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 2023-03-28
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.
Added on 2022-12-28
Yesterday we had a small puzzle meeting of 8 puzzlers at friend's place and had a great time. Christoph had some prototypes of his puzzles and I received one of them: Corsage. As well as in some of the others, I found a rotational shortcut, but it is quite some work to set up, and does not change the level a lot. In my view it is more a puzzle with two challenges: Solve it the Burr-Tools way, and then solve it involving rotations in a more creative way. The 3D print is nicely done and looks nice with the silvery colours as well. A nice puzzle, thanks a lot! Having submitted my nomination for the best puzzle acquisitions of the year already, there are still many to be solved, and I wonder how many I will manage to solve still this year. A lot of puzzling fun left, to be sure!
Added on 2022-12-24
Today two parcels were ready at the post office, so I went to pick up some x-mas parcels. The first one was recently released via the Discord and is a 3D printed puzzle box. When placing the order, one could go for assembled or disassembled (was recommended) and the last one was what I went for: Heart Box. This is not the first puzzle box I have to assemble before being able to open it again, but the first 3D printed one. And also the black box body comes apart into more pieces, and additional challenge! Update: Assembled and solved (both ways). A cute box with a nice solution sequence!
The second one was a present from Tanner and Geneva from their "What Did I Get Myself Into?" YouTube channel: W.D.I.G.M.I. PUZZLE. The pieces come in what seems to be Tanner's favorite color (look at the background shelves in his videos!), and the box to pack the pieces in mimicks the question mark which is the logo of this channel. I am sure it will not be easy (that is what it also says on the note!), but fun to play with, as it is also made in high quality. Tanner and I had some nice converations about The Tippenary Mystery tour some time ago, when he was solving the puzzle and then consequently making a video about it, and I think it is a great and fun video! Many thanks for the special gift!
Happy holidays and all the best in 2023 (with a lot of puzzling fun!) to all who like reading this page!
Added on 2022-12-22
Solving the Tvnary was more confusing and difficult than I thought it would be, and it seems the additional maze component did a good job to achieve this. After disassembly of the puzzle, I have added entries to n-ary puzzle group and compendium for it.
Added on 2022-12-20
A few days ago a massive 3D printed puzzle padlock arrived, and I already had a lot of fun playing with it. Discovered many tools and mechanisms in the Pooplock already, just have not solved it completely. Today a smaller 3D printed padlock arrived: Dial It In. This puzzle has the key already stuck in the keyway (cannot simply be pulled out) and there seems to be some rotating mechanism around it, and some clues on the backside, all matching the name in some way. Of course, all this could be red herrings, but there seems to be a lot going on in this cute lock. I am curious to see which one I will solve first, the large red one, or the small blue one. More puzzling fun for me while I am slowly progressing with these and other puzzles.
Added on 2022-12-17
Today the postman brought two parcels, and while I have not solved yesterday's nice puzzles yet, there are 5 more puzzles, and they look great, and none of them is made from wood. The first one was designed by Mickael last year, when he was joining the Discord's Secret Santa event and wanted to present a special puzzle, and he showed the design process on his YouTube channel Beats and Pieces in several videos (without spoilers, so I don't know anything of the solution), and this is now one of the limited series he released a year later. He must have some affection for the Popplocks, as the name (and also mentioned designer name) are clearly influenced by this: Pooplock #1 looks like a large lock and the key shows the name of the puzzle, like the Popplock T11's key does. This lock is not made from metal, but 3D printed in very high quality, and I also see some non-3D-printed components, and there is a lot to hear inside when shaking the lock a bit. There are 3 buttons in the front, but pushing any of them is not possible (at least from what I can tell until now).
The other parcel is from Rex, and they are 3D printed puzzles, or the typical puzzles made from cut acrylic sheets we like so much, or combining both, like the first one: The Tvnary is a puzzle designed by Tamas, and my guess (from the name, the description, and what I have seen so far) is that it is n-ary. Once I know the parameters after solving, I will add a compendium and group page entry, but there are many moves to be carried out before! The other 3 are cute pocket sized sequential discovery puzzles: Cross my Heart is the latest one and 3D printed. It features a dovetail joint in the middle layers, and I am sure that will need to be unlocked at some point. Nothing moves so far, and there is a lot of rattling inside from small parts. The Fring's Stone seems to fall under the theme "hexagonal". The overall shape is a hexagonal prism and there are hexagonal decorations to be found in serveral places. I have already found a first tool, and I am curious to see the whole puzzle and solution of this puzzle with many acrylic layers. The next one is a bit newer even, and beautifully decorated: Gumball Money. I have found some pieces/tools in more or less obvious places and was in for a little surprise, and this before starting solving seriously. After solving and enjoying the two previous multi layered acrylic puzzles recently, I am now looking forward to more puzzling fun with the 5 puzzles which arrived today, and all those still in my solving backlog!
Added on 2022-12-16
Two parcels with special puzzles arrived today. The first one is a 1st prize winner from this year's IPP Design Competition. It is 3D printed and can be printed with your own 3D printer, bought via one of the printing services, which I went for. It is the Garage Box, and looks like a little car garage with the swinging door. Once assembled, the door swings like in a garage, and then there are 4 yellow pieces to be packed into this box and then close the door. Of course, the garage door will require some inside space of the box to move, so just finding an assembly and inserting it into the box does not work. So far I have managed to pack 3 pieces in and close the box, but there is no space for the lat one. The other parcel is a traditional parcel for this time of the year, the Karakuri Christmas presents I have selected. Please don't click on these links if you don't want to be spoiled on how they look like. They look beautiful and well made as always, and I will add the names when I know them (early next year). These are the two: X-mas present 2022 and X-mas present 2022. More puzzling fun and adding to the puzzle solving backlog!
Added on 2022-12-05
Today I went to the local supermarket and came back with some change after paying with my credit card. How is that possible? Well, next to the supermarket there is the post shop (where they are trying to solve enormous packing puzzles made of cardboard boxes this time of the year), and there I picked up a parcel with some puzzles. And as for the change, look at the name of the new puzzles! Pocket Change yellow, Pocket Change orange, and Pocket Change red. Three cute 3D printed coin release puzzles, and they all came in nice cloth bags matching the puzzle colours. The orange one looks like it was coming from Cubicdissection, but that is clearly not the case. I have started playing with one of them, and quite like what I have seen so far.
Added on 2022-12-03
A parcel arrived from Czech Republik with my delivery of their Christmas release this year, 3 beautifully crafted wooden puzzles (and I already have a fourth of the current release). I ordered some packing puzzles again, even though I am not very good at solving them. The first one I heard about from the designer a few weeks ago, where he described how he had created a new puzzle, roughly based on the famous Casino, but this time with two heart shaped pieces to pack into the box with the others: EROS. It was designed for his brother's wedding, and that clearly explains why there are two hearts in this puzzle. It works quite similar to Casino at first, and I am not sure whether the knowledge of that puzzle is good for solving this one. 15 minutes of have passed already and it is still unsolved, but I guess it won't be for long! The next one is an interesting packing puzzle in a frame: Pearl. From the name, you can guess what is inside: a shiny blue marble for the pearl. The wooden cube in the frame has been locked into place with 3 wooden dovels, and there is also a tool to push these out and then start unpacking the puzzle. Aim is to find one of the two assemblies to get everything back together again. The last one is a burr, which is a variation on the standard 6 piece burr: Snooky. Still 6 burr sticks, but they have been amended by six wenge blocks to make the puzzle more interesting. This reminded me of one of my favorite 18 pieces burrs by the same designer, with some sticks extended in a similar way (Can you guess which one it is?). More beautiful puzzles for my solving backlog, and I must admit that I have been testing unpublished prototypes recently, rather than solving finished products. Now I have enough not to get bored for a while!
Added on 2022-11-25
One of the older Perplexus variants was not offered on German auction platforms in recent times, and instead of going for an overseas offer, I decided to wait and finally found a good local offer. Today it arrived: Perplexus Twist. This one seems to be a bit more difficult and requiring more dexterity in some parts, despite the low number of barriers. There are two knobs on the top and bottom, and while one is solidly attached to the base, the other one can rotate and with it the colourful upper half rotates. Like for some other dynamic Perplexus puzzles, you have to align the pathways for the ball to continue, and of course not drop the ball while doing this. In the middle, there is an additional rotating part, which is not fixed to the lower or upper half, but rotates on its own and a bit slower than the upper part. This is also where the goal position is, so I guess I will not need to worry about that one for a while! Still many of my Perplexus puzzles have not been solved yet, and now there is another one! I am curious to see which adventures this one brings.
Added on 2022-11-21
Recently I decided to order the latest Cast puzzle, and also added some other puzzles to the parcel, all from Hanayama: Cast Tube is the latest Cast puzzle and the goal is to take it apart and reassemble it again. The Amaze Cube works like a Perplexus, and reminds me of all of those still to be solved. I am curious how this compares to the known ones and how difficult it will be. The last one is a nice looking packing puzzle, and probably less complicated than the similar looking one I already have: Bottle Ship, but this one has the twist that it has two layers to pack! More puzzles for my solving backlog, and more puzzling fun!
Added on 2022-11-20
After successfully discovering the secrets of the Sundial Puzzle Box, and enjoying this adventure a lot, today it is time for a short report about a visit into a fantasy scenario, and going for a vampire hunt. While there was no animal to be found, it was still a burr with a secret hidden inside, hence you can view the story on my Burr Zoo page.

Another update in the evenning: After solving the Dracula puzzle this morning, I also managed to solve Dracula 2 and have already created some text about this on my Burr Zoo page. Two nice, well crafted, and fun but not too difficult puzzles today.
Added on 2022-11-15
Without warning last week Boaz released a new puzzle padlock at his Puzzlocks shop, and it arrived earlier today: Loophole. I see where the name seems to be coming from, and it seems to be quite fitting, but not sure if this insight will help. My feeling is that something strange is going on inside this lock. The usual way of unlocking the lock with the key does not seem to work, and that was to be expected. It would not be a puzzle lock if the key simply opened the lock, would it? Well, there are locks that are easy to unlock and (very) difficult to properly re-lock again, but that it is another story. I am looking forward to unlock this lock, and to find out how this is done!
