Lately, I have been playing with the Crocs puzzle containing two crocodiles, but did not get very far. There is some difficult to find move early in the solution, and it involves a crocodile! Read more here, in the page about my Burr Zoo.
Added on 2023-09-22
Two years after receiving the puzzle, I finally solved the Ratchet puzzle from last year's design competition. It is an easy and straightforward one, once you have understood how the special locking gadget at the beginning of the binary chain works. After playing with it more and more in the last few weeks, there was finally an Aha! moment after some thinking and trying, and I had traversed the loop from the first to the second ring. The rest is quite easy, as long as you understand what to do, are extra careful with the orientation of the slings and do not add some knots, and keep track of the next steps. A nice and definitely sturdy puzzle that now has its own entries in Compendium and n-ary puzzle group
Added on 2023-09-21
I got a new padlock today: Easy Peasy. It even comes with a nice 3D printed stand. However, it seems to be broken, and won't open when turning the key. Actually, you can turn the key multiple times in the same direction without anything happening. But I guess this is as intended, as this is the latest puzzle lock from LockPuzzles, and there are also some odd features. This will take some tricks and puzzling to open and I am looking forward to find these. Also made some progress on two of the previous ones. Fascinating!
Added on 2023-09-19
After a while of waiting, today three puzzle deliveries arrived on the same day, and the postman managed to hold two of the parcels in his hand while doing the paperwork — yes, they are small! The first one is another Escaperoom in a box, from a known manufacturer and via a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year. I have already solved the previous two with the Egyptian and Roman themes, and had a lot of fun with them. This latest one is also themed in the same era, and Babylon themed: Quest Tower. A quite large tower with many decorations (How many of them are clues?) and many sliders and dials I can already see. Probably the goal will be to deconstruct the tower quite a bit. The next one is from a new designer and a cute little metal puzzle, and even a puzzle box: Cogas. I saw some pictures of it and read some comments, that made me interested to try one, and it looks nice in person, too. The bottom seems to be a solid cylinder, so the main part will be the lid to be removed. The last one is a puzzle box from Israel, made entirely out of black and white LEGO bricks, and there is also a golden brick inside that you have to find and extract: Vertigo. This is the second puzzle of these designers, and I really liked the first one with its various aspects. I could not resist and started playing with the new one, and have already found the golden bar, but how to get it out? Even with the previous two puzzle boxes solved, there is enough backlog left, to add more future puzzling fun in this update. And I am sure there will be more puzzles coming soon. As usual, I am making slow but steady progress with the puzzles I already have, but it could be that some of them will remain unsolved until retirement, who knows?
Added on 2023-09-13
Something that appeared in the last few years for the first time, and then grew in popularity are the nice little escape room boxes. They contain various locks, riddles, and hints on the surface that have to be solved to reach the goal. This year, there were several Kickstarter campaigns of well known manufacturers of such boxes, and also new manufacturers. Nearly all of them are located in Germany, our country seems to be a hot spot for these, and one new player in the game is actually the closest: Less than an hour drive away from where I live. They just started shipping, and due to the distance I have received two beautiful cardboard boxes with each one great looking and nicely themed escape room in a box inside. They are both themed a couple millenia ago. The first one a bit older, about the Pharao's Secret. with nice decorations matching the theme, and then a bit newer (historically), the Caesar's Riches box, looking like a representative Roman building. Both look and feel sturdy and nicely made so far, and I am looking forward to solve both of them. Of course, I wonder how the level of difficulty and estimated solving time will be while solving. The Egyptian box is rated as an easier one, and the Roman box more difficult.
Added on 2023-09-12
Two recent twisties for today, and both are variants of puzzles I already have, and hopefully I will be able to solve them with what I know. The first one is a master version of the Platypus puzzle, and is from the Dino Cube family: Super Platypus. An extra layer of pieces, but that should not make it more difficult overall. The next one may even be easier than the cubic version, it's a Skweby 2x2x2 Octahedron, and at first glance it looks like a Diamond Skweb. This one adds to the twisty octahedra group and I have some serious issue finding some shelf space in that cabinet. Never thought that one day there would be that many twisty octahedra, and I don't even have all of them! It is a hybrid of a Diamond Skewb and a 2x2x2, or can also be thought of as being an octahedral SuperZ. I wonder if solving will be easier for this one, as there are no links between the different colours and they can basically be arranged in any arrangement.
