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.

News/Updates:

Added on 2021-09-20
Recently I came accross some new puzzle manufacturer in France, and yes it was one of those etsy product recommendations, most of which don't seem to make a lot of sense. However, in this case it was about wooden puzzle cubes, and here they are, coming in nice cardboard packaging: Cube 1 and Cube 2. I guess you could classify them also as serially interlocking framed cube puzzles. There are some sliders that can be pushed in, and some of them unlock others, while others do not seem to have a lot of effect, and some of them even move both ways. There is also a small key like object on top that can be used to push some of the sliders in. I have solved one of the Cubes already, and found some moves in the second one. Some moves are a bit unexpected, and from one of the Cubes, I have also managed to get some of the sliders out completely, showing how the sliders interact. After some horrible difficult (and confusing, but also some surprising and excellent) puzzles I played with in the last days, these are a bit of relaxing again and fun to play with without breaking one's mind.
Added on 2021-09-17
Another parcel arrived (etsy global shipping again, but this time it worked well) and brought a cute little box all in black: Poseidon's Vault 1.0. It is assembled from 3D printed parts, and created by a new designer. Having just received it, I cannot tell much about it, just that none of the obvious first steps did work, and that it came with some instructions telling that it should always be held upside down and flat while solving. This is an interesting new concept, haven't had this before! I am curious to see how this box works and tbe drawer opens. There is a small opening at the top of a side panel, through which some of the internals can be seen. However being all black, this is not much what you can see. Should I not be able to progess, the box also comes with some hints, and it seems that there is a paper allowing to unfold the hints one at a time. Successive hints are a nice concept and I have seen this on Exchange puzzles and also used this on one of my Exchange puzzles myself. Of course, I will try without hints first!
Added on 2021-09-15
After solving yesterday's new puzzle and enjoying it a lot, today another puzzle with a story arrived: dui mian. I was joining the last VMPP (virtual puzzle party) and they held a Pu(b)zzle Quiz, which is based on a typical UK tradition. Unlike earlier times, I ended up on second place and won this nice puzzle. It is a packing puzzle with the usual nice decorations which the designer applies to his puzzles. There is a wide open frame with a restriction built in, so it is a restricted packing puzzle again, and then 6 L shaped pieces. However, those pieces have holes drilled into them, that could accept the pin of the frame, but also the pins of the other pieces, which were added to make the puzzle more difficult and interesting. The first question is for what the target shape will look like. The pieces add up to 18 units, and this is not a nice cube or square number, but close to one, and two square layers may do the trick. Not sure about this, but the translator seems to tell something about a hexahedron, so that would be in a similar line. Now I only have to figure out how to deal with the central pin in the frame and the 5 pins coming with the L pieces, and they seem to be in unsuitable positions most of the time. Fascinating! Not sure this will be an easy task, but looking forward to it! And of course: Thanks Allard and team for organizing the VMPP which was good fun and for this nice prize!
Added on 2021-09-14
Recently, etsy has introduced a shipping method aligned to rare puzzles: more expensive and complicated, and sometimes requiring extra hints to solve. They call it "global shipping" and it seems to be their name for a puzzle hunt, for which they signed me up for more puzzling moments. The idea is that they add the destination country's taxes to the total and then deliver the item directly to you via a selection of different carriers. Sometimes that works, like for some recent deliveries. Sometimes however, this ends up in a big mess like the current parcel, to which the tax was added again by the customs office and then the carrier added a handling fee as well. To ramp up the chaos, they are hiding the tracking details from you and in my case told me "delivered" when the parcel was nowhere in sight and no notification provided to my mail box. Thankfully, the shop owner/designer of today's puzzle quickly helped to clean up the mess a bit by providing the tracking number that showed me that the parcel was waiting in a nearby post shop for me, so I could pick it up before it would go all the way back to the sender. Hopefully this new "service" will improve and we non US folks will not be fined double the taxes plus fees again. But now to the good part, the puzzle:
This puzzle is the third one in a trilogy of 3D printed sequential discovery puzzles in cubic shape: Mighty Pin. While also this starts by unscrewing a bolt, like the other two, this one has some fundamental difference in the workings. I have just started solving it and found some very interesting steps and I am curious to see what I will find. Like the other two, it is again nicely made as a high quality 3D print, this time even in two colours, and at a quite affordable price. I have heard some praises about this puzzle and that it should be even better than the other two, which I enjoyed a lot. Today also something else arrived very well packaged in a flat parcel from Czech republic and created by a puzzle friend from the UK. Not a puzzle, but puzzle related and still for offer on the Pelikanpuzzles shop and soon on Cubicdissection. Having had a first look, I am sure that this will take me more time than the puzzle, but will be easier to progress. Both objects arriving today will contain some Aha! moments, I am sure.
Added on 2021-09-13
Today not a new puzzle, but a compendium entry and n-ary puzzle group entry for: Faraday Cage. After having tangled up the puzzle during solving, I managed to untangle it, and in the process learned how the sequence works. In theory, it is not that complicated, but only if you don't go the wrong way or choose the wrong loop to begin. Once you have both worked out both, the puzzle can be solved rather quickly. Now I had fun solving this one, it is time for the next one, some of which I do not have an idea yet (like the Cableway). Unlike the other disentanglement puzzles, I enjoy solving those n-ary ones, of which I seem to have a better understanding. Let's see what the other ones will bring.