Added on 2022-11-13
The adventure continues! Today I played a bit more with the Sundial Box in the evening, and found something frightening — but then something useful as well. This solve really feels like an Indiana Jones adventure! However, this is not the real adventure of today, but we finally had another puzzle party at a friend's place, and I met some puzzle friends there some of which I had not seen for a long time, and we had a lot of fun and chat. We were also offered to buy some puzzles, and I have not returned home empty handed. I found some nice and older puzzles, most of them in cube shape. Removable Structure is a Benedetti design I did not have before, and it looks massive and interesting to play with. The Variation on a Waltz may be a variation on the Slow Waltz puzzle, and that was great to solve. Also a 3D printed puzzle was found, and this seems to be a really interesting TIC: ApocalypTIC, a collaboration of two designers and based on one puzzle I already have. The next one was an Exchange puzzle, and I have a variation of this, but this one does have colour contraints. As seen in the picture, the puzzle was purposefully assembled in the wrong way: Life@21. Goal is to reassemble with matching colours, of course! The next two are puzzles from Japan: Twin Cubes bears some resemblance with the Awoi cubes, also for the pieces, but this is two cubes fused into a common frame! The last one is another one in a series I already have (twice): Lock-N-Cube. It feels a bit like Accordeon/Disjointed Cube, with pieces behaving the same way, but it is different. Those nice puzzles add up to my solving backlog pile, and I hope I will be able to progress — unless I get caught in a deadly trap in my Sundial Box adventure!
Added on 2022-11-12
Recently, I have started solving the Sundial Box, and while not completely solved yet, I like what I have found so far. The theme of the box supports the feeling of an Indiana Jones like adventure in a Mayan temple, traps included! There is another puzzle that offers a bit of that feeling, and today I got the rewards of my puzzle solving Treasure Quest. As it is a burr with additional pieces inside, you can find my report on the Burr Zoo page, describing all the fun I had.
Added on 2022-11-09
Yesterday hit many of us in the puzzle community with very sad news, over at the Cubicdissection Web Site. Eric Fuller was an important person in the puzzle community, with his extra level of attention to detail, precision, and quality that brought us many beautifully crafted puzzles, his enthousiasm to try out new things by building new puzzles which others thought to be too difficult to manufacture, creatively design new puzzle ideas, and support the whole puzzle community by running several major puzzle web sites. I have met Eric in person only a few times, and many conversations via mail and recently on the Discord showed what good kind of guy he was, and this also showed in the way how he operated his shop. Eric, you will be missed!
The new puzzle which arrived today is a succesor in a series of puzzles: Dayan Gem 10. It seems this combines shape and moves from both Dayan Gem 1 and 2, and it seems that #9 was not released to mass production yet. Not sure if I will attempt to solve this one today, as I more feel like playing with some Cubicdissection puzzles again. No chance of solving all of them I have, as they include many complex solutions, and the sheer number of them: 138, collected since my first order in 2009. Seems like Eric had quite an impact on my puzzle collecting, and I am not the only one out there!
Added on 2022-11-04
After solving some excellent and complex puzzles recently (the last one of them yesterday), today showed a surprise package with another one, which was on my list but I was not sure when it would be ready for me. I had ordered this box quite some time ago, and now here it is: Sundial Box. It looks very beautiful and like an old artifact from the ancient Mayas. However, it is brand new and was designed by two excellent puzzle box designers. Jesse and team have been busy building these beauties, and I am not surprised it took that long. Look at all those details! My copy marks the half way point of the 400 in the series, and this seems to be a huge endeavour. I am curious to see what secrets it will hide. As usual for historical artifacts, it does not come with instructions (just a nice certificate), and one has to find out more about the mysteries behind it. Beside the many decorations, there are also some moving parts, and even a gear mechanism visible on top. Looks like I may be going on kind of a history expedition soon!
Added on 2022-11-03
Originally I had thought that it would become more quiet here until the X-mas presents arrive later on, maybe adding some updates about solving Zoo Burrs or n-ary puzzles, but today there is an update to a different group, that has not seen updates for almost 2 years, the twisty octahedra group. While the tip/corner turning óctahedron has been around for several decades, and also the face turning octahedron is already two decades old, there is a new mass produced one closing a gap: Edge Turning Octahedron. There were some special cases of an edge turning one, mainly based on the clover cube, and some of them not even mass produced, but here we now have an edge turning mass produced one with straight cuts. The cuts may not be what you would expect from the TTO and FTO, and I still have to understand this geometry completely. It seems to be based on some Helicopter/Curvy Copter (as it is face turning), and the Twistypuzzles.com Museum confirms that it is based on the non-mass-produced Curvy Copter II. This also means shape shifting is going on, and while it does not seem possible at first, it is indeed possible by carefully lining up the pieces of two adjacent edges. I am not really sure whether I should explore this and risk having a puzzle that will never be an octahedron again, but it is fascinating that this is possible. A true edge turner! I may be repeating myself when I mention that I had never thought that my page of the octahedron twisty puzzles would evolve from a page with a few rare and hard to find puzzles into the current long list, and while not every variant is present on this page any more, this ETO is an important addition!
Update:There is a second update hidden somewhere on this page (or sub pages) about a puzzle I have just solved. A great puzzle and a lot of fun with some nice aha-moments!
Added on 2022-11-02
Exactly one week ago a new puzzle in the excellent series of Burr-Bot and BurrBank was released, and paying for DHL shipping, taxes and fees, it arrived quickly, and here it is: TIC Vault. This time, it is not a burr with sequential discovery elements, but a TIC combined with a Sequential Discovery puzzle. So how would that work, with TICs being interlocking cubes, no framed burr puzzle, that can be used as locks? The answer can be seen in the picture. It is a TIC sitting in some box, where it can be extracted — probably. So far, it seems to be locked into place and does not want to be extracted. Fascinating! This new puzzle is made in excellent 3D printed quality, and both larger and heavier than the others. Andrew is the master of TICs, so I am sure it will be an interesting one in this puzzle, and I am curious to see how the whole puzzle works, and I am looking forward to solving.
Added on 2022-10-28
First puzzle order and delivery after DCD, and solved already. A nice 3D printed packing puzzle from a well known designer duo: Double Drawers. At DCD, the Design Competition puzzles were available for playing, but I did not solve it there, but I was interested to see how it would work. However having received my own copy, I managed to insert the four blocks into the two drawers, and that is what the goal of this puzzle is! Of course, it is not that easy: The drawers are linked and also extend only to the top of the box, but cannot be pulled out further. Then there are those handles blocking free entry to the drawers. However, there is a way to solve it (with all legal moves), a cute puzzle and nice challenge.
Added on 2022-10-26
Another slight update on the one from two days ago. I played with some more of the puzzles and managed to solve the remaining Hans van der Zon sliding block puzzle (all challenges!) and also the DCD 2022 puzzle. After finally solving the excellent Box of the Celts yesterday — what a journey! — I took a look at some more of the puzzles from DCD. Seems I missed an obvious fact: The name "Crocs" on one of the burrs is there for a reason. There seem to be little crocodiles inside. More for my Burr Zoo, look forward to some updates after solving (hopefully) soon!
Added on 2022-10-25
Slight update around two puzzles below from yesterday's update. Turns out Magestic 3 is still close enough to the Num Lock to be n-ary, and solving the Egyptian Coin Trade exhibits an interesting change of the original design, which I have described in the updated compendium entry. Aside from these two puzzles, I have made more progress solving and have solved most of the nice sliding (and twisting) block puzzles by Hans van der Zon. While not overly difficult, these sliding puzzles are definitely fun to play with!
Added on 2022-10-24
Due to the pandemic, this was my first visit to the largest European puzzler's event this weekend after three years. We had a great time meeting many old friends (while some were still absent due to the pandemic) and also meeting some new friends first time in real life. A lot of puzzling was going on, and the usual bazar of puzzles changing ownership, and even more chatting! The first puzzle in this update is the usual welcome gift, which looks nice: DCD 2022 Puzzle. Seems the goal is to repack the pieces so that the lid can be closed shut (with the openings used for some piece parts sticking out). There were many vintage puzzles to be found, and I bought one of those: Tsukuda's Square, and it has an interesting mechanism. No guess required from which puzzler I received this symmetry puzzle, it can easily be guessed from the name: Wil Puzzle.
Alfons Eyckmans was also there with a table flooded with beautiful wooden puzzles he had built and brought along. The first one may only have six pieces, but the level is quite impressive for a board burr (with some pins/slots added): Goot 1. The next couple of puzzles are six pieces burrs with a secret inside and the same theme. Not really about animals, but in my view a nice addition to the Burr Zoo: Dracula and Dracula 2. While completely different, the looks of these puzzles fit the common theme in some way. One of my all time favorites are the 18 pieces burrs group and while I am still busy trying to solve that recent addition with level 126, and for which I may have already found the first 88 moves (based on some discussion and feedback), there are some lower level ones added today. Maybe for the first one the definition needs to be stretched a bit again, as it has additional pieces together with the typical main shape: Aurora. The next one is getting closer to the classic shape, and shares the same level (for the first piece) with the following one: Aldie and Lippelo. Now I also have level 60 on my page, and twice! For starters, there is also a nice one with lower level: Crocs. The next two ones were a cooperation with a different designer, from India, and adding to the fascinating pad lock shaped burr group (not sure if they require a separate page!): Sher-Lock Extreme and A Notched Trifecta beta. The shapes have been used for these locks before, and I will see how they compare to these earlier designs. Meanwhile, I also received some additional details from the designer on one of them, and that makes it even more interesting to solve. Magestic 3 is obviously based on Num-Lock, but the innards are a bit different from that. Having operated the first dozens of moves, the sequence seems to be different than the original Num-Lock. Still an n-ary puzzle, hence added to n-ary puzzle group and compendium.
After picking up some of Hans' puzzles earlier, I was able to get some more of them while they are still available. They are some variations, and all sliding picece puzzles with a twist — or should I say: "turn"? The Slidy 8.a.1 looks very similar to the Slidy 8, but look at the angle of the digits! The Change of Heart is also based on a 3x3 board with a rotation possibility in one corner, but it works differently. Actually, the center piece is extracted for more space, and only then rotations in the corner are possible. The main goal is the same like for the next one: change between different pictures (two heart pictures in two shades). The next one offers 4 different pictures (i.e. squares), but no rotations. However, there are arrows on some of the pieces, and it is easy to guess what those sliding blocks do — or rather don't do: Square Dancing.