Added on 2023-09-09
Today I went to the local post shop to pick up the latest Two Bass Monkeys parcel after paying the fees and taxes. As expected, some nice heavy and shiny puzzles in there, and all part of the IPP40 Exchange this year. All three are from a series from earlier puzzles each. After the funny HoKey CoKey lock from a few years ago, this is obviously the second in the series: HoKey PoKey. This one comes with a pair of keys attached to various key fobs, like those that should prevent you from putting the keys into the pocket and taking it away, and both objects related to sealing a wine bottle. Solving it, I laughed out not only once, but twice, a very fun puzzle! Of course, I am wondering about that second challenge! The next one is the second of Ali's bolt puzzles: A Bolt from the BLUE. It comes in a beautiful 3D printed packaging that will not completely contain the bolt, but leave one end visible. Inside, is a bolt with two nuts and a washer, with the goal of getting that off. I have solved this one already, and it made me laugh out as well. A clever puzzle! The third one may not be that funny from the solving experience, but comes in a beautiful packaging with a lot of attention to detail: Allard's Think (c) Sticks. The actual packaging is a tin that you have to tear open to reach the puzzle, but it can be resealed with the plastic cap provided and then looks like new. On the outside, it contains the 12 challenges, and then also some nutritional advice. Looks like one serving of this puzzle will provide you with the 70000% of the recommended daily dose of copper. That is good to know, so I won't rush this puzzle too much. Inside in a nice arrange are 12 brass rods with the usual cuts that allow them to be assembled into burrs. So this is actually a 15 pieces circular burr set, allowing you to build 12 of the 9 pieces burrs, and then some more with 6 pieces. A fellow puzzler has already created a 3D print file for an assembly jig making it easier to not drop any pieces in mid assembly. Well, without this I am going to try and assemble these burrs the old fashioned way. This is an addition to the smaller line of brass burrs by the same craftsmen.
Added on 2023-09-08
Not a new puzzle today, but an follow-up on a post from end of August, and some details of a recent puzzle I solved: Shoulder To Shoulder. This puzzle took me a while to solve, and it definitely helped to have the quick reset feature available. Spoiler: You can even use it to start some position in the middle and work backwards, to see how that works. Indeed, the insight from the Shuttle Run puzzle gave me a good idea that could be re-used here in some form, and helped me to solve the puzzle. You can read about the details here: Compendium entry and n-ary puzzle group entry. However, I am not sure whether this is really understandable without diagrams. A nice n-ary puzzle!
Added on 2023-08-31
Today I solved one of the two puzzles that arrived yesterday, and to my surprise, the Salva puzzle is not only a sequential discovery puzzle, but also an n-ary puzzle. Very fun to play with, and that n-ary maze is easier to handle than a random one! See more details here: Compendium entry and n-ary puzzle group entry
Added on 2023-08-30
Today two of the latest puzzles by Rex arrived, and they are from the series of pocket sized puzzles, with the topic to free the dog coin from the cage: Salva and Thirdy. They look beautiful and are around the size of the previous ones, larger than the early puzzles of that kind. One of them is more like a blind maze puzzle, while the other has more sequential discovery elements to it. I am curious to see how they work and how long it will take me to solve both, and I am looking forward to the solve.
Added on 2023-08-28
Not a new puzzle today, but some details of a recent puzzle I solved: Shuttle Run. It took me quite a while longer than expected to solve it, and while it starts off nicely binary, after a while the solution hits a proverbial brick wall, and the rope hits that long loop bar running through the puzzle. Dealing with this aspect in the correct way seems to be the key feature, the rest is more patience and perseverance. There is now both a Compendium entry and n-ary puzzle group entry which have just been added. Please review those for the details, also if you are looking for some spoilers and hints. Kevin's Puzzlemad blog featured this puzzle a while back and he has nice description and picture of the beginning of the solution, and then things start getting complicated. I started with this puzzle because it looked easiest among the recent delivery, but it was not really an easy experience. I now have some idea which may help me with some of the others, but will it really?
Added on 2023-08-14
After quite a while I ordered from Knobelbox where I had spotted some nice new puzzles, and they arrived with the usual very quick and smooth delivery. Two of them are a continuation of the numbered Puzzle Box series by Siebenstein I have all up to 9, and consequently the first new one is: Puzzle Box 10/X-Box. Speaking of numbers, those numbers on the top of this box next to the sliders do not seem to make a whole lot of sense. Spoiler (Hover the mouse pointer over the redacted text to see): There are more numbers on the box that don't make sense at all. Should those all be related and be some exercise of code cracking? That must be it, I am sure! The other one has the next in the series has no numbers on it (except for that "11"), but strange knobs/tokens in some mazes: Puzzle Box 11 Something is odd about some of them as well, and I have an idea how the solution may work in general. Two more boxes and only a bit older were added to this order, both from Eureka and the first laser cut plywood boxes I got from that well-known company, so I am wondering what to expect. The first one seems to be a jail with 4 inmates: Jailbreak 4.0, and goal is to release them. The other looks like a nice cabin that could be located in the woods somewhere: Cabin Box. The instructions say something about gaining access and then locking up, see the common scheme here? The last one also continues a series: Cast Hex. While it is still the latest on the market right now, it has been around for some months, and I am expecting some maze solving here to get the two pieces apart. How to model this as a maze on paper will surely be a challenge as well, but not one I am going for. Solving it by disassembling and then re-assembling until the arrow points to the Hex name inscription should be enough of a challenge.