Added on 2021-09-11
Yesterday evening I found a small brass nut on the floor and was worried where it had come from, but after a quick while I found out it was just one of the puzzles losing such a nut from time to time. It was not the puzzle which arrived today (obviously!), which has bigger nuts on it: Bolted. Two bots and a few nuts bolted together and the objective is to get everything apart. Of course, nothing moves at first. Then some moves are possible, but those don't seem to lead anywhere. This is a nicely crafted and designed puzzle, and not too difficult. Like the others by te same designer, it came in a nice wooden box. A fun and beautiful looking puzzle!
Added on 2021-09-04
Today another Siebenstein puzzle arrived: Jailbreak. This is already a bit older, but I saw some interesting comments on this before and then was not able to find it available. The goal is to remove the ring from the central metal column. There are several columns sandwitched between the upper and lower structures, and these structures are partially made of acrylic so you can see inside. As a more or less spoiler free comment on the details: The ring does not have a gap and does not open. That is how far I got with the solution so far, and I am looking forward to actually solve it.
Added on 2021-09-02
From China two parcels from the same order arrived, and in them like a matrjoshka, nice padded boxes, and in those beautiful heavy metal puzzles. Some of them belong to the compendium and n-ary puzzle group, but I will add the information to those pages after solving. For the first and easy one, I am sure about its entry: Seahorse. The next one has a heavy central frame and some solid loops creating an overall heavy duty look and feel: Ratchet. Goal is to remove the rope with the two rings, and the length of the rope hints that this may not be easy. One of the main reasons for my order is Jack's Ladder II, which seems to be related to Jack's Ladder in some way, which I enjoyed solving a lot and which was quite difficult to figure out. I am looking forward to solve the second one in that series. The Dig Ears looks like a classic disentanglement puzzle that is not n-ary, and may be the the only one with that property in today's update, and it is also the only one made of metal only. Cableway looks like a bent-over variation of some classic n-ary puzzles, and this and the next two puzzles are nicely made to sit on a stand — the first time we see something like this offered by Aaron. Also this one has a long rope hinting that the main loop bent into a U shape through the classic chinese rings may increase the difficulty considerably. The next one shares many of these properties: Terraced fields. A long rope and a variation of a classic n-ary disentanglement puzzle, with some parts added that make it necessary to run backwards in the solution, just to be blocked by some other bent back components. Playing with this puzzle a bit, I soon found out what the two additional metal hooks are for, which Aaron provided. Makes it much easier to pull the rope through narrow bends. The next puzzle has a very interesting looking shape, that seems confusing at first, but at closer look is "just" one of the n-ary disentanglement puzzles (like Computer Loops or Computer Puzzler No. 5), just arranged in a circle, then the loops extended and stacked, each bent back over the next. Still confused? Then take a look at the picture of this puzzle: Faraday Cage. I started playing with it a bit, and managed to have the long rope jump from one ring to another one, which could be the base of the solution, but we will see! All these nice puzzles can be quite confusing, and they require a good and planned approach, not random trial and error. Did I mention that none of them comes with a quick reset in the loop? That should be enough to forbid a random approach!
Added on 2021-08-30
Before starting into September, three more new puzzle boxes arrived from Puzzle-Shop, all from the numbered series of puzzle boxes by Siebenstein: Puzzle Box 07 is the smallest one. Puzzle Box 08 is a bit bigger and has some sliders/levers sticking out that do not seem to do much, and Puzzle Box 09 seems to be a maze box, with one slider for each of the four sides (not top/bottom), and what looks like one maze for each and to be solved simultaneously. I have started playing with them a bit, and the last one, also marked "Laby Box", has some maze, but it is not completely blind guessing. There are some visible indications, and the sliders also have a nice rattling mechanism that makes them click into place. Without them, solving would be quite frustrating I guess. Let's see if something is hidden in those boxes, but usually they are empty, and the puzzle solving is the reward (and fun!).
Added on 2021-08-26
From the US a 3D printed puzzle flew in, and it travelled back and forth accross the US before leaving for Germany (according to tracking). A bit erratic, and with that scheme and with the looks, it could be mistaken a bit for a TARDIS (if it was printed in dark blue). However, it is a little robot and has the name clearly stated on the front: Burr Bot. From the leading designer of TICs (Turning Interlocking Cubes), this puzzle combines two categories in one: Burr/interlocking puzzle and sequential discovery. While many 3D printed puzzles are quite lightweight, this one has a nicely heavy weight to it, which may be due to some of the additional components inside (e.g. magnets according to the description!). I have played with the burr pieces a bit and they move in a satisfying way, and some of them have unusual properties to them, let it be the shape or something else. Getting the first piece out back into the puzzle proved to be non-trivial, but here that ThinkTM thing seemed to help me with that step. I am looking forward to see the rest of this puzzle and what is hidden inside to be freed! I like the overall idea of hybrid puzzles, which can be more than just the sum of their parts, and after all those recent examples from various categories, I hope we will see more of them! Now before continueing to solve the puzzle, Burr Bot is sitting there on my desk looking at me and teasing me to play right now. I don't think I will be able to resist that for very long!