Earlier this year I worked with Oskar for a solution on the Panex Galaxy, and that put some wear on my copy and I just had to buy the beautiful mass produced version of it, which is Chess and Egypt themed: Egyptian Coin Trade. Of course, I have updated the n-ary puzzle group and compendium entry. As I found out a day later, the colours of the channels have been changed, so that this puzzle has now a slightly different solution.
Then there were also some nice looking 3D printed puzzles after all this wood before: Butterfly Romance is Spring themed and obviously you need to free the butterflies to progress with the box. A very organic looking maze! The next two are more about geometry instead: Square Vibe is a box with a geometry theme and after looking at it a bit, it will not all be squares to open the box. The Crazy Donut needs to be taken apart, and this may not only involve geometry, but also a bit of physics. The last one is a piece of art: Trinity will display nicely as a sculpture, but there are also three face pieces that should be packed into the frame.
Overall, a puzzle haul with puzzles from many different groups and topics. Looking forward to solve them (also to do something about the constantly growing solving backlog).
Added on 2022-10-16
This time a Sunday evening update with a new puzzle: The iDventure boxes came with some additional goodies I had added. One of them a cute holiday themed box coming as an assembly kit. Assembly was easy and straightforward with the very good instructions provided. It did not take long and then I had this: Happy New Year Gift Puzzle Box — time to start with all the decorations for this time of the year? May be a bit early for Halloween even! The box is not difficult to solve and the name of the box actually gives a good hint what the combination may be. There are two more side orders I still need to assemble, both kinetic toys instead of puzzles, and one a bit more complicated. After this latest experience I am looking forward to the assembly. Then there is that large French project still waiting to be built, and that is going to be a lot of work! If I have the time for them, I find those assembly kits quite relaxing, and you end up with some nice objects or puzzles afterwards!
Added on 2022-10-09
A late Sunday update usually means that a puzzle was solved, and this time a new n-ary box: The Telefon Box (AKA Telephone Box) has been put into n-ary puzzle group and compendium. It does not only feature an n-ary part, but also an additional layer that then leads into a sequential discovery style stage, making it a hybrid puzzle.
Added on 2022-10-08
Today a long awaited parcel arrived from a Kickstarter campaign. While the manufacturer is currently present at the games fair in Essen, they managed to start sending out packages with their latest boxes at the same time. There were two in the campaign, and they follow in the very nice Cluebox "Escape Room in a Box" series. They were two for offer, and they look great: ClueBox Trial of Camelot and ClueBox Cambridge Labyrinth. They look more detailed and complicated than the ones before and the second one raises it to a new level with acrylic covers on all sides and some small ball bearings. I am really curious to see this one in action! There were also some extra goodies for offer, and I could not resist adding them, and not all of them are puzzles. The first one is a puzzle box and can also be used as packaging for a small birthday gift: Birthday Cake. There are some more, but those need to be assembled, and also my assembly queue has some pieces waiting, like the Architecto kit (from NKD puzzles) which has been waiting for some good occasion to start the large project. Looks like I will not be bored anytime soon, but quite busy instead. Lots of puzzling fun to be done in the near future!
Added on 2022-10-07
This update is not putting any of the puzzles from yesterday into the Compendium, even though I am sure it will happen soon. Made some progress on some of those already! Today a small parcel from Sweden arrived, much quicker than expected after the initial puzzle release this Monday. It is a hefty puzzle lock and the name is quite fitting I think: Monoblock. The style of the padlock is like the Mind the Gap one from early this year, but probably the solution is quite different. This one also has the key hole and the knob for the locking bolt on the same side, and the bolt has that knob, and also the key is of a different kind — and I see no visible gap! Of course, the key does not open the lock, as expected. The lock comes with some helpful instructions which include that you should not throw the massive lock at somebody else, which is something I immediately agree with, considering the weight and shape of this lock. I am curious to find out how it can be opened.
Added on 2022-10-06
The first October update is a multi-update, featuring several shops and designers. One parcel delivered to me after it was stuck in transit in both the US and German customs for a while, from the Cubicdissection update last month. It only contained one puzzle I ordered, which was the main attaction of that update for me: Jammed Gem. This seems to be some form of successor of the excellent ResQ puzzle and another cooperation between the two designers. I am curious to see if it can meet the high expectations.
The rest of the puzzles I picked up myself at the "Spiel" games fair in Essen today (beside some games of course). Puzzle-Shop had some from the latest Cast puzzles and I also picked up an older one I did not have yet: Cast Cross and Cast Spiral. My first visit was to a manufacturer's own fair booth, to see what new Constantin puzzles had shown up. Again, I picked up some recently released puzzles I had seen before: Irrsins-Box and Bier-Box. Additionally to that some brand new puzzles that looked very interesting. The Telefon Box is not like the SMS box, even though both feature a phone dial and a receiver that can be picked up. My first guess is that this new box is of the n-ary kind, and I am going to add it to the Compendium and group pages after solving and upon confirming. Another box that could also be in this group of puzzles is the beautifully decorated Stern Box. Depending on whether you like stars or the sun more, you can choose the name and also the goal of the puzzle, to find that sun or star. The last one is called Anchor Box and from the decoration it should be clear why. This is a design from Jules, and playing with the box a bit, the mechanism exhibits some unusual and unexpected behaviour. This will be a fun and complicated box to solve, I am sure! Beside getting all these puzzles I also met some old friends there, some of which I haven't seen for years.
Added on 2022-09-29
I have managed working on my puzzle solving backlog a bit and yesterday I sovled the lib-ORB-rate and extracted the orb. Quite a nice and high quality puzzle, and I like the last step in particular. However, today a parcel arrived from JP Games in the UK to add more puzzles to my backlog again. The first one is the latest one of Rex' pocket sized acrylic puzzle and this time a JP Games exclusive: The Third Eye. It is on the larger side of the series and it looks like a face with a third eye in the mouth. Consequently, the goal is to move this eye into the spot where it is usually placed, near the top of the face. Tools from within the puzzle can be used, but no external ones. I am looking forward to this one, but I still have to solve the previous one with the missing pig completely. The other puzzle I ordered I had missed to order in a previous order and is from mass production, yet shiny and high quality: Cast Planet. One of the latest Cast puzzles available (the next one is already out in some shops). No questions on hidden features and the goal here, as this is all pretty obvious. The way to the solved state may not be, though.
Added on 2022-09-27
Two parcels from two different continents arrived. The first one seems to contain an exhibit from some prehistoric discovery in Australia. Looks like they have uncovered a previously unknown species of dinosaur: Kumikisaurus. Unfortunately, it seems that the restauration of the actual animal shape from the fossils did not go too well and the dino ended up in a strange shape, or maybe it died in a horrible fight? Or maybe those two legs are pointing up because the dino lived down under on the globe, but what about the hind legs then? Well, I think I can do better! To be honest, this is the actual challenge of the puzzle: take it apart and re-assemble it into the correct dino shape — same principle like the excellent Kumiki Airlines puzzle from years ago (by the same designer and material). So far, I managed to extract the first piece from the strange shape and found that Juno has put in some extra effort to make the puzzle nice and stable when assembled. Of course, the correct assembly is of a higher level than this initial one, and I am looking forward to solving this puzzle. The next one also came from an English speaking country and the main goal is encoded in the name in some way: lib-ORB-rate. You have to free an orb from the inside, and of course without using external tools. This is a heavy and bautifully made metal puzzle coming in a nice and perfectly fitting packaging. I found the first step already and I think I have found a tool that will be very useful for solving this puzzle. A tool found inside the puzzle, not my tool drawer! Both puzzles add to my puzzle solving backlog, and I am making progress slowly and steadily. While I haven't been able to solve a single of the Pelikan puzzles yet, I have made some progress on the Box of the Celts and so far I like it a lot. Some fresh ideas I have not seen in other puzzle boxes so far! Does not mean that this one is solved, of course. Actually, I am pretty stuck at the moment, but I am sure it will continue some time and I am curious to see what I will find.
Added on 2022-09-23
While waiting for USPS to finally get done with delivering some puzzle, I received some beautiful wooden puzzles from good old Europe, from Pelikan Puzzles: Tau is the latest release by Volker Latussek, and if you have a look at the top of the puzzle in darker lighting conditions, you will see where the name comes from — provided you know at least some part of the Greek alphabet. Of course this configuration is only for offering the puzzle, the pieces will need to be removed and re-packed into the box so that the opening is closed. There is a similar scheme to the rest of those, and I am not sure why I keep buying packing puzzles I may not be able to solve. But they all look beautiful and interesting! The next one has some magnets in the box, to hold the halves of the box together: Broken Box. This is no production accident, but intended by the designer, and offers multiple challenges by rearranging those box halves in different ways. Each time, the wenge pieces need to be packed into the empty space of the box (or whatever the rearranged shapes are called). From the same designer and previous release is Soma 6 Pack. As the name suggests, it only has 6 of the 7 Soma pieces that need to be packed into the box, but if you look closely, you will realize that the missing piece 7 has been glued into the box as a partial lid or obstruction already. Getting the 5 pieces out features some nontrivial moves, and I am guessing there are more for packing all 6 of them back in. Insider Has a similar challenge, just that there is one piece inside that would not even come out of the box, and remains inside. There is a lot of space to rotate it, and the other two pieces (yes, only two) are quite bulky, so careful planning for the assembly seems to be required. That last conclusion is probably true for all of the new puzzles today, and there is no telling how long they will take me to solve!
Added on 2022-09-07
Today the postman brought a parcel with a long awaited puzzle box in it: Box of the Celts. This is one of the award winning puzzles from the latest IPP Design Competition and I have been looking forward to it a lot. The celtic theme is not only seen in the colour and pattern on the side, but also the (3D printed) decoration on top. This is a typical celtic knot, interwoven with a silver ring, and all that sitting in a carefully designed space on top of the box. Would we have a disentanglement puzzle here? It seems that the knot can indeed be pulled out from the space, and then is attached to the box via the ring. If you study the shape of the knot then it should be perfectly clear that those pieces don't come apart, or do they? This beautifully 3D printed box feels heavy and solid, and there seems to be at least one lid moving a bit. And the box comes with several warnings: One not to bend any pieces (or do other unruly actions), and then that the box will have a lengthy solve. Actually that last part makes it more interesting and I am looking forward to play with the puzzle and one day solve it. This is going to be fun!