Added on 2023-08-10
Meanwhile, the IPP design competition entries of this year's IPP have been published, congratulations to all the winners. I have updated the details for all the puzzles from that competition which I have, only a few. From Stephan I also received another entry, also his IPP40 Exchange puzzle: The Diamond Safe. Thanks a lot! There was also an unnanounced update, with the solved pictures of the excellent Clutch series, all 3 of them.
Added on 2023-07-29
Not a new puzzle today, but some details of a recent puzzle I solved: Devil, and this puzzle is really a devil amongst n-ary puzzles. Now I know the details for the entries in Compendium and n-ary puzzle group which have just been added. Please review those for the details.
Added on 2023-07-28
Today a parcel with many packing puzzles arrived from Japan, and all very well made in high quality. While I am not good at solving packing puzzles at all, I had solved one at a puzzle party before and wanted a copy for my collection. Some others were showing up in the present and past design competition, and others simply looked interesting and had famous designer names. The first two are puzzles with very few pieces to be packed into a transparent cube, and this seems to be difficult: Twinship and Triple Product. The next one is restricted opening packing puzzle, and here you can rotate the restricted opening: Turning Quarter Hole. Stairs Posting and P3C are restricted opening packing puzzles, with very different restricted opening. The Nine Balls features two challenges: Pack everything in with each colour of dot showing, and this one was the one I had solved earlier. The Karakuri Packing features blocks and pins to be packed into the box with restricted opening. The last one Trapped Bird has a different kind of challenge: The bird is already in the box and wants to get out, and then back in again. Well, that is going to take a while, lots of puzzling fun!
Added on 2023-07-27
Yesterday evening I solved the excellent Slidebox and had a lot of fun playing with it. Now I know the details for the entries in Compendium and n-ary puzzle group which have just been added.
Added on 2023-07-26
Today some beautifully crafted wood arrived from Austria from my friend Stephan's workshop. Slidebox is a massive puzzlebox and high level interlocking puzzle as well, and can be disassembled into 12 sticks for the frame and 6 boards for the sides, similar to the B-Box from many years ago, and similar to some of Alfons' puzzles. The outside of the panels feature a shallow copy of the maze inside, which is very helpful when trying to solve the puzzle. With this, it is no blind solve, but you can actually plan ahead. Do you remember which puzzle featured this nice feature before? This Slidebox is no joke when it comes to the level: 353 moves are required to remove the first piece, and this is of course a consequence of it being an n-ary puzzle, mixed-base n-ary to be precise. Looking at it, I found different arities on the various panels so far. The other one is smaller, and nearly fits into the cavity of the first one: Devil has a fixed frame and a whopping level 663 (only 3 shy of the number of the beast), also mixed-base n-ary, and also with the nicely decorated maze guide engraved into the outside. It is about the same size like the Super-Cubi (small), but more than double the level, and the mixed base approach will make it more challenging to solve than those very regular n-ary puzzles. I am sure there is a lot of potential to get distracted and to start going backwards in the sequence instead of progressing through the solution. Looks like I am in for over 1000 moves (one way) very soon, and when I have solved these beauties, I will also create their entries in Compendium and n-ary puzzle group, to be precise with the description. Level of over 1000 in total for two puzzles, that is a lot of puzzling fun!
Added on 2023-07-21
Today something unlikely happened, considering how few puzzles I ordered this year so far: Two parcels with puzzle deliveries arrived at the same time. From Pelikanpuzzles some of their latest release (and one from the previous one) arrived. The first one is another of these interlocking boxes with plates in them, forming an interlocking puzzle. I very much liked the one from the last update, so I did not have any doubt to order this new one: Petit Box. The others are designs by my friend Volker, and these are of the kind that are not easy to solve for me: Packing puzzles with many tricks. After the first of the Flop series which I solved with quite some help and assistance, but enjoyed a lot, there are now two more, and they are said to be even better: Fritz Flop is the smallest, and I wonder if that means easiest? The other one is another variant of the well known Soma Cube: Soma Flop. Now I have another Soma cube which is not really a such a cube, but more difficult, and with a twist (litereally!). The last one by the same designer is a burr that comes in pieces and where no target shape is provided. The goal is to assemble these 4 pieces so that all of the notches are filled: Stuffing Burr. It comes in a nice cloth bag with the Pelikan logo on it and is larger than I expected.
The others are some of this year's of Aaron's offerings of highly complicated and beautiful disentanglement puzzles, created by him and his friends. After solving them (which may take a long time considering my backlog, especially in this category), some or even all of them will end up in Compendium and n-ary puzzle group, I am confident about that! The first few have the nice base plate, and some remotely resemble the Chinese Rings: Shuttle Run and Shoulder To Shoulder. However, they look more complicated and seem to have several layers or rings running over several vertical rods. While these had a lot of rings beside the frame and the string loop, the next one only has one ring in the center: Ankle Boots. More rings and three levels are found in the next puzzle: Scaffold. The last one has the most different elements of these puzzles, but no stand: Chandelier. Beside the frame and the loop (without quick release), there is a large ring attached to a small one, and oval loops of different sizes.