Added on 2021-08-11
Quicker than expected today a parcel from MINE arrived, with some of his latest offerings: The first few are packing puzzles, where you have to pack pieces into a tray. Croissant comes with 3 of the 4 pieces inside and it also does not seem trivial to get those 3 out, as the opening of the tray is quite restricted. The other three are playing Tetris a bit, each with the Tetromino set, but different trays: Tetromino Case V01MU and Tetromino Case V02MU have one drawer each, but of different shape. Tetromino Case V03HK has two drawers, and all the drawers should be closed after the pieces have been placed inside. The next three puzzles are all about the well known theme of getting a bit of money out of your puzzling hobby. In the COIN MAZE, a coin is locked into the middle field and the goal is to unlock it and slide it out of the maze step by step. The next three are small coin traps each featuring some tricks to get the coin out: Lucky Sixpence, FengHuang, and FengHuang. The last one is a riddle in physical form and nicely made: Wise Dog Puzzle. A whole variety of different dogs was available and I got number 08. Those packing puzzles will be some nice contrast to the lock, sequential discovery, burr and take apart puzzles where you cannot see much. These puzzles here are transparent to show you all the inner workings, and they are all cute and nicely made and coming from MINE's current "mass production".
Added on 2021-08-10
Yesterday I played through the virtual escape room Steve had created for the virtual MPP last weekend, I had great fun and a good deal of laughs caused by some inside jokes. Today, back to real world puzzling with something arriving for my collection. The puzzle was dispatched over a month ago and then (according to USPS tracking) took a month within the US to the international airport to leave the US. Just a few days later, it arrived here and it is cute and beautifully made of wood: Free Me 7. This one is smaller than the others, yet a coin of the same kind inside. Not a lot can be seen from the outside, but you can hear some pieces rattling inside when shaking carefully. I am looking forward to solve this one, and hope it will be as good as the others in the series (or better?), which I all enjoyed.
Added on 2021-08-07
Today a virtual puzzle party is taking place, a format which was introduced due to the pandemic last year. There are no puzzles to be picked up there, but sometimes you are lucky and some new puzzle arrive from recent puzzle orders: Of the puzzle LUTZ, I only had a prototype, which had an additional unintended solution I found, but also a nice solution. This one here only allows the nice solution and is beautifully crafted in various woods. The objective is to pack the pieces into the frame in such a way that they can then be slid out through the opening on the side, basically as a 2 dimensional puzzle. A nice Aha! moment to find the correct solution. From the same designer another puzzle with three blocks to be packed into the box with restricted opening: Fermat. To ensure that it does not get boring, this time we are dealing with three triangular prisms instead of cuboids, and I am wondering if that will make it even more difficult. An older but nice looking design features four pieces caught in a frame: Waffle. This one comes assembled and the goal is to remove the pices, which requires many moves and also some rotations. The last one is from the previous Pelikan release, and here you have to pack six identical pieces into a box: L6. When doing packing puzzles, these are my favorites, and I will see how this one goes, putting the 6 L shaped pieces inside, like the name suggests. A parcel of beautiful wooden puzzles, adding to my puzzle backlog now.
Added on 2021-08-06
In my collection, there is a Polar Bear Puzzle, but not by this name and you can find it searching for it in the big Interlocking category. Recently, there was an offer for another one of those Polar Bear themed puzzles, which I ordered quickly, and then this arrived: Polar Burr. Of course, I knew what I was ordering and this is the latest of Derek's high level helical burrs, produced by the Two Brass Monkeys (as 3D print, not brass). It is said to have the highest level of them all, and I have a lot of them already and they are getting more and more complicated. Just 4 pieces twisting, but I still expect some serious puzzling going on here, and fun! Looking forward to solve this one here (also getting it back into cylinder shape).
Added on 2021-08-03
Quickly arriving after the release from the US a new box appeared today: Spirit Box. This is a nice looking box without any visible mechanisms on the outside. There is a lot ratting in the inside, and probably all that will be part of the locking mechanism(s). The lid is spring loaded and can be pushed down a bit, but not revealing any opening. I am looking forward to open this box and to see what is inside and what makes all the noise when shaking the box.
Added on 2021-07-29
Today I completed the solution of the "Goetz" puzzle by Alfons after close to two weeks of occasional puzzling (in parallel to the other recent gems), and has some interesting burr and pin locking mechanisms, and was fun to solve. Not too easy and also not too challenging. Then the next puzzle arrived today already. It seems to be a nicely crafted Soma cube coming from Australia, or isn't it? Well, close! It looks like a Soma cube, but is a sequential discovery box, like the SDBB, the SDBBB, and the SDBBM. Here you can see a picture of the puzzle sitting on its stand: Sequential Discovery Cubed Box. It looks beautiful, and I can feel that there are separate pieces, like in a Soma cube. However, they may wiggle a tiny little bit, but not disengage. So it is indeed something more, and if you shake it, there is a lot of rattling coming from inside. I have already discovered one of the steps and a tool that looks typical for the designer, and that first step gave me a bit of a shocking surprise and then a big smile on the face. Very well played, Juno! Looking forward to the rest of the solution, going to be fun!