Added on 2022-08-28
Sunday evening updates usually only happen when I return home from a puzzle meeting with some new acquisitions, but today is different. A fellow puzzle friend on the Discord pointed me to an offering of another older Perplexus puzzle, which was close by, in the next city to where I live. After quickly agreeing on the business side, I could pick this up and now I have a Perplexus Star Wars. It is in the usual grey colours used in the movies, but there is some colour to it. Switch on the sound module and you see some coloured LEDs producing light effects — and you hear Darth Vader breathing. A slight idea of the green effect can be seen in the picture. Of course, you can also play it without sound and light effects, but what you must use is a little X-Wing that needs to pick up the ball using a magnet at some point and then being steered by the knob (turret) on top of the puzzle needs to drop the ball into the next part of the maze. With the Perplexus puzzles, I have made a lot of progress, but still all larger ones are in my solving backlog waiting to be solved completely. Not sure whether I will be able to completely solve any of them soon, but they are a lot of fun, and each an adventure journey. This one here is also a Star Wars themed journey with some discoveries to be made!
Added on 2022-08-20
Meanwhile I managed to solve one of the new puzzles from Aaron and friends and it seems to be an easier one, but relaxing to play with and definitely not trivial. The latest additions are on the pages for n-ary puzzle group and compendium
Added on 2022-08-19
The latest of Juno's puzzle boxes is a hidden maze puzzle, like some others he made before. However this one has some special mechanism that reminds me of a Revomaze, while it does not look like one. Instead, it is beautifully made from Australian woods: Card Case. Unlike the Revomaze, it is not a fully blind maze solve and you may also be able to get some hints in form of a maze diagram. Even with that it seems to be a challenging maze to be solved, and it is not only multi challenge, but also a multi stage maze. Fascinating! The ultimate challenge is to remove the red slider on top without the use of external tools. While I have not yet managed all the other challenges, I could work out a solution for this challenge not using force, shaking, or external tools, and I won't tell more here — to avoid spoilers. A beautiful puzzle and some clever ideas, I like it!
Added on 2022-08-16
Today a vintage puzzle from 2016 arrived, and it is another one of those crazy ball mazes: Perplexus Warp. This one is indeed warped and has a square intersection and is otherwise warped from the usual ball shape. It also has a button sticking out and operating a small shuttle that can should be used for getting the steel ball bearking over some warped (sic!) bridges with holes in them. This puzzle starts easy and becomes quickly difficult, and there is an arched bridge with stairs that looks like one would better use the handrails while traversing. How can we do that navigating a little steel ball? There are only a few numbered positions in this puzzle, but two additional starting positions for training purposes. It may take a while to solve, and I am still not done with the others! I found this vintage gem with the help of a fellow German puzzler from the Discord, many thanks for pointing me to the right place!
Added on 2022-08-14
This weekend I was in for a surprise by my puzzle friend Jack: He had designed a new 18 pieces burr which looks like the other puzzles of this group in general: Sidestep. When playing with it, I first suspected that it may be some odd relative of the Phoenix Family, because some of the intermediate goals seem to be similar. However, the move sequences to get there are quite different, and contains also a lot of side moves/lateral moves of pieces. Usually most of the sticks in these puzzles move along their long axes, and there seem to be many moves of this kind in the new puzzle, but here a lot of those side moves appear as well. This was one of the reasons for the name of this puzzle, and it is quite fitting! I have progressed into the first around 30 moves (if these sequences are really part of the solution), but it is going to be much longer to solve. This burr is one of the burrs with very high level of over 100, to be precise: level 126. A worthy addition to the 18 pieces burrs group page! According to Jack, it is not related to the Phoenix Family or the Century, and finding a level 100+ burr with a new design (rather than a modification of an existing) is quite a surprise as well. The regular 18 pieces burrs are a favorite puzzle group for me, and it is a lot of fun trying to solve this one. Thank you for this great surprise, Jack!
Added on 2022-08-11
Puzzles shaped like old fashioned TV sets seem to be one of the latest trends, and after solving the 3D printed TV set with burr pieces and sequential discovery elements a couple of times already, today one made from beautiful wood arrived. The name is a negative name for a TV that people liked to give it sometimes. It is the Idiot Box. It does not work because this one does not have any antenna sitting on top, so the goal is to retrieve the two antennas from the puzzle and attach them to the holder on top. While the other sequential discovery TV worked differently and you had to find a remote, here, there are several stages involved to reach the goal. I like the attention to detail the designer has put into this puzzle, like the ventilation openings in the back. A nice puzzle, also fun to play with! I wonder what TV themed puzzle will be released next, if any!
Added on 2022-08-06
Another late weekend update telling you a nice story about another visit to the Burr Zoo that took place over the last two weeks of occasional puzzling.
Added on 2022-08-04
The latest works offered by Aaron arrived from China quickly, all of them compicated disentanglement puzzles. Many of them may find their way into the compendium and n-ary puzzle group after I have solved them and determined whether they should be in this group. These puzzles are extremely difficult to solve for me, yet I seem to enjoy buying them! And they look fascinating and beautiful, and complicated! I am happy to see that the newer ones now have some form of quick reset feature in the string loop, which I would have wished for in some older puzzles. The first 5 puzzles come on a black stand and some of them seem to be themed around electricity. They look fascinating: Tesla Valve, Auger, Ampere's Rule, Beanstalk, and Railings. Then there are some that have a more traditional look: Olympic Rings, where the objective is not yet clear to me. It may be that the metal loop needs to be worked through the maze created by the other parts, an interesting challenge. It is definitely easier to see where the name comes from! The next one is nicely decorated, and I am sure the key will not be required to solve the puzzle (but it could make the solution more complicated): Lock and Key. Again, the name is apparent, and also for the last one: Weaving. Here the string is already weaved through the metal frame and I am curious to see what I will have to do to get it released. I am sure that if I stopped acquiring puzzles now for some reason, yet alone all the nice disentanglement puzzles would keep me very busy for a while until all of them are solved. And then there are the other puzzles I still have to solve, and many fascinating ones among them, too! Thank you Aaron, for this nice parcel of complex puzzles!
Added on 2022-07-27
Today a true puzzle menace arrived. Well, that is the name of this beautiful wooden box: Menace. While I have made some progress on the last puzzle with the 3 pigs, this one seems to have an obvious lid, and that is it. There is also an interesting hole that may be related to the locking mechanism, but what to do with it? On the instructions, there is a long list of things you should not be doing with this puzzle, and of course I will follow this advice. Will be interesting to see how this works! A nice box in a handy form factor, not even big enough to contain yesterday's puzzle when opened!
Added on 2022-07-25
When shipping animals (or animal themed puzzles), it can take some time, as I have learned recently and today again: After Rex sent his latest puzzle on the way beginning of May, it must have ended up in a large container on a slow cargo ship, at least it looks like that. Today it arrived finally, and it looks beautiful: Invisible Oink. Three little pigs, just that one of them has gone missing in the puddle of mud and needs to be recovered. This is the objective of this sequential discovery puzzle, which not only looks great, but is also a bit larger than some of the previous ones. There must be a lot going on inside! I have already found some tools (?) and some steps, but it will take me some time to solve this puzzle completely. Fun fact: If you turn the puzzle over in the initial configuration, you can see the back end of one of the two pigs sticking out. I am looking forward to solve this one and find the missing piggy!
Added on 2022-07-22
Juno is known for creating creative modifications on 6 Board Burrs. He had first done that over 20 years ago, and now there are some new variations on the topic. The Partially Crooked 6 Board Burr has 3 regular board pieces, while the others are bent/crooked in a strange way. It still looks like a 6BB, but once you have found the first few moves, you will notice more is going on here. The second one has all pieces in a crooked shape: Crooked 6 Board Burr #2. The initial move is held shut via magnets, and once you have found this move, some crazy moves are waiting to be found. The magnets give the puzzle a satisfying behaviour when pieces click in place. It is only level 9, but the crazy piece shapes should make it much more difficult to solve than that. Before playing with these beautifully crafted C6BBs, I will try to assemble my new TV set again. What good is having a remote control if the TV is in pieces? That is a nice TV puzzle!
Added on 2022-07-21
Today I solved the excellent BurrBank puzzle again, and by coincidence right at that moment the doorbell rang and another puzzle in this category arrived: SDTV. This is the latest one in the category of 3D printed burr and sequential discovery puzzles. It looks like one of those old fashioned TV sets we used to have. At the same time, it is a high level burr with six pieces in a frame and level 25 (for the first piece to be extracted). Not sure if the burr part can be solved separately from the sequential discovery elements. I found a first tool, but found no use for it so far. Also, I found some nice sequences to mix up those burr sticks, and also found a way to restore them. This is going to be fun, and it also combines two of my favourite puzzle types! After I have solved it, this will also look great as a nice little object to put on display.
Added on 2022-07-13
Today a parcel from Alfons arrived, with some beautiful wooden puzzles inside: Behind Bars is a relative of the Lolly boxes, but with some side pieces and openings in the box. Freddy is a slotted/pinned board burr, and those features tend to make the puzzles more difficult, and I have also noticed that this puzzle does not follow the standard grid of a 6BB, but there are some partial cuts, resticting movement even further! Dragon Riders has some very unusual piece layout, and you could call it a hybrid between standard 18 pieces burr and 6 board burr. The next one is one of those hybrids of 12 pieces and 18 pieces burr layouts, and it contains additional pieces inside to be discovers: Treasure Quest. Not an animal burr, but pretty close, so I put it into this group: Burr Zoo. The last one is a member of the 18 pieces burrs group page: Scrooge. It looks a bit odd, because two pieces along each axis are reduced to boards. Beautifully cafted, and soon it will be available on the Pelikanpuzzles web shop. I have not counted and added the overall level, but there is a lot of puzzling fun which arrived today!
Added on 2022-07-12
Another late weekday update for some more puzzle paleontology: In the Burr Zoo I found another cute dino in a beautiful burr puzzle, my report on the zoo page for your entertainment!