All these puzzles arriving today will surely provide hours and hours of puzzling fun, and will take a long time to solve, and I am looking forward to all those discoveries I am surely going to make.
Added on 2023-07-15
Today a parcel from West Berlin arrived, and while this was the former name of our current German capitol several decades ago, it seems this is from a town in New Jersey with the same name, and this is where the Wood Wonders workshop is located. Learning something new every day! Inside, three TICs. The first one is Clutch 1 and was one of the prize puzzles in the 2022 IPP Design Competition. It is a TIC (Turning Interlocking Cube), and while this in gerneral is a 4x4x4 puzzle, there is a little trick used in this one, in the form of a half voxel somewhere — can you spot it in the picture? This is to support the crazy rotations this puzzle uses. So far, I managed to assemble the two larger pieces to see where the smaller piece should go, and there are a lot of rotations for this partial assembly already, and I can see this half voxel causing me issues and making the solution more interesting. For placing the third piece into the assembly (meaning: not assembling all three pieces, just determining where they will need to go), the puzzle is playing some tricks on you. Now with all the target positions determined, I will only need to figure out a way to perform the actual assembly, and I am already getting idea why the puzzle won a prize in the competition. I originally missed out when the puzzle was offered for sale the first time and sold out within seconds, and was happy to see that it was offered again in an extended edition: There are two more variants, each with more rotations than the previous one, and I guess all of them a good TIC assembly challenge: Clutch 2 and Clutch 3. While these may be evolutions of the same puzzle design, the pieces look quite different (and no half voxels here!), even though they are supposed to behave similar in parts of the solution. This is going to take a while and will be a lot of puzzling involved! All three puzzles were created from mixed exotic woods, and they look beautiful and feel very well crafted, which makes them even more fun to play with. I still haven't solved most of the previous puzzles, and I have the feeling the solving backlog is going the wrong way again. Happy puzzling!
Added on 2023-07-05
Earlier this year, I bought the cute Ziggy puzzle from Rademic Puzzles, and was happy to see a second puzzle in this series being announeced recently. It is from the same cooperation of designers and this time it comes in purple colour and has the name Stella. The cylinder of both puzzles has the same dimensions, but the faces are quite different, and Stella comes with a stand. According to the instructions, Stella had a whirlwind romance lately and we now need to get inside her head and discover what she was thinking about. Fiddling with the visible elements a bit has already revealed some discoveries, but not enough to solve the puzzle. The game is on! Maybe I should swap some of the tools with the Bandit to solve both puzzles? Well, better not do that!
Added on 2023-06-26
After having fun solving some of my nice recent puzzle acquisitions (with a hard to find step in Dial Case, a fascinating assembly in Shutout, and an interesting sequence in Tetra Flop with some assembly help), I have still failed some others. Time to work on the budget for puzzle acqusitions, for expensive puzzles. For that, I ordered myself a gambling machine to gain some money. Maybe I got that a bit wrong and it cost a decent amount of money instead of adding to the puzzle budget? Today a hefty red The Bandit puzzle arrived. Doesn't it look beautiful and like one of those bandits that eat up all your coins and will only perform some turning action with the wheels when pulling the lever, but rarely return any money? Well, it seems that my copy is broken and does not even do anything when pulling the lever. Maybe it is because of the missing money?
More likely, it is because it is a puzzle and the card says: The Bandit is broken and in need of repair. Looks like you are asked to find some tools to repair the machine, and so far I have already found one of them. It is nice to have an easy start of a puzzle that then becomes difficult with surprises (just my uneducated guess about this puzzle). Looking forward to win the Jackpot eventually, and according to the card no gambling is allowed! That is going to be fun!
Added on 2023-06-13
When the last Pelikan release was due, there was a surprise release from the other side of the world, from Pluredro. Up for limited pre-order was Juno's latest sequential discovery puzzle: Dial Case. Of course, I did not have to think twice and ordered this immediately, and today it arrived. It has a nice size and is made from beautiful woods, and has some elements that you can interact with. Only that at the beginning, nothing really moves, and I guess it is only a slight spoiler to mention that the dial would not turn. The puzzle is from the sequential discovery class, and indeed I have made some discoveries already, including some discoveries that do not make sense to me yet. Fascinating! I guess there is much more to be found and puzzling fun to be had, and I am looking forward to that! Regular release of this puzzle will be this weekend, so there is still the chance to buy one for your collection.