Added on 2021-07-17
Just yesterday I managed to find the last steps in the Abraham's Well puzzle, and managed to take it apart into the 23 pieces, and also found that typical Australian item — wondering who would put that into a well. A great puzzle made from both wood and various metals. The T13 is progressing, but far from solved yet, even after some interesting discoveries. After these puzzles involving some metal, today a package full of beautiful wood arrived from Alfons. It contained various puzzles very well crafted and with beautiful wood grains, and all complex high level interlocking puzzles and burrs to be solved. The first one was actually the reason for this order, and you may guess from the name of this puzzle Alfons designed: Goetz. I feel honoured, and it is a puzzle with beautiful wood grains, and also an interesting piece layout that ensures fun solving (as I am expecting). It is a board burr consisting of 9 boards, which have slots at the edges, some of them with some barriers, and then also both some round locking pins and rectangular locking blocks, which I was able to find out by performing a few moves, opening a view into the puzzle. This one is going to be fun to solve! For the next one, I spotted some inside pictures on the Mechanical Puzzle Discord recently: Atacama. With that name and desert theme, it is an addition to the Zoo Burr Group, also because it contains an animal and a person, like the Gobi puzzle. As the others, this puzzle is nicely labelled with an engraved name, but this one has some particularly beautiful wood grains that look much better than on the picture. For the next one, the wood grains are slightly more normal, but Alfons found a decorative way of enforcing piece orientations: Manke. This puzzle has a nice pattern on the top of the central pieces, and a different one on the bottom, and both patterns are rotation symmetrical, so that they don't give too much away about the placement of the pieces inside the puzzle. The next one has a descriptive name and looks a bit like a pot with two handles indeed: Pot van Olen. Four sticks in the center, and then two additional pieces meshed into each other, forming this outer structure, that is going to give some confusion during the solve — I am sure about that! Alfons included a surprise bonus puzzle, which looks pretty harmless: Mira. This is a caged six pieces burr, but the level is everything but harmless: At 80 moves for the first piece, this is going to be a challenge, and while pondering on the next move, looking at the nice wood grains for some inspiration may help. Thank you, Alfons!
Added on 2021-07-08
Yesterday's puzzle is a nice puzzle to play with and discover things. For example, I have discovered that it is a great fidget toy, as there is a part that you can make spin at high speeds. But that does not seem to be related to the solution (yet?), and of course I have already made some useful and fascinating discoveries, showing me a tiny bit of the excellent workmanship. While this Well puzzle still needs a good deal of solving, a heavy package arrived today. I thought it may be a good thing to secure my puzzle collection a bit, so I ordered myself a lock, and it is massive and gives you a good deal of security feeling: Popplock T13. Of course, that one has a completely different purpose and is meant as a complicated puzzle itself. It looks beautiful and very well crafted, as we know the Popplocks are. According to my kitchen scale, it is just a tiny bit lighter than the T11, but according to the description is more complex and difficult even. It comes with a (normal sized) key, but the first observation was that the key does not insert and just open that lock. What a surprise?! Starting to play with the lock, I have already made a first nice discovery, and then something unexpected happened. Well, that is where the real trouble fun starts! Looking forward to see more of this lock and solve it eventually! Will be a massive puzzle and puzzle undertaking, I am sure!
Added on 2021-07-07
All the way from Australia, a nice little parcel arrived, and in it a beautiful and small, but very heavy puzzle: Abraham's Well. I have seen a prototype on one of Brian's virtual shop tours before, so I was not surprised about the size, which is an excellent size that saves a lot of shelf space, similar to the ResQ puzzle. What surprised me a bit was the heavy weight and the amount of shiny polished brass to be seen. Even now, without opening anything, it becomes a little bit clearer why Brian mentioned that he had to ramp up his metal workshop for this puzzle. The rest of the puzzle is made in nicely decorated wood, and then there are also some hazardous areas in that puzzle, pointy bits that can hurt your fingers a bit and I am not sure what these decorative elements are meant for. Even though it is a well, fluids like water or oil don't seem to be involved, and the last well puzzle coming from Australia had a similar aspect and turned out to be cute and fascinating sequential discovery puzzle. One aspect of the description sounds interesting to me: It does not seem to be clear which pieces coming out are tools and which are not. Looking forward to solve this one, but something tells me it may take a while, and that is good for a puzzle!
Added on 2021-07-02
Today a quick update with two puzzles again, this time coming from Nowstore. Both are interesting new variations on puzzles I already have. The Master Clover Cube is a master version of the clover cube, a helicopter cube variant — hence the name! For each edge, the pieces have been replaced by two layers of pieces, adding more difficulty and possiblity for crazy jumbling. Another view is that the petal pieces now consist of four pieces, namely two petals and two smaller ones. Of course, you can simulate a Clover Cube by just using the larger edge groups only. It looks like this one will be interesting to solve! The Rainbow Plus Cube is a variation of the Rainbow cube, with additional 2x2x2 cuts. We did have that before (for the Dino Cube), and indeed the Super-X is a very close relative, just not mass produced. From the visible pieces and solving experience, this is like a Super-X with the corners truncated and then the internal corner pieces visible. Unfortunately, the 2x2x2 moves require very precise alignment, or the moves will not happen and also the puzzle may complain by spitting out some of the pieces. This adds a dexterity component to this puzzle, and I wonder if that can be improved by some fine tuning and lubing. Definitely two twisty puzzles not for beginners in today's update, but more for the advanced twisty puzzler!