Added on 2022-07-11
A late weekday update after another visit to the Burr Zoo completed. My Burr Zoo has the advantage that I can also meet extinct species there, like dinosaurs. Read more about a fun puzzle solve in my visit to the Burr Zoo.
Added on 2022-07-09
The brand new and latest addition to the Perplexus puzzle series arrived: Perplexus Portal. This one has more "barriers" than the other ball shaped ones, and additionally 3 push buttons. When you push each one of them, some attached parts of the pathways start moving, and there are also some levers involved for even more interaction. From what I have seen so far, they can lift a bridge in the path to close a gap, open a barrier, bring the next pathway closer to the current one, and in one case even move a little bucket — this is what they call "portals". As if that was not enough, there are some crazy somewhat floating and curled narrow bridges that just ask for the ball to be dropped off them. This is going to be a challenge, and I have not even mastered all the other ones! However, I really enjoy the adventurous journey all of them offer, when you try to navigate your little ball avatar through a dangerous 3D landscape. Each of the Perplexus I have seen so far are different one from another, each focusing on another aspect of obstacles and sometimes special effects. I am curious to see what I will find in this latest one, once I have managed to pass more than the first dozen or so barriers. Have I mentioned that there are 150 in this one?
Added on 2022-07-08
After the 3D printed plastic puzzle yesterday, today some handmade metal beauty arrived: Undercover. This is the latest one from Phil, and while the goal seems to be the same like for a Revomaze (get the core out of the sleeve), they seem to be quite different puzzles. OK, the inner core turns for both of them, but then that typical next move of a Revomaze is missing here. Looks like I will need to uncover some other method of solving this one, and I am looking forward to it!
Added on 2022-07-07
I already have many of those packing puzzles with a restricted box, more than I can solve. However, this one looked too interesting to pass on it: 2CO. Put all the 3 pieces into the box under the partially open lid, so that the result is the CCO burr in the box. I am curious to see how difficult this one will be!
Added on 2022-07-02
Today two parcels arrived. One of them with another win from the latest Cubicdissection Marketplace auction, and from a new designer for me: SCH-LOCK. This box is obviously themed after an excellent British TV series, and consists of a 3D printed box to be opened and a padlock inside, which is the second challenge to solve. The other parcel arrived from Knobelbox and the first puzzle it contained I was hesitant to buy because I basically have this puzzle already: Lager Lock. This is obviously a lock variation of the Kugellager puzzle, and therefore a new release of an older design/principle. It is very well made and fun to play with, and size wise in the regions of a T13, just slightly larger and less heavy. Of course this is an entry into the ever growing n-ary puzzle group and compendium pages. The next puzzle was the main reason I placed the order, another one of a nice coin release series: Eurofalle 07. In this one, the coin is trapped, but has a lot of space to move around. No obvious way how to solve it yet, and I will have to see if I can get the coin out. The last one is the Sphinx Box, which could be a design by Benno, but I am not sure about this. Having solved some puzzles recently, the backlog is growing again!
Added on 2022-06-29
Today a parcel from France arrived with two beautiful puzzles crafted by Maurice and to be part of the Burr Zoo: Sphinx should contain a little Sphinx figure and when I was looking for parameters on the Puzzlewillbeplayed page, I found that Stephane had designed another puzzle with the same name, but only 7 pieces. Fascinating! The second one is a real animal themed burr again, and only with six pieces around the central animal: Giraburr. Both puzzles are nicely crafted and made from beautiful woods, and I am looking forward to continue my visit to the Burr Zoo with them!
Added on 2022-06-27
A new twisty puzzle arrived today: Sloppy Cube. On the picture, it looks like someone tried to create a 3x3x3 and got the measurements all wrong. However, this look is on purpose, and has been carefully designed that way with high precision. All the sides are the same, and the angles between the rotational axes are off by 3°. This is a cubic version of the Melty D puzzle. When playing with this, soon some jumbling becomes apparent. When rotating the top side (any side, to be precise) by about a quarter turn, the side adjacent to the left can be rotated after this. Rotate the top side by around a quarter again, and the left neighbor still turns. Rotate by another more or less quarter turn, and no alignment seems to be possible to rotate that left hand neighbour afterwards. Fascinating!
Added on 2022-06-25
Short early weekend update with a report on how I freed some flies from the Fly Trap 2 in the Burr Zoo.
Added on 2022-06-24
Recently, there have been a lot of puzzle releases, and then also a Cubicdissection Marketplace Auction started. I did not want to place bids there at first, but then my friend Michel made me aware of an interesting puzzle I had last seen years ago, and then I did not only win one, but two lots at CD MP. This puzzle may not look like much, but it is fun to play with, and also interesting from a mathematical standpoint Switched Maze, also known as "Life's Maze". A maze with 4 switches with two positions each, and a runner that has to run from entrance to exit, activating these switches many times. We suspected it might be n-ary, and my initial analysis showed that this may be the case. Unfortunately, there are too little switches to be sure, and more would be required for a definite answer, but when I extended the sequence in my mind, I recognized a surely binary sequence. This is only for the bottom row of switches, and if you do not ignore the top row, and factor it in for the observation, then it becomes a quaternary sequence, even though a very short one! After my analysis, this puzzle receives its entry on my special pages: n-ary puzzle group and compendium. It seems that other people were also interested in this puzzle when it was released in 2007, winning it a Design Competition award.
Added on 2022-06-21
Currently, I am having some discussion about several Panex variants which Oskar designed last year, and this discussion has been going on for a while. During this discussion fellow puzzler Javier proposed some new variants of existing puzzles, in particular the Panex Junior. The Panex Junior (which a leading Panex expert called "a Panex subtask") was used as a base for a new variant, and Javier prototyped this as 3D print and kindly sent me a copy: YPANEX. First of all, it is larger than the Panex Junior, and also printed in a beautiful and sturdy high quality bicolored design with numbers instead of colours. The shape of YPANEX is nearly the same layout as the Panex Junior, just that it has been made symmetrical by moving the left channel one unit to the left. That way, an additional position is added, and the puzzle allows for a wider range of move sequences. You can solve it like a Panex Junior, but you can also try to optimize the move count. Counting my own solutions, the sequence of 25 moves for the 4 piece tower in Panex Junior can be modified to a 17 move sequence in YPANEX for moving a 4 piece tower. A fascinating little change with implications! Thank, you Javier! Of course this puzzle receives its entry on my special pages: n-ary puzzle group and compendium.
Added on 2022-06-15
More new puzzles today, this time from Nowstore, and they are twisty puzzles. The first one is an award winner from the recent IPP Design Competition that looks like a 2x2x2 cube with only one colour and a non-puzzle: OS Cube. However, when you turn it, you will find that these coloured blue tiles jump up from their faces by a few mm, and will jump back down in consequent moves. And they don't do that in the same manner globally, but there seem to be differences on the faces. Sometimes two diagnoal neighbors on one face jump up (and their counterparts on the opposite face), sometimes two horizontally/vertically neigbouring panels. It seems obvious that magnets in opposite face panels then repell, and magnets seem to be this designer's favorite element, if we look back to past competitions. There are some obvious challenges, like: Scramble the puzzle and get it back to the original configuration, or get all face panels extended. There are some other challenges which come as challenge cards with the puzzle. Looks like I have already solved the first challenge with one move! The other one is a Skewb shape variation: X Cube. I seem to remember that this is a reincarnation of an old design from many years ago, but I could not find documentation supporting this. Well, let's get these puzzles added to the backlog!
Added on 2022-06-14
Having solved the lovely kitty puzzle from yesterday, and enjoying it a lot with nice discovery and hidden mechanisms, now it is time for he next new puzzle. Some time ago, Burr Bot appeared as a hybrid of burr and sequential discovery, and went straight into the top puzzles of last year, on my list and also in the IPP Design Competition. Now there is a new companion puzzle called Burr Bank and while I liked Burr Bot a lot, this one is even better. I know because I have already solved it and found the gold in the bank! From a burr perspective, this one adds more solution elements, and more difficulty.
Added on 2022-06-13
After a long plane trip and a lot of waiting, today a parcel from Australia with some animal inside arrived, containing an extraordinarily cute looking puzzle: Mittan. I could not resist and have played with it a bit already, found some fascinating mechanism inside, and I guess also some possible tools (but I am not telling more to avoid spoilers!). I guess Juno also put some of his favourite puzzle components in that should not come as surprise. I like a lot what I have seen so far and am looking forward to solve this beautiful kitty puzzle!
Added on 2022-06-12
Short Sunday evening update with a report on how I freed some flies from the Fly Trap in the Burr Zoo
Added on 2022-06-11
From Alfons some new wooden beauties arrived. They are even more professionally packaged than before and Alfons seems to be using a new oil so that the puzzles all have a nice scent to them. All of them are laser engraved with their name from the outside (very useful if you have many puzzles!), and some have animal shapes matching the theme. The first one is not related to animals, and also not an n-ary puzzle, but the theme is coming from there, and looking at the pieces it is immediately clear where the puzzle got its name: Hanoi Tower. This looks fascinating, with a Hanoi tower on two sides and an (illegal) upside-down Hanoi tower on the other. I will be trying to solve this as a burr, though, because that is what it is!
The other puzzles are all from the Burr Zoo, and new species not yet in my zoo: Fly Trap and Fly Trap 2 not only have some fly engraved on the outside, but additional fly pieces trapped inside. And a lot of them: 3 or 4 respectively! The other two puzzles have much larger animals, which no human has met in real life before: Dino and Dino 2. Both of them have some dino shapes engraved on the outside, and a hand carved dinosaur piece of art inside! While the Fly Traps are more conventional, these two also offer some unusual arrangement of pices, with 16 and 14 burr sticks making the base shape. All these are made from beautiful woods (much nicer than on my poor pictures), and I am looking forward to play with some (more) nice wooden burr puzzles again. The solving backlog is still growing with excellent puzzles, and more puzzles are scheduled to arrive soon. Today's puzzle parcel also added a new puzzle to a group that was last extended in 2020, nearly 2 years ago: 18 pieces burrs group page. Can you find which one it is?