Added on 2023-06-10
Some beautiful wooden puzzles arrived today from Czech Republic, and while it is too hot for me here to solve complicated puzzles at the moment, I am looking forward to solving them. I have actually fiddled with them a bit and they are in the usual excellent quality to be expected from Pelikan Puzzles. The first one is a prize puzzle from last year's IPP design competition, and while it looks simple, it surely is not: Shutout. Packing 6 identical T tetrominoes into that box so that both openings are covered completely sounds easy. I did play with an original copy by the designer earlier this year for a few minutes and got nowhere. Fascinating! The next one was put into the "coffee table" category by his designer, so hopefully I will be able to solve this one within reasonable time: Ode to the Bevel. It has 5 identical shapes, all triangular prisms with some bevel at all of the triangle corners. Looks like these bevels are an important part of the solution, and it would not have been possible without. The Tetra Flop is a bit more complicated: putting all tetrominoes into this oddly shaped flat box with two openings. The larger front opening spans accross the whole side length of the puzzle, and the other dimension is around 1.5 units. From a little playing, I can tell that this seems to enable some rotations to get some of the pieces out. On the back, there is another smaller opening, of 2 units by well below 1 unit. No cubies can stick out here, so that must have some other purpose, like enabling rotations again? I played with a 3D printed and hollow version earlier this year, and it already had all the pieces inside (not like this copy with a different, partial packing assembly). This puzzle is from the series of Volker's cooperations, where Oskar helped with prototyping. The next one reminded me of some older puzzles I have in my collection and enjoy, and this one is by Osanori again: Slider 2. Playing with it, I can already tell that I like this puzzle a lot, and having found only around a handful of moves so far, I am looking forward to find the rest. The last one is not from the Burr Zoo, as it has no animal piece inside, but is instead shaped like an animal (or ex-animal?): Dino. A beautiful looking puzzle that definitely deserves to be displayed in a well visible spot. Originally designed by Christoph for a higher level, Kevin found a rotational shortcut. I quickly managed to find the same shortcut, but I don't consider that a real flaw, but now it is more like a puzzle with two challenges: with and without rotations. Five more beautiful puzzles to be added to my solving backlock (which was only shrinking very slowly), and there are some big ones to arrive soon!
Added on 2023-06-01
Three new twisties from Nowstore. The first one started off as a knock-off, but then the designer managed to get it made legal (and this version bought through the link shared by the designer): Mental Block mini. I have played with a much larger handmade version in the past, and I remember it becoming quite confusing to solve, hence the name is appropriate, even thnough it is "just a Skewb". With it, I ordered two fascinating hybrid puzzles: 2x2x2 Slide Cube and 3x3x3 Slide Cube. Both are nicely turning cubes of the larger kind, and they have one removable tile that is only held in place with a magnet. After removing this one, it becomes a large sliding piece puzzle, and that combined with the twisty mechanics as a hybrid. Not sure whether I should scramble them already, and what the side effects of the combination may be.
Added on 2023-05-30
Today most likely the last new puzzle for this month arrived: Pocket Change purple. This is the fourth one in the nice Pocket Change series of small puzzles. The colour is like some other puzzles by the same designer, so this preference may explain it. No actual money is included, but I can see some play money coin in that typical square window. Playing with it, I have already managed to extract the coin, a nice and easy puzzle.
Added on 2023-05-11
When a new puzzle was announced recently, alone from the looks of it and the theme I was immediately sure I wanted to have one: Al Bus. It is a bus puzzle, and comes with a trunk and a scroll. The bus is a purple triple decker bus, and I only remember seeing that one in one context so far, something with "Night Bus" or "Knight Bus", or whatever it was. This is a 3D printed sequential discovery puzzle, and while it contains both a bus and a trunk, it is of nice and reasonable size. A puzzle friend of mine also spoke very highly of it, so I am not only admiring the beauty of the presentation, but also looking forward to solving this puzzle. Hopefully it will not require any magic to solve it!
Added on 2023-04-30
Party Time! For today, Wil had invited to a nice puzzle party at his place, and there were many puzzlers present, old friends, and even new ones, and also a few MP Discord members from the region. Thank you, Wil! Michel had a nice challenge to begin with, and I have named it without knowing the real name: Borromean Security Pins. The objective is clear, just that it is not about borromean rings this time, but security pins. Don't hurt your fingers or your brain when playing with this! Thank you, Michel! Wil had many nice puzzles for offer, and I found two very well made ones from the Laser Exact series (and they are starting to get rare nowadays!): Double Cross and Ranking Stars. Both fun to play with and very well operating, but may not be too easy to solve. The Ranking Stars seems to come with some difficulty selectors in the form of bandaging plates. The Two Brass Monkeys and some other MPP friends were also present, and they had a nice new puzzle for sale: Burrly Legal. Can you believe it? An 18 pieces burr made from brass, and consisting of round rods. It has a pretty low level, but it is still a great addition to the 18 pieces burrs group. It seems there is some consensus that with round rods, there can be no internal voids for these puzzles, or they would be visible (and not internal any more). Well, I have to think about that, and also about the large amount of little rubber bands that came with the puzzle for assembly. In any case, it is a great looking and cute, small sized puzzle (good for collection space issues!) and I am looking forward to solving it to see all the work and creativity that went into it. Yesterday I solved the two escape room boxes already, which did not take me very long, but I had a lot of fun with well working clues, some new and unusual puzzle elements, and overall very good puzzle engineering. Looking forward to see what they will bring next, after releasing these two puzzle boxes publicly in a few months, that is! Today's haul is now adding to my backlog again, and I am afraid it will not go away anytime soon.