Added on 2021-07-01
Earlier this year, there were times where I was slowing down a bit and no puzzle updates came in for some weeks, and some people were worried whether I was still around and puzzling. Today, there is quite the opposite: Not many puzzles in numbers, but two parcels on one day. The first one to be picked up at the customs office and a puzzle that I had last seen (and played with and taken pictures of) at IPP34 in 2014. It has not been on its way that long, but is a recent build which my puzzle friend Namick built, and an improved version of the original design: Digi Fork-Lock. It is more colourful than the original and also the mechanism is more sturdy and moves nicely. There is an n-ary (more precise: 4-ary) sequence in it, with a lot of dead ends, many of which I have already explored by accident. A great puzzle and fun to play with, and of course a worthy entry to both compendium and n-ary puzzle group! If there was a hole in the back or a hook attached, I am sure this would also be acceptable as a piece of modern art to be mounted to the wall, like a painting. However, playing with it is so much more fun! The second one I had only spotted last week in an announcement and just started shipping: Fort Knox Box. This is one of the cute Escape Room in a Box puzzles from one of the manufacturers specializing in this, and from the same company like the recent Space Box. It is Fort Knox themed, but too light to have any noticable amount of shiny gold in it, and actually the objective says something about a mummy to be freed. Should Fort Knox be much older than we all thought it was? The box seems to have several combination locks, and according to the usual rules, for each you have to find a combination somewhere on/in the box before trying to open the particular lock. I had a lot of fun with the previous ones, and there is already a Kickstarter campaign for another of them, which just completed yesterday. More escaping fun to come, but first get the mummy out of this hexagonal safe!
Added on 2021-06-25
While the recent big auctions were running with the prices skyrocketing, I was able to win an interesting puzzle in a smaller auction, and today it arrived: Unsafe Deposit. This is the predecessor of the Bolt Action, and like that one, it is 3D printed and has several internal mechanisms inserted during the print. Having already solved it, I can tell that it is maybe a bit easier than the later one, but still a nice solution using several tools in serveral steps. Also, it is not as easy to get outside the US like the successor, but luckily now I have one in my collection. A cute and fun puzzle to play with, and I am looking forward to the third one in the series to arrive soon.
Added on 2021-06-23
Recently, Wil and Roger teamed up and made it possible that I could extend my Roger puzzle collection. Today a very well packaged parcel came from Wil arrived bringing some of these gems: Feuerzeug (Lighter), Propeller, and Geburt/Birth (Robot). Of course, I have no idea how they work, but I will happily start solving them, but it may take some time. While these puzzles all need to be solved without seeing the mechanism in the inside, there were some nice symmetry puzzles in the parcel, where you can see everything — thank you, Wil! They are both by the well known Russian puzzler and puzzle designer Vladimir Krasnoukhov, and you have to make a symmetrical shape with just a few pieces each: Simplicitas-3 and Uol Puzzle. I am not sure which one of the puzzles coming in today I will solve first, but all of them may be difficult to me. A lot of puzzling fun arrived today!
Added on 2021-06-09
Back in April, a new puzzle was released, again with 3D printed parts and coins, so you may get the basic idea. When I first saw it, I did not know that it is actually 3 cute boxes with friendly white buttons and some slots for coins, I thought it would only be one. Here you can see how they look like: Free the Five. The name gives away the goal: Get all 5 coins out of these boxes, and from what I understand they are no separate puzzles, but one overall puzzle. So far I have seen 3 coins through some windows, so there must be two more. Those slots you can see on the puzzle are surely to get these coins out, and also the two hidden ones, but there are more slots than coins. Fascinating! So far, I have pushed some of the nicely spring loaded white buttons and made one coin disappear. After that, I could make it re-appear again, a first step into the right direction, I think. Some more button pushes later, the coin vanished and would not re-appear, and maybe that is OK. Several button pushes later the coin appears it the window again. Of course, I won't tell you what else I tried, to keep this more or less spoiler free. Just let me mention that I had a lot of fun with this puzzle already, and that was only the first of three boxes and no coin out. There should be other copies appearing soon, and I have actually seen pictures of them. I was among the first to order this puzzle, but then it seems that USPS was also busy trying to solve this puzzle for quite some time. Hopefully all 5 coins are still inside!