Added on 2022-06-09
Two parcels arrived today, and both contain new variants of puzzles I already have (and then there are some completely new puzzles). Fort Knox Box Pro is an enhanced version of the Fort Knox Box and has both enhanced and nicer looking decorations and some additional mechanisms. Having solved the previous version again just a few days ago, I am curious to see how this one works. Then from Pelikanpuzzles some beautiful wood. Hippo is a Burr Zoo inhabitant, and I actually already have a 3D printed version of this, but this wooden version looks much nicer, and I am sure it also will feel nicer during solving. The next two are completely new. Well, the first one is an extension of an existing series: Fermat meets Fuller. A new Fermat puzzle with many more triangular prisms, and even though Eric Fuller's name is part of the puzzle name, it was not crafted or designed by him. A highly praised packing puzzle, and even though I decided not to collect more packing puzzles, I am looking forward to solving this one. The first stage seems to be getting the four identical triangular prisms out of the box. The last one is from the previous Pelikan release, but I managed to grab the last one in their shop: The Cup. It looks nice as a display piece, and having a puzzle which was designed by Ad and optimized by Alfons is surely something interesting. More puzzles for the puzzle backlog and more puzzle solving fun for the next time!
Added on 2022-06-08
Today a huge cardboard box arrived. In it, and secured with a lot of packing material, a wooden crate. "LIVE ANIMAL HANDLE WITH CARE. Keep Fingers Out of Crate." written all over on this nicely laser cut crate. Inside is what can only be described as a hefty and shiny high security cage, with a Lego animal inside. This seems to be the fierce animal. But see for yourself how the cage looks like: Bananas. Seems like the monkey with the name "Bananas" is not going to get out of that anytime soon! A high security prison cage, and a sequential discovery puzzle, all in one. The puzzle comes with a nice card, also made from metal, and the craftsmanship is excellent, like for the Jewel Thief puzzle a few years ago. I am looking forward to solve this puzzle and to see what is hidden inside. Actually, there are quite a few openings that allow you to see things, and mechanisms, and there is also a tool right there in front of your eyes. Unfortunately, it seems to be tightly secured to the puzzle, so that is probably one of the first steps to deal with.
Added on 2022-06-04
More puzzles! Today a parcel coming in via USPS made a surprise approach: After travelling through the USPS network for quite some time, over here in Germany it passed customs handling and delivery in just two days! Having the usual orange tape, the parcel contained to high quality items from Cubicdissection. The first one is a new release and an n-ary packing puzzle: 5L Bin. This is very similar to the 4L Bin I have from Tom, and nicely made. Even without magnets, the aluminium pieces click into place and move nicely in a mainly binary sequence. Hence, an addition to n-ary puzzle group and compendium, and to be honest the compendium has been growing to a much larger size I initially thought it would! The second one is a re-release of a design competition award winning puzzle: Lock Box. For earlier releases, I skipped this puzzle, unsure whether I wanted to buy it, and in some cases some minutes of hesitation made the decision for me by moving the puzzle to sold out state. After my recent very positive experience when solving the Pennytentiary, I thought that I should go for another of Eric's complex puzzles. Let's see if I can figure all this out. Both puzzles from today are a bit smaller than I imagined them, but have a nice size and having solved the 5L Bin already, the handling is excellent. It seems that right now there are still some available to buy. My solving backlog is growing and the free space on my table is shrinking, so I wonder if I should be concerned. Most likely not. Better go for the puzzling fun instead!
Added on 2022-06-02
Today a brand new puzzle arrived, which I had solved before: Climburr. Aside from some other guys, I was one of the beta testers of the various Climburr versions, and I found some rotational shortcuts in the earlier versions, but not this one. The original prototype was 3D printed, but this beautifully crafted wooden version is much nicer and also fits into the existing series of Chamburr and Cyburr released earlier. Climburr is a challenging puzzle to solve, and can easily be identified by the angular cuts on some of the pieces and the frame — and of course by the name engraved into the frame. I don't remember much of the solution, so I will have to solve it again (sounds familiar?), and I remember that it was fun to solve, at least the disassembly. Looking forward to play with this beautiful wooden version of Climburr!
Added on 2022-06-01
Coherent Convoys Today's update features two puzzles, and they are both related to the 2021 Nob Yoshigahara Design Competition. The first one is Coherent Convoys is a puzzle from the n-ary puzzle group and compendium, and I am happy that an n-ary puzzle won a prize at this competition (again after 2017, 2005, 2004 and 2003). The second puzzle for today is the trophy of this competition, beautifully made from wood and with a nice stand: Cryptos. I had to wait a while for the Coherent Convoys to arrive to be added to my collection, and it was worth all the waiting. It is the third copy and a lot of work to create, and the first two copies went to the design competition to remain with the jury. This puzzle is made in Namick's typical style and in very high quality, beautiful to look at and fun to play with, and there are some small details that actually have a meaning for the puzzle solution. Cryptos
Sliding the ships around is a lot of fun, and it has been quite a while since I last supported Namick on this design, so I could enjoy the puzzle from the beginning again: It is an n-ary puzzle with a regular sequence and after a while you work out how the ships move from chanel to the lock chamber, back to the blue channel, or further to the red channel. The sequence continues nice and regularly and after a while you will find yourself going in circles and the whole lock demonstrating some form of rush hour deadlock. This is where the fun starts: Pick the right moment in the sequence to move a ship in the other direction than usual, and not run into a dead end again. An n-ary puzzle with a modified sequence, even better than an n-ary only puzzle! Some more details in the compendium entry.
Added on 2022-05-31
From the US a nice small parcel arrived with some well packaged puzzles inside, and all 3D printed in black material, including the containers. The larger one contains something that looks like an oversized Curta mechanical calculator, or some photography equipment, but is actually a puzzle box: Super Cylinder. There are some digits on the side and the top and I have already managed to change some of them, but that seems to be irreversible. Or better said: Not easily and immediately reversible. I am curious to see how the others can be changed, how they interact, and what is going on with the sliding parts behind that acrylic cover on the bottom side. The other puzzle also coming in a custom black case is: Cuff and Loop. Goal is to remove the loop from the cuff, and this one seems to be easier. Both puzzles are well made and beside the black 3D printed parts, they seem to contain a lot of screws and other parts. They come with some extra tools if you like to disassemble them (not for the solution!) and some warning about springs and small parts flying out. Looking forward to decipher and open that large one, after I have already managed to solve the Cuff and Loop puzzle, which has some nice design ideas included.
Added on 2022-05-30
While still trying to solve the last unsolved Perplexuses I have, like the Epic and the battery driven Revolution Runner, I found out that there is another of the small Go! variants and that there will be a new bigger one released very soon. The additional variant was ordered quickly and arrived nicely presented in a complicated packaging: Perplexus Go! Harry Potter. While the other Harry Potter themed Perplexus seems to be a colour variant of the Rookie, this one is a new puzzle, and incorporates the theme nicely. There is even a moving staircase looking like the one from the movies, and which also serves different features during the solution. The puzzle looks like the Golden Snitch ball from Quidditch game, and the wings can be detached and serve as a stand. Now the puzzle has only one colour on the inside, which may make finding your way a bit more difficult, and trying to solve this one, I immediately find out how much I use the colours to quickly find my way in the others, and remember the correct sequence. Another nice Perplexus Go! puzzle that seems to pack a lot of puzzling fun into a small form factor. After solving, it will end up high on the display cases next to the others and hopefully it will not spread its wings to fly away!
Added on 2022-05-29
After returning from a short vacation trip, I could pick up a small parcel from the US today (waiting here, not in the US), and it contained a fascinating looking puzzle: Helm's Keep. The name of the puzzle sounds a bit like a Lord of the Rings theme, while the looks of the puzzle are more pirate related. There are several lookalikes of old sailing ship steering wheels on both ends, and also something like the end of a wooden saber sticking out, and all this in a nice and cute size. I already have a guess how some of the last steps may work, and this box also seems to involve some magnetism. This is my guess after playing and fiddling with it a bit, not because of the compass dial on the front side. After solving and enjoying the previous two puzzles by the same designer, I am looking forward to this one, eager to see how those wheels interact and if I find the right course for solving it!
Added on 2022-05-20
A small parcel from the US arrived today, with an even smaller box in it, and a small puzzle inside: Pennytentiary. Inside is a penny, and the goal is to remove the penny from this puzzle, without using any forceful movements (including tapping or banging). Of course, some form of force will be required, or you would not even be able to lift the puzzle up, but you should not use a lot of it. After missing the first release which sold out quickly and where the shop system started misbehaving under high load, this one is from the second batch Eric and team created. It looks a bit like one of Rex puzzles, just that here some sheets of wood and acrylic are carefully stacked and bolted together. The acrylic plates here are transparent, and this allows a very limited look into the inside of the puzzle. Not sure yet if that is good or confusing, but I am looking forward to playing with this puzzle and solving it!
Added on 2022-05-01
This new month I was invited to a nice puzzle meeting in The Netherlands, thanks Wil! I met many old friends there and had a lot of conversation, mostly about puzzles. There were some new puzzles to be seen and played with, like a small version of the record breaking one mentioned a week ago. Of course, I could also add some puzzles to my collection and was being careful that they will fit into the space I have (hopefully!). The first one looks very much like a twisty puzzle, but is actually an interlocking puzzle: Kong Ming Lock. I also managed to add some vintage puzzles to my collection which are either small or fit onto the top of the display cases: Cast Coral is one of the Marinecast series, Iron Heart, Puzzle B, and Scapegrace are some disentanglement puzzles, which could also be called "entanglement puzzles" or simply "knot puzzles", depending on how good you are at solving these. I know they can be messed up completely in no time! Thanks for the offer, Michel! The next three puzzles are sliding pieces puzzles with a twist or complicated piece shapes leading to some severe complexity: Sliding-6 (with many challenges), Slidy 7.a.1 and Slidy 8 (with a nice cover and a twist). Nice puzzles and a nice day, but probably I will not be able to solve any of those after this eventful day today!
Added on 2022-04-30
Yesterday I managed to make Walter less angry by solving and removing the green power cell. An excellent puzzle! Today the last one of the ball mazes arrived which I had ordered: Perplexus Go! Stairs. Like the green one, this is also a small one and has 30 numbers on the path inside. I wonder how those will compare to some of the others, with regards to difficulty. I am assuming they are on the easier side.