Added on 2023-04-27
Two boxes from the Legacy of the Alchimists Kickstarter campaign arrived, and are nice looking plywood and acrylic escape room in a box puzzles from a new German designer and manufacturer. It is the third German company producing such boxes, so it seems Germany is the hub for these puzzles. They are of around the same size of the ones from other manufacturers and they look great. They were available in three colours and I chose a mixed set. The Philosopher's Stone Puzzle Box arrived with nice blue acrylic, and there is a lot going on you can see on the surface: Many symbols, lines gears, switches. The other one I chose to be red, and it is a Newton themed box: Anti-Gravity Puzzle Box. At first glance, it has less elements on the surfaces, but there are also some acrylic covers with some steel balls beneath, and that was a nice element in one of the previous boxes I received last year, so I am looking forward to solve these two here. It looks like the first company producing such boxes has already announced an upcoming crowdfunding campaign for the next box, and we will not run out of these boxes anytime soon. Now I am looking forward to solve these two, and it is good that we have a long weekend coming up, even though I have quite some time planned in for some other puzzle related activities already.
Added on 2023-04-25
Today the latest of Rex' nice acrylic puzzles arrived, and I wonder if there is something illegal going on with it. Or it may just be the name: Ill Eagle. There is actually an eagle in that little forest to be freed. I have found it already, but not saved yet. I have an idea what the final step may be for the solution, but that also means that the eagle will have a long way to travel. Looking forward to solve this one, and maybe I will disassemble it afterwards to look at all the internal mechanism details.
Added on 2023-04-23
On GCD, I borrowed a disentanglement puzzle from my friend Michel, which we discussed before. After some analysis, there is now a Compendium entry for it. Thank you!
Added on 2023-04-22
Today I went to the German Cube Day puzzle meeting this year, and while the trip there was a bit of a puzzle this time, we had a great time and I met many of my puzzle friends again and we had many puzzle related chats. The welcome gift is a 3D printed ball maze and has 3 rotatable layers and a small ball inside: AmazeIn' Loops. Quite nice looking and I heard it went through several iterations of testing to make it even more difficult. Then there was a puzzle designer who was not present, but had quite an impact on my puzzle haul: The 4 PAC I received earlier, but it only found the way to me now. It has 4 PAC-man shaped pieces and all should fit into the box without damaging it. Thanks for this fascinating puzzle, Volker! Christoph offered me one of his designs, and I had play-tested it in a 3D printed version, and found some rotational shortcuts there. I had only borrowed the prototype for testing, but even though it seems to have the shortcut as well (to be confirmed), it looked nice enough to me to get one: TimBurr. With it, I bought some of Volker's puzzles from Christoph and Hendrik, which I had missed as before: Tube in Cube has different length of these tubes to fit in. For SANTA it may be the wrong season, but maybe I can solve it until the correct season this year? As a side note: The picture of this puzzle contains a bit of a spoiler — about the name of the puzzle. The next one was in the IPP design competition this year: HEINZ. Only two sizes of cuboids to pack into the box, and just a slight restriction via some acrylic lips, how hard can that be? Well, I may comment on that after solving, not before! The next puzzle I found on offer in a lot of old IPP puzzles, and I had seen it before: Aroma. Spoiler: a packing and coordinate motion puzzle, that is something! The last one I spotted to be for sale on Jacks's table: Sidestep II. This is an improved version of the original Sidestep which Jack had sent me last year for solving, and which I solved after quite some time, and a few slight hints. Jack assured me that this new and improved version would not be too difficult for me, as the first around 100 moves are still the same, but then things change and not only the level is higher, but also a different piece is removed first than for the first iteration of the puzzle. I am looking forward to play with this one, and hopefully I will remember a bit of the solution I worked out for the first one last year! For a start, I have already put it into its official place in the 18 pieces burrs group page. With these two, there are now 3 families of high level 18 pieces burrs with level 100+. Quite some interesting puzzles, and a great day! The next puzzle meeting should not be too far away, and it is good that we can finally meet in person again!
Added on 2023-03-28
Of the last puzzle arriving, Walter's Radio, I have only found some first steps, and already some new puzzles have arrived. The first one is a variant of one I already have: 2x4x6 Square Cuboid is the cubic version of the pillowed one released many years ago. I remember solving that once only and having some detailed discussions with a puzzle friend back then. The next puzzle is the real reason for this order, a new hybrid puzzle: 2x2x2 Helicopter Corner Turning Cube. This one combines face turning (2x2x2) moves, edge turns, and corner turns. Jumbling does not seem to be possible on this one, but many other non shape-shifting moves. These moves all move nicely, not like some other twisties starting to spit out pieces after a few turns. A nice addition to the whole Helicopter cube family I have, and I am looking forward to scrambling and solving both new arrivals. Or rather: solving! I have done the scrambling part already and maybe I should not have done that?