Added on 2021-06-02
Today my first visit to the local Customs office since the pandemic broke loose, and I could pick up a nice package with a variety of puzzles from CoreMods. While there was beautiful wood and packing puzzles yesterday, today the puzzles are mainly nicely 3D printed and feature sliding pieces puzzles and some other categories: The first one is a transparent puzzle: Innumeracy. It looks like it is a boring 3x3 sliding piece puzzles with 8 pieces, but then there is a second and third layer of pieces with numbers 1 to 9 underneath, and in the empty position, the respective piece is able to shift between the layers. Goal is to get the numbers on all layers aligned and into the usual scheme. Maybe a better explanation for this is the next one: Pixel 2.1. That one has not only 3, but 4 layers, and all but the red layer feature 4 pieces, and you can scramble the puzzle pieces between the layers and in the layers and then solve for the solid colours matching the colours of the frame. A nice touch are those little holes in the frame allowing you to actually see the hidden layers. After scrambling, I went for a different goal: Swap the red and green layers and leave yellow and orange intact, and that is how my puzzle looks like now. The Shifty reminds me of the marble stacker I received from CoreMods some time ago, just that this time it is more of a sorting game instead of an n-ary puzzle with a trick. Fun to play with, well made and yet it features a hidden trick that can make solving just a bit more complicated. Next category is take apart puzzles: Candy Corn. Some of the visible components are rotating, others are shifting, and then some can be pushed in, and it sounds like there is something going on inside. Not solved yet, still curious how that one will work. The last one looks like a classic: Rope Ladder. Now being in the disentanglement category, of course the goal is to remove that black rope with the bead, and there are two similar sequences of moves required. A fun puzzle and not overly difficult. It is great to see a young designer being active in this variety of puzzles (and he also offers more categories, like Twisty puzzles, packing puzzles, or those unstable eggs series') and creating high quality puzzles.
Added on 2021-06-01
Today a parcel from Tom Lensch arrived with some beautifully crafted puzzles, and they are all packing puzzles and all designed by Goh Pit Khiam, but otherwise quite different. The first one is a modern classic: Ship in a Bottle. Actually the pieces came separately for preventing damage during transport and I had to set up the blocks like shown, a nice and not too complicated challenge with an extra challenge on the way. As I was well trained from recent packing puzzles (including ResQ, where the vortex pieces do not come out, but require some tricks), I found that extra challenge quickly. This bottle ship looks beautiful and of course the plug does not fall out, and then there is also a lot of access to maneuver the pieces. The real challenge is to make the ship sail the other way (or the same way, with the bottle plug facing to the right).
The next one was the main reason for my order, after I had discovered it in a recent VMPP (virtual puzzle party): 4L Bin. It is a packing puzzle, and it is n-ary! So it certainly receives its place in compendium and n-ary puzzle group. This is the first n-ary packing puzzle I know of, and while entering the 4L shaped blocks (hence the "4L" in the name) into the box (hence "bin"), entering the last pieces after putting the first three in will require a binary sequence (hence "bin" in the name, again!). A well designed puzzle and interesting concept and also well chosen name. More detail pictures can be seen in the compendium entry. Of course, with these puzzles, the border between packing and interlocking burr puzzles is not a strong one. What may be a difference here is that while other puzzles have hundereds (or thousands) of moves for complete disassembly, this one came as a box with 4 pieces to put in, and no internal guiding system like for many of those disassembly puzzles. Even though also puzzles like the Merry-go-Round set came with the pieces outside the box/frame, this one seems to be more like a packing puzzles than the other ones, with a clear objective: Pack the pieces into the box, so that they are completely inside.
The last one is a smaller packing puzzle and has three beautiful canarywood pieces to be packed: EdgeHog. The box has a 3x3x3 inside volume consisting of 27 cubies and an opening of 2x3, and the pieces all have a slightly different shape of 7 voxels each. Should not be that difficult? Well, only packing this assembly within a 3x3x3 bounding box outside of that box proved difficult to me, and of course that assembly did not allow for any obvious way how to get it into the box. So this puzzle will keep me busy packing for some time, I guess. Three beautiful and interesting puzzles for today, something to be happy about!
Added on 2021-05-14
Some years ago, burrs were given a new twist and a whole assortment of Helical Burrs were designed by Derek Bosch and printed by Shapeways and Steve. Now there is a new one, and it looks great: Helical Burr 2, or as The Two Brass Monkeys call it: Heel lick all bare, too! It has more moves than the previous ones according to the fact sheet. Performing these moves is not an issue, as the puzzle is nicely 3D printed, only the correct sequence of these moves will be the challenge. Recently, I revisited some of the others, looking forward to this one, and they are as difficult to solve as I remember it, and difficult they are indeed. Looking forward to solve this new one to see how it behaves.
Added on 2021-05-11
After having a lot of fun solving the two puzzles from last update, the next update brings some new puzzles already. This time, 3D printed mazes where you can see everything: Holonomy maze 1 and Holonomy maze 2. A week ago, the designer announced them on the Discord and on Youtube, and they seemed interesting enough to place an order with Shapeways, and they did an amazingly fast printing job. The puzzles arrived 10 days before they were even planned to go to the printer. Now for the puzzles: They are two different variants of the same concept and with the same sliding piece running in a maze on a sphere. In the pictures you see the already solved state (so they are not too difficult puzzles), where the green slider is securely kept in the starting position. The same position is also the goal position where the slider can be removed. The main difference between the two is the orientation of the slider, with the two legs facing outwards. In one orientation it is locked into the starting position, another one is the goal position, and in the other orientations the little arms don't even allow the slider to enter that field. When sliding the green piece, it can only slide along the channels, so how could the required rotation be accomplished? That is where the holonomy comes in: When walking on a sphere to the south for 90°, then west 90°, and then north 90° again, you will end up in the same spot, but with the orientation changed clockwise by 90°. Not all channels can be used in all orientations, as there are little potrusions sticking out and getting into the way of the little green arms. This is basically all that there is about these puzzles. And maybe that they are well made and fun to play with and to solve! Two different arrangements of blockers lead to the two different mazes, with the pinkish one having longer straight routes, and the purple one shorter cycles and there are also some dead ends like in almost every maze.