Added on 2022-04-29
Back to the puzzles with the little steel balls inside. But this time an angry one, and maybe he has become angry because he had to go all the shipping and customs procedures? In any case, this is Angry Walter, made in beautiful wood (even nicer than on the pictures I saw before). This is the claro walnut version from the third (and last?) release, and I am happy I got one this time — after being unavailable to order Walter on both previous release dates. After looking at the beautiful craftsmanship, I started playing with it a bit, and it seems there is not only wood used, but also some other materials. Or maybe this fascinating wood with special powers used by certain designers in Australia. I am looking forward to solve this one and make Walter happy again, or less angry at least!
Added on 2022-04-28
Today we are taking a break from ball maze puzzles with dexterity component and go back to classic twisty puzzles. The first one is a flat one (even more than yesterday's Perplexus): Moonspinner. One of many designs of this kind Oskar has shown on his YouTube channel in past years, and this one is a mass produced one. The others are 3D twisties, coming in from Hong Kong. The Fission Skewb was mentioned to me by Frank when we were discussing preparations of GCD, and this was some new puzzle related to my talk. A Skweb and edge turning hybrid. It looks like this is a Helicopter cube variant without the copter jumbling, but then it will introduce some shape shifting via the new moves introduced in the Skewby Copter Plus via half Skewb moves and curvy copter moves. Fascinating, something new indeed! The other one is also an edge turner and this was recommended to me by Christoph when he had learned how to solve it: Clover Pyraminx. It is an other puzzle in disguise (for the solution, guess which one!) and when reducing the solution to that other puzzle, some strange parity effect appears. However, it looks like when done right, then not on this version I have, guess why!
Added on 2022-04-27
Aside from the small ball shaped one, I also ordered a large, flat Perplexus puzzle: Perplexus Revolution Runner. This one includes batteries and is one of the very few items with that feature in my collection. The batteries are used to make the coloured rings and center mountain rotate, and you then have to get the ball through the mazes to the central mountain top without it falling into some of the traps or missing the gate to the next ring. Even the simplest setting at the lowest speed seems to be a challenge, and hopefully I will be able to reach the center some time. This is a completely different experience from the others so far, where time was nothing important during the solve.
Added on 2022-04-26
The dexterity puzzles are maybe one of the least favourite groups of mine (also because of my own skills in that area), yet in recent years I have started playing with Perplexus of varying difficulty, and these are fun to play with. Today an easier one arrived, easier than the Epic still to be solved: Perplexus Go! Spiral. This is a tiny ball compared to the others and also has less than half the moves of the Rookie/Rebel. Yet still it features some surprising asepcts of the solution I liked a lot. Not solved yet, but that cannot take long, I am sure! These puzzles also have the advantage that I can store them on top of my display cases without worrying of keeping them clean or secure, so they take up virtually no shelf space. Famous last words!
Added on 2022-04-23
Today an addition to the Compendium of Chinese-Rings-Like Puzzles, but not my collection. Oskar built a world record puzzle showing what n—ary puzzles can be. While the prototypes of this 4—ary puzzle only had a low number of pieces (like 5 or 11), the world record one has 55 and the number of moves is beyond what any human will ever be able to solve. Read more details in the puzzle's Compendium Entry which contains nice reference links to presentation of this puzzle. It seems that soon also a book will be published that will contain some more background story of this puzzle, details also in the compendium entry.
Added on 2022-04-22
Right for the weekend, two parcels arrived from the US with two sequential discovery style puzzles in it. The first one I was trying to buy for quite some time, and now it does not seem to be the right season of the year any more: Ice Box. A cool looking 3D printed puzzle with a lot going on inside and on top of the puzzle. I have already solved it and was in for a big surprise. A great puzzle and fun to solve, and while not extremely difficult, still a good challenge. The second one was ordered a bit later and when I saw a pre order form for it: Lock in pin. Coming from the same craftsman like the Pirate's Compass, which I really enjoyed, this one is a lot smaller, but large enough to hold the coin and the locking mechanisms in a beautiful little case. I have already found what seems to be the first few steps and I wonder how this journey will go on. So far, I like what I have seen and found! (Update while the first update finished uploading:) Found some more steps and a nice surprise as well, and have solved the puzzle, and I like the mechanisms. Two puzzles with a surprise, that must be good!
There are still some puzzles from last weekend to solve, and following my talk, my Twins Cube has once again become an accidental assembly puzzle. Need to fix that, to solve it the regular way!
Added on 2022-04-17

After a couple years without larger puzzle meetings for me, yesterday it was time for a GCD (German Cube Day) in Düsseldorf again, to meet many old and new friends, and also try and buy some puzzles. The first one I received there was the giveaway puzzle, and I had nearly forgotton that I was involved into arranging this for the giveaway: Senemmetry. I have seen some examples that some participants have found the correct solution, which is good. Beside the activities already mentioned, I was giving a talk which I had prepared for GCD 2020 two years ago, about my journey and extensive report solving a certain puzzle, including some historical overview. You can download the slides of a talk about a complicated twisty puzzle, but that will not give you the full solution, but maybe an idea why it was so very interesting to me.

After my talk while listening to two nice talks including some explosions and puzzle family discussions, I spotted a two puzzle mugs sitting in front of me on Joop's table. One was a tire company (including Michelin) themed mug, and Joop could quickly help Roman to close a gap in his Michelin themed puzzle family he told us about in the talk just minutes earlier. The other was quickly bought, for the theme and because I do not have any mug puzzles yet: Sliders Mug Star Trek TNG Romulan. Earlier that day, I found some fascinating new puzzles for sale on some overflowing tables (a view I have missed for more than 2 years!). First some variations of the classic Rubik's clock puzzles I had seen on pictures earlier this year: Magic Clock 3 Levels and Magic Clock 5 Levels. I wonder if they are more difficult or easier to solve than the original, and how the solving method transfers to these. In any case, they seem to be high quality with smooth mechanisms inside. From twisting puzzles to turning puzzzles, on the same table I was able to find some original TICs (3D printed by the designer himself) which I did not yet have (yes, I had to use this web site to check!): GalacTIC a puzzle with many rotations and many moves for the last piece to come out, and GeneTIC which seems to spread the rotations over different pieces in the solution. The next table(s) was/were stacked with those typical crates (so many of you know whose that was) and there I picked up puzzles from different categories and timeframes: Ton's Ring Puzzel from 1983 and improved in 2006, and there seems to be a lot of material considering you only need to remove that ring. Aus dem EFFEFF? was advertised to be interesting, contains two puzzles (one each side) and employs some new production techniques: The magnets are not part of the solution, but for easier production, to keep the two layers together. Earlier this year, I received a calendar packing puzzle with month and day of month to be arranged, and I have since been solving this as a daily challenge. This one offers 365 challenges (valid challenges this year) at a nice and moderate difficulty level. Now there is another new one that has some additional tricks: Happy Birthday!. The pieces are also including some larger ones, now you have month, day, and weekday to arrange, where each month name takes two adjacent spaces. A bonus question for this one: Couting the total square fields in this is easy, but how does this match what we have to denote the various days/months/weekdays, and how was this done? I also received an interesting "Oskar goodie" Crescents Coaster, which was the DCD giveaway I had missed, and had played with a bit before. From a puzzle friend, I recieved some more of Oskar's screw related puzzles: Nut Stack has already been assembled. 9 to 5 needs to be set up first to solve this challenge, moving the inner part through a maze so that the clock hand will end up at the 5 pm mark. The Screw Fit is obviously in a disassembled state and there are left and right hand threads involved, making it more of a challenge, and like for the last one, these versions don't contain the colours Oskar used in his, so no hints from there: Screw Pack is a "Screw Mess" right now, but hopefully a screw pack soon. While I was away, a package with a monster puzzle assembly kit challenge arrived from a Kickstarter campaign, and even with all my previous experieces on those plywood kits earlier on, this will take a while. The manual looks like a book for this time, and has some aspects I have not seen before in it. Time will tell when (/if?) that project is finished, but I am looking forward to it.

What a day yesterday! And an excellent one, thanks to all!

Added on 2022-04-07
I had some discussion with Michel about the Ziggurat puzzle and he wondered how many moves a 16 piece version would have, and the answer seems to be: 131023. This is based on a formula derived from a Burr-Tools file for the puzzles with up to 14 boards which I created. More details and the explicit formula have been added to the compendium entry, and there is also the Burr-Tools file for download, in case you would like to take a look. It can easily be extended to 16 pieces, but then the computation may take a while, based on my computer I would estimate maybe an hour.
Added on 2022-03-15
Today two different puzzle parcels arrived, but they had a lot in common: Both ordered on etsy, both from the US, and both beautiful 3D printed puzzles with some metal in it. The first one can easily be matched with the other puzzle from the same designer, just look at the colour of the puzzle and those white buttons: Free the One. This puzzle comes in one solid block instead of three smaller ones and has less buttons, but these buttons are still a lot of fun to push in. I even found a first step to somehow change the state of some part of the puzzle, and I am looking forward to solve the rest of it! The next one is Flippe Ball and first appeared in CFF, then the IPP Design Competition where it won a prize this year. This cute ball shaped puzzle with a steel ball inside is an entertaining and fun puzzle. First, you have to open it, and then explain how it works. The first part ends with a happy surprise and also contains some nice optical effects during the solution. So in the end, these puzzles from today's delivery have turned out to be completely different from each other.
Added on 2022-03-11
From a Kickstarter Campaign, today a heavy puzzle arrived, and was earlier than expected. Around 740g of heavy metal at a small size that fits into your hand, and a bit creepy to look: The Skull. This puzzle is made from steel boards cut with a technique using a wire, leading to nicely precise pieces, and there are many of them. 67 metal parts, and three additional wooden ones to show where the mouth and eyes would be located in this skull. A nice puzzle but I am a bit scared to take it apart!
Added on 2022-03-09
The latest arrival is a very colourful 3D printed puzzle, which appeared in a less colourful variant in the recent Design Competition: Ziggurat. When I saw the structure of the pieces, I had an immediate idea what type of puzzle it must be and how it works, and it seems I was right: This is a nice addition to the compendium and n-ary puzzle group pages. In the award ceremony, one of the designers mentioned that this was actually based on an attempt to break Burr-Tools, and then later on ended up as the seemingly minimal configuration of boards in such an n-ary puzzle: Each board has a pin interacting only with two more boards, and that is it. Quite an achievement, and also a fun puzzle to play with. It arrived in the standard configuration with only 6 boards built-in, but I could not resist and go through the whole disassembly sequence and then a longer sequence to re-assemble the puzzle with all 8 boards. A nice regular sequence, as we know them from n-ary puzzles.