Added on 2023-03-25
While I haven't bought that many puzzles recently, I knew I wanted to have this one when I saw it. Last year Angry Walter set off to conquer the world and also arrived at my place in his mission. Even though I managed to disarm and deactivate him, it seems this story is not over yet. Now, his communication device has showed up: Walter's Radio. While I missed the first release due to some appointments, it was easy enough to buy one from the second batch of this beautiful wooden puzzle. The size is about in the same range like Walter's head, and seems to be a very comfortable size for handling. This time, it is the task to retrieve the hidden DED chip to deactivate the radio, and no spinning or hitting will be required. Most of it seems to be a solid block of wood, but there are some interactive elements that allow you to interact with the puzzle. Just, that they don't want to interact yet. Fascinating! I have already heard that it should be more complex and more difficult to solve, and I am expecting quite a puzzle journey here. Let's see what happens to Walter's plans after this one has been disengaged, but for that I will have to find the solution to the radio first. At the moment, I am mainly admiring the wood craftsmanship of this puzzle, and have already started thinking about some possible asepects of the solution, but without success so far. This is going to be puzzling fun!
Added on 2023-03-23
From Nowstore today some brand new twisties arrived. The first one is the same size of a Rubik's 3x3x3, but it has a more delicate mechanism and a lot going on inside: Orbit Cube. There is a hidden central and stationary gear on each side, and turning the face makes the four little circles spin around simultaneously. This allows for some additional action with the pieces of the circles mixing, and I am not sure whether I will ever scramble this cube completely or just admire the mechanism with a few moves easily reverted. Watching the small circles rotate is already a good deal of entertainment. The second one I already have in parts, and it is going into my twisty octahedra group. It is actually a hybrid of two puzzles: Hexagram Octahedron. A Traijber's Octahedron where the tips can rotate and subdividing each of the 3 coordinate axis into three layers, like you would expect on a regular 3x3x3 cube. The other rotations possible are coming from a Skew, or in this context more precise: a Dino Skewb. You can rotate the halves along a cutting plane running through the middle of the puzzle, parallel to two opposide sides. The puzzle was 3D printed (using FDM printing) and you can see this techniques in mid turns from the piece surface structure. However, the puzzle does not have the typical lightweight feel of such a 3D print with it, but feels nicely heavy, almost like a cast puzzle. Movement is excellent, and so far I have not found any strange shape shifting moves typical for such hybrids, and everything aligns nicely. However, that does not necessary mean there are no such shape shifting moves!
Added on 2023-03-20
Today some heavy metal arrived very well packaged from the UK, in a nice pouch inside a box: Free the Washer. The name says it all.
However, maybe a bit more of a description is in order. The puzzle consists of a sturdy and well made cage crafted from brass and steel, and inside there is indeed a washer. The washer has a little gap, but that is too narrow to move it around one of the thinner bolts. I have made some interesting discovery that will definitely be part of the solution, but have not progressed any further. Now it is time to start theorizing and then try to implement some of these theories to solve the puzzle. I wonder if that discovery is really part of the solution, but I will see. A great looking puzzle, and I am looking forward to solve it!
Added on 2023-03-17
The latest arrival from Pluredro showed up today: A nice new 6BB, and number 7 in the series: Grooved 6 Board Burr #7. This one has a lot of visible studs from the beginning on, but that does not mean it is a LEGO puzzle. After all, it has been crafted from beautiful woods. I have only started playing with it a bit, and there are some moves and configurations that will not occur on a regular 6 pieces Board Burr (6BB). The level provided in the description on the shop web site looks astronomic for this kind of puzzle, and I am looking forward to solve that one. Still have another astronomy related puzzle to be solved, and only progressed a bit on the planet from 10 days ago. Two nice looking but completely different interlocking puzzles, but both look like fun. If you are interested, there are still some available of this interesting 6BB at the Pluredro shop.
Added on 2023-03-07
Stephan not only designs nice interlocking puzzles, but often enough he also crafts them as a beautiful work of art, like the one having arrived today: Satburrn. The name relates to the planet in our solar system, and it is quite obvious that it fits very well. When I saw it on a picture, I immediately knew I wanted one for my collection. In real life it looks even nicer and the craftsmanship is excellent. There are not many burrs with a round shape, but this is one of them and it makes sense. Playing with it, I have already found some moves, but I am still a long while away from solving it. This is going to be fun!