Added on 2021-05-07
After yesterday the puzzle box from Canada arrived quicker than expected, today two more very quick parcels arrived. Having been delayed for one monthly update for further improvement, the first puzzle was a quick release this Monday, and today it arrived over here, after undergoing a customs inspection: ResQ, a variant of the VisitorQ puzzle. The two wood variants sold out within 3 minutes, and I was lucky enough to be able to order one of these beautifully crafted puzzles quickly. From the description, it seems to have a high level interlocking / sliding puzzle inside, with some sequential discovery aspects and a handful of small spaceship parts inside, and when you hold the wooden vertex pieces in place and shake, you can hear a lot of rattling inside, but that seems to be normal for the recent Cubicdissection releases, at least the boxes. To avoid losing any small parts, it comes with a nice solving mat in a pouch. So far, I have managed to free the visitor, but haven't been able to progress further. The other parcel cam from a friend who managed to get some new puzzles from Constantin Spiele which will be hitting the market soon, among them one that I had ordered because of the interesting looks: Photo Box. It is called a box, but I don't see how it should open, so maybe the objective is something different? I have made some discoveries already, but not progressed much. For both these puzzles which arrived today (and the box from yesterday), I am looking forward to see all the secrets which they hold.
Added on 2021-05-06
From Kelly Snache I have quite some of his tea boxes. These are traditional and original wooden boxes made out of light balsa wood and have been modified to become puzzle boxes. The latest one arrived today: Tea Box - Apple Pie. There is a wooden apple sitting on top of the box and it does not seem to come off, but other parts seem to come off, directly or with some additional manipulation. On the two long sides there are two little windows each, and numbers can be seen inside them. My first idea was to rotate that wheel to set a combination, but of course that does not work! There is more to discover in this cute little box, but so far I have not made much progress, and I am curious to see what is to come. Usually, when solving Kel's puzzles you can afterwards have a look at all the mechanisms inside, and I am looking forward to that, too. While most of the box features the simple look of a tea box (because that is what it is!), there is also some nice craftsmanship and even some beautiful lacewood to be found.
Added on 2021-04-23
Last weekend, we had another great and fun virtual MPP (Midlands Puzzle Party) on-line, which involved both fire and wooden puzzles (but not at the same time!), and while it is impossible to bring puzzles for other puzzlers to play with, or even add to their collections, this one resulted in an addition to my collection. More than one puzzler showed a beautifully handcrafted and carved puzzle box and spoke highly of it, so I immediately placed an order with the designer on his Etsy shop. The order was processed quickly and today already, a nice little package arrived from Cyprus, and in it a beautifully handcarved box: Large 17 Combination Sequential Puzzle Box from The Mediterranean Carver. The parcel was of a good size, but when I unpacked the box from this efficiently and well packed parcel, I was in for a surprise: Those boxes look so much smaller on screen! So now I have a beautiful box to store my unsolved puzzles in? Well, it is not that big! And it is a great puzzle on its own. All those decorations are part of the plan to hide the parts of the locking mechanisms, and Barry did an excellent job here! As the name says, there are 17 steps to find and perform until this box opens. Some of them are more well hidden than others, so that you quickly find something to start with and then have to work your way through the box to open it. There is also a key moment: Yes, the box has a key needed to open it, and neither the key nor the keyhole are to be seen, and finding each of those requires multiple steps. This is a great and beautiful box with a nice heavy wood feel and puzzling fun to open it. I managed to open it and understand the whole solution, and only then took a look at the solution, which is also well made, but should be kept hidden unless you are really desperate.
Added on 2021-04-21
Today a clever packing puzzle adding to the recent series, and neatly 3D printed: Vortex. After receiving the pieces, I quickly assembled the box, the lid, and the frame, and that opening rotates nicely on the top side. However, it seems I have made a terrible mistake and forgot to put in the pieces before assembling the box. Now the opening is quite restricted and it seems quite impossible to get all of them in. Even a first analysis showed that this must be an impossible task, and while the small opening will allow to pack some of the pieces into the box, the last few ones just won't get in. Now the lid is securely fastened to the box and it cannot be removed, only rotate. And this is the fascinating new feature of this box which also made me choose it for my collection. Well, time will tell if this is really an impossible object or can be solved after some time, like the others from the series could.
Update 2021-04-22: Only a day later and I have to say the puzzle is indeed solvable. The considerations that led to my doubts yesterday can indeed be used to determine an assembly that can be packed into the box, making use of the rotating lid multiple times as well. Burr-Tools cannot be of help here, or can it? A fascinating puzzle!