Added on 2022-03-06
An update on the Burr Zoo page: The frog has been freed and the puzzle analyzed. It is a nice and interesting puzzle, but to my surprise has a non-unique solution. Read more on the Zoo page.
Added on 2022-03-05
From a puzzle friend I bought a beautiful wooden puzzle, the Literal Lateral Slide. It is a bit larger than I expected it to be, and for a reason. Not a high level or piece count, but definitely challenging and fun to solve. There are 6 nice wooden boards in 3 woods on the outside and some 4x4x4 interlocking cube like structure on the inside. As the name suggests, no rotations are involved, and this is also a puzzle from more than a decade before TICs became popular.
Added on 2022-03-02
When I found the latest Hanayama Cast puzzle available in a German store (at Knobelbox), I immediately ordered myself one, and included some more puzzles that do not take a lot of space: Cast Valve is the latest Cast puzzle released, even though I have already seen some pictures of the next one to come. Four pieces with a technical look, and not too easy I suppose. The next one also has four pieces and seems to be a bit more difficult: Cast Cyclone. This one won an award in this year's Design Competition. The last one is a simpler one and a disentanglement puzzle with a rope and a ring to be taken off: Baskerville. Probably that one will be the first one I can solve quickly, not so sure about the other two.
Added on 2022-03-01
Today again two parcels coming from east and west met at my place. They both contained some new puzzles, and two of them for special pages: The first one with nice 3D printed burrs, one containing something extra putting it into the Burr Zoo page: Frogurr. I have only seen the frog inside on pictures, and it looked nice, so now I am looking forward on meeting the frog piece in person. The other one could be Tic Tac Toe related, but is a framed burr with 3 pieces inside: Xs and Os, also 3D printed. The next puzzle has a fitting name for a vanishing puzzle, but in reality it is a coin trap, where you have to get the coin out from the inside of the triangle again: Bermuda Triangle. Nicely decorated! Also nicely decorated is the next one, which is a variation of a classic puzzle, with a twist: Square Hanoi. Usually, a Tower of Hanoi with 4 instead of 3 positions would become easier and the solution shorter. But is that the case here as well? We have an additional rule to obey: The discs can only move between horizontal or vertical neighbors, not through the center. Without that, the puzzle is a bit boring, but with this rule it becomes more interesting and requires further planning ahead. After having played with some Panex variants recently, this is another one for compendium and n-ary puzzle group, and the first addition to this group in 2022. However, I am expecting more to arrive soon.
Added on 2022-02-28
Last update of the month was first figuring out a rather easy shipping puzzle hunt, and then a beautiful and heavy metal padlock: Mind the Gap. Not a standard Abus padlock, but heavily modified as it seems. No immediate mystery with the key, but the shackle seems to be heavily modified, and the goal including the "reset puzzle" instruction makes me wonder if there are nasty traps built in to this nice puzzle. It looks very well machined so far and I am looking forward to solve it soon. Of course, this is somewhere on my to-be-solved-pile-of-shame at the moment, but on the weekend I managed to reduce this a little again, and not by giving away unsolved puzzles!
Added on 2022-02-17
Earlier on, I have already mentioned that puzzle parcels seem to come in clusters, and today two arrived from completely different directions. One arrived from the far east, with Rex' latest pocket sized sequential discovery puzzle inside: Luzon. It is one of the bigger ones of the series and feels nicely heavy. There is a little square window in front and I can see something moving around in there, and probably freeing that is part of the solution. The name and inscription made me wonder a bit, and some quick research revealed that "Luzon" seems to be the name of the greatest of the Phillipines islands. The inscription is more interesting, and I have solved that puzzle already: It is written in the old Baybayin letters original to Luzon, and they spell "Luzon" again, with the larger symbols being the consonants and those tiny ones below being the vowels. Fascinanting! The other parcel came from the west, from the US. In it some more sequential discovery dice puzzles, and this time it is two of them in one puzzle, as the name says: Pair O' Dice. What I like about this puzzle is that the dice are linked together, so you are not in danger of misplacing half of the puzzle when rearranging the shelves. I also like the decorations added by another known puzzle designer, Jared Petersen. The third one was a bonus by the seller of the Dice himself: Calendar Puzzle. A new packing puzzle for each day of the year, and I am sure that after one year the first solutions will have been completely forgotten, so it is an ongoing puzzle. Thanks a lot! More nice puzzles for my solving backlog, and I am only making slow progress, but the main aspect is that I am enjoying the puzzles I solve, and here are three more!
Added on 2022-02-14
An exciting and surprising Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition 2021 ended with yesterday's Awards Ceremony held on-line like the rest of the event. Many fascinating puzzles were presented and could be voted on and the new on-line format is working surprisingly well without the usual hands-on experience. A big thank you to the jury!
Now back to puzzles arriving in my collection: There was a kickstarter campaign last year featuring a new designer for Escape Rooms in a Box. This time with a designer from Miami in the US and a manufacturer in the UA (Ukraine): Professor's Cache. It seems to contain several types of puzzles and locks on the sides, and a cryptex locked inside. I am curious to see what I will find and if I can stay within the time limit of 60 minutes. This puzzle is adding to my puzzle solving backlog, and also growing escape room in a box collection.
Added on 2022-02-08
Today the postman rang twice and had some parcels for the neighbours and a tiny parcel for me, arriving from the US: In it, a cute 3D printed puzzle: DIESD. Looks like now I also have a die from Vegas, but this one is larger than the standard dice used and also a sequential discovery puzzle with some price inside to be found. It has over 20 steps to be found, and looking at it there seems to be a lot inside indeed. I may already have found the first move, but there are many more and I am looking forward to solving this cute puzzle.
Added on 2022-01-23
The Iceburrg puzzle has been disassembled and the penguin been freed, read more on the Burr Zoo page.
Added on 2022-01-21
As expected from recent parcel tracking mails, today another one arrived, and that should be the last one for now. In it a beautifully made cube from Alfons, which will be available from Pelikan very soon: Jakub's Cube. This one was designed for the Pelikan team, where Jakub is one of the owners of the workshop, and this copy has an additional engraving with the name on it, which looks even nicer in real life. Not only the woods are beautiful, but also the feel of the whole puzzle when moving pieces is a high quality experience and it is fun to move the pieces and listen to the sounds they make. So far, I have managed to get the first piece out (and back in), and that sequence is also a fun one with interesting moves and maybe close to 20 moves. I will look for the parameters of this puzzle when I have managed to get it apart completely, but even so far it has been a great solving experience.
Added on 2022-01-20
With a lot of new puzzles arriving recently, it is not easy to keep up with solving. But having solved the compass puzzle, which has some very nice features and a nice solution, I have also solved the Hexabox — sort of. Still need to figure out how to reassemble everything. Both very nice puzzles to play with, and then there are also the BitCoin Mazes! Today another expected delivery arrived, with an iceberg themed puzzle: Iceburrg. It is an odd name for an all black and yellow puzzle (like those "follow me!" cars on airports), but the real reason is also putting it into the Burr Zoo. There is a cuddly penguin inside! I haven't seen the penguin yet, and it is still locked inside the iceberg, but hopefully I will be able to free it soon and then write some remarks about what I found. Looks like James Fortune is busy designing more of the 12+x piece Zoo Burrs, and I have already seen a picture of the next one on the Mechanical Puzzle Discord. Luckily all of them have their very own distinct colour scheme, so they are easily identifiable, and you don't get a rabbit when you were actually looking for a pengin, for example.
Added on 2022-01-19
Recently, my friend Michel offered me to buy some BitCoins and I immediately ordered the set of them, and today the set of 6 BitCoins arrived, so I am rich now! They each come in a nice and sturdy packaging not easy to open and labelled with "BitCoin Maze" on them. Could this have been a scam and I shall have received some puzzles instead of BitCoins? Looks like this is the case, and this is even better! Here they are, a series of brand new maze puzzles by Robrecht in the usual excellent quality and materials: Bitcoin Maze #1, Bitcoin Maze #2, Bitcoin Maze #3, Bitcoin Maze #4, Bitcoin Maze #5, and Bitcoin Maze #6. I have started playing with #1 a bit and found some moves, but none that would allow me to retrieve the coin. Now I am having difficulties to get back to the starting position, so there must be some trickery in that maze inside. Intriguing! Thanks for the offer of these nice puzzles, Michel and Robrecht! I am sure I will have a lot of fun solving the whole series!
Added on 2022-01-18
Somehow I have the feeling that in the next days some more beautiful and fascinating puzzles will come in after the short break recently. After the hexagon shaped box last week, today there is an octagonal prism like object, beautifully made from wood and shaped like a compass. And that is also what it should be: Pirate Compass. As usual for new puzzles to arrive, I have only played with it a bit, and it seems to have a nice laser cut compass dial on it, which is able to rotate, so that you can point it to the north (manually, not by earth's magnetic field!). The main puzzle seems to be a solid body of wood, created from wooden boards. I have already found some places that may be small openings, and I have also found a first tool. This is going to be a fun puzzle to solve, looking forward to it!
Added on 2022-01-11
The first update for the new year, and some people have already been worried whether I was still collecting puzzles. I do, but these puzzles usually come in chunks and there were a lot of them before Christmas, and then there were the Zoo Burr solves. I still have some other puzzles to solve, and I am progressing steadily. Today a new one arrived, nicely 3D printed in black and red with some glitter effect: Hexabox. I already have the previous box by the designer, with the three drawers behaving strangely, and which participated in the design competition in 2019. I like that other box, the Drawer Box, and this new one was voted as one of his 2021 top 3 puzzles by my puzzle friend Michel, and that convinced me I also wanted to have this one. In fact, 2021 was a very good year to get new and excellent puzzles, so that many very good ones did not show up in the puzzle vote because there were just too many good puzzles last year. Now for this box, this also has 3 drawers, like the previous one, and you have to remove both the drawers and a coin again, and of course without external tools. I have played with the drawers a bit already, and while at first not much moves, soon it becomes a bit confusing, then clearer again, and then some unexpected moves happen. I am curious to solve this box and also to determine what this sequence of moves is. Looks like a fun challenge!
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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.