Added on 2023-03-01
March begins with a new puzzle. It is built from LEGO bricks, and a cute pocket-sized puzzle box: The aMAZEing PuzzleBox. While I was skeptical to have a puzzle box that could be disassembled (by accident) and then maybe never re-assembled, I heard other people speak high of this box, and this made me curious. Right now, there is a special offer on the QuizBrix web site, and so I went for it. The box arrived quickly, and in the black variant I have, it looks great. There are some decorations, windows, and openings. Some of the decorations even pick up the maze theme from the name, but the real mazes are waiting inside, and there is more than one of them. Creating another pun with the name of the box, it is amazing how these mazes were fit into such a small box! I have solved the box, and it is indeed a sequential discovery puzzle, meaning you have to find some tools and use them for progressing, but not disassembling any part of the puzzle. That is one of the forbidden things for LEGO puzzles! With these openings and decorations, the box somehow guides your solution and you know when you have found a tool to be used! Midway through the solution some of the windows allowed me to derive an idea what to do later, and that indeed worked. Very clever! Once solved, a golden bar can be extracted from the box, together with a QR code for the reset instructions. Not needed if you have solved the puzzle before, as the reset is not too difficult and a fun secondary challenge. I have already solved the puzzle box — a couple of times, so I know my solution works. And with the mazes it means that the solve does not become trivial the second time and keeps the challenge. A fun sequential discovery puzzle box, and now I know why other puzzlers like it. There is so much going on with this thing!
Added on 2023-02-17
Today a long visit into the Burr Zoo ended, with the conclusion of an archeological expedition uncovering the secrets of a sphinx! See the group page for details about this puzzle.
Added on 2023-01-19
Just in case I get thirsty and want a soda, I have got myself a small cola machine: Cola Conundrum. Of course, this is a puzzle, and of the sequential discovery kind, where you have to actually get a little drink out of this machine. It has been 3D printed, but there are also other parts inside, as one can guess from the quite heavy weight for such a puzzle. It looks like all these colourful buttons play an important role in the solve, and I am curious how long it will take me to finally get the drink! A very nice looking puzzle clearly following its theme, maybe the solve as well?
Added on 2023-01-14
From Oskar I received a parcel with a beautiful puzzle inside, that consists of both rainbow coloured pieces and gold/silver/bronze, and is obviously enabled by 3D printing: Binary Disk. We had a quick discussion about this puzzle before, based on his video, that was just published on Youtube a few hours ago. There is a link to the video referenced in the Compendium entry, if you would like to take a look, and the entry contains also a description of how the puzzle works. Of course, the video may be a better way to actually understand it. The puzzle has 8 knobs in specially arranged channels, and a central disk rotating with the moves of the knobs, and that enables and blocks other moves. This could easily be generalized to larger or smaller disk sizes with more or less knobs, which is why it qualifies as a binary puzzle in the Compendium and also the n-ary puzzle group. After receiving the puzzle, the main part was to find out how it works, and to play with it. The moves are magnet assisted and the nice movements with a loud "clack" when the magnets get involved could also make this puzzle a fidget toy. However, this puzzle is far from trivial, and also features multiple challenges. Still remains to be fully analyzed, but meanwhile I will do a lot of clack-ing just for the fun playing with it! Many thanks, Oskar!
Added on 2023-01-11
Today a parcel from Czech Republic arrived, and it contained a nice metal puzzle with the same name like a nice comic strip: Ziggy. This guy looks cute and a little confused, and it is strange that he would have screws as his eyes. It all starts to make sense when you start solving, and so far I have found a tool to work on something on the puzzle. High quality made from metal and I like what I have seen so far. A cute puzzle and fun to play with!
Added on 2023-01-07
The Stern Box has been confusing me for a while, and after opening one compartment and finding out what was going on, I finally managed to open all the others. The solve is partially a blind solve of an n-ary puzzle, which can be quite confusing, and the four doors at the sides also need to be opened in a certain sequence. I have finally added both n-ary puzzle group and Compendium entries, and for this also a partial disassembly of the box was performed to show the n-ary puzzle hidden inside, in a picture in the Compendium entry.
Added on 2023-01-06
The first update of this year arrived from Puzzlemaster today. The main reason for this order was a new puzzle for n-ary puzzle group and Compendium: Eurofalle 8 / Auf dem Holzweg. This is No 8 in the Eurofalle series, and like the Voidlock, this is an earlier puzzle transformed into a sliding lock puzzle. The goal is to remove the 20 Euro cents coin. Like for the original Auf dem Holzweg puzzle, this one consists of two 3-ary puzzles combined. First, one should solve the first 3 levels, then transition all sliders to the lower half, and then solve that one to complete the puzzle. The Gravity Lock seems to have gravity as one of the elements, and I have seen how part of this mechanism works, but not solved yet. The Hysteresis Key is a 3D printed remake of a puzzle I already have, and it shows some potential of 3D printing. Here, the puzzle is no blind maze solve, but you can actually see what you are doing, and this is possible by using 3D printed transparent material. The red pin needs to traverse through the maze pieces held by this transparent cover, and the only option you have is pushing and pulling the key. Trying to move the pin holder or using gravity is not an allowed option. The next puzzle is also 3D printed and a variant of a puzzle I have: XO Cube is a variant of the Dino Cube, and this time as a 3D printed twisty puzzle. There are 12 sliding blocks in the frame, and for a FDM printed puzzle, the movement is very good! So far I have solved 3 of the puzzles already, hence not much impact on my solving backlog — yet there are many puzzles still waiting to be solved this year.
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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.