Added on 2021-04-10
Meanwhile, I was able to solve (most of) the The Tippenary Mystery Tour and it is a superb puzzle that goes on and on and on. I have seen all the pieces of the box and enough to create a compendium entry for it, but there is still an additional challenge I need to solve, and believe me: That is a difficult one! I tried to avoid spoilers in the compendium entry, to keep the surprise for everyone. This is a great puzzle and very well made, after having a lot of fun with it already, I am still up for that extra challenge.
Added on 2021-04-09
After the parcel with some nice n-ary wooden puzzlebox, today there is already another one of those, which is a big surprise. It arrived from Jack Krijnen, who had built his Jack-in-the-Box, which fell into several categories, being a box, a riddle solving puzzle, an assembly challenge at the end, and being part of the compendium and n-ary puzzle group. Today the successor of this nice box arrived, and it is not the first time I saw it. At DCD 2019, Jack showed me a prototype and demonstrated some steps (which did not help me this time, as I did not remember the solution part). I played with the box a bit and then went onto Jack's mailing list, and now here it is: The Tippenary Mystery Tour. According to the description, it has sequential discovery components, riddle solving, and in the end an additional challenge. So far, I have played with it a bit, but not progessed much so far, so all the details for compendium and group page will be added later. The outside of the box looks similar with the nice contrast between panels and edges, and I am looking forward to solve this box. What I am expecting is that this will come apart into at least three stages, with the lid on top and a big box in the bottom, and I already had some fun solving the first puzzle and I am now looking at the next challenge, and this looks more complicated to me, and very well made.
Added on 2021-04-08
After the new nice heavy metal puzzles in last update most of which I have solved (the Sticky Barrel is still sticky), today a parcel from Sweden arrived, which is a very rare occasion. Recently, Fredrik Stridsman implemented the n-ary design "ReTern Key with Circular Pieces" into a new puzzle box, and I was happy to hear of this and bought one for myself, and a parcel with this box quickly arrived today. With the box came a surprise puzzle, and additionally the box was not empty but contained another surprise puzzle, which I could unwrap after opening the box. Thanks a lot for these nice puzzles! So today's update will feature not one, but two new puzzles / variants for the compendium and n-ary puzzle group. The first one is the beautifully made box, consisting of a nice wooden box and a transparent lid, which is the actual ReTern Key based puzzle, but it needs to be solved slightly different: N-Airy Box. If you would like to know more about the difference to the ReTern Key with Circular Pieces, you may have a look at the compendium entry, but be warned that this may contain some slight spoilers. The second puzzle is actually a bigger version. Not bigger than the box, but the physical size smaller, so that it also fits into the box: ReTern Key with Circular Pieces (Coin Release). This is the actual puzzle that box is based on, but featuring more pieces and a longer solution sequence. And then there is a coin to be freed, which comes out after the leftmost special piece has been slid all the way up. Also this puzzle got its own compendium entry. The third one is something completely different. A nice pocket sized, 3D printed puzzle: Stack-A-Maze #1. As the name suggests, the blue pieces interact in some form of stacked mazes und the goal is to remove these blue pieces from the frame. I haven't progressed very far with this one, because I was busy playing with those ternary sequences. Great puzzles, and they are fun to play with and with nicely sliding pieces.
Added on 2021-04-03
Today a parcel from the UK arrived, and it is one effect of the Brexit that it took much longer than before and added some import taxes. Inside the parcel, there were three nice wooden boxes, and inside those neatly packed and presented three hand made metal puzzles. They look beautiful, better than in the pictures I have taken, and feel very solid and valuable. The first one is a bolts and nuts puzzle where the nuts have to come off the bolt without any external tools allowed: Nuts. This is the one I have solved already and while not too difficult, I like it very much, and the build quality is excellent. With the other two, I have played a bit and have gotten nowhere with them so far: Spinning Tumblers is a stack of tumblers that has to be taken apart, and all of them (including the ends) seem to spin freely, and that would not make it easy to get a good grip on them to get them off. The Sticky Barrel looks a bit like a miniature butter churn. The stick can spin and slide, but it will not come out — and extracting the stick is actually the goal of this puzzle. After all the wooden and 3D printed puzzles, I have now some more beautiful heavy metal puzzles for my collection and I am looking forward to solving them.
Added on 2021-04-02
Yesterday early eveing, a puzzle package with some new puzzles for Easter arrived, thank you! The first one is an expansion of the Whirling Wheelies puzzle, and there are many quite different expansion sets now, very versatile concept: Traces. This puzzle/extension is a combination of several concepts including some deduction, and comes with a set of interesting challenges. The other are more sliding maze puzzles in the classic sense, but with a twist: Sliding Maze includes a layer with a maze restricting the movement of the sliding blocks and an additional slider which makes solving the puzzle (re-ordering the number sequence to ascending) possible. The third one is: Just Six Pieces which uses little cut-outs in the pieces, a concept which I have always liked when it showed up in sliding piece puzzles. After all the packing puzzles, I now have some nice puzzles to slide pieces around.
Added on 2021-04-01
Some time end of last year, MINE was offering to build some new puzzles, and while I am not an expert on packing puzzles, ordered some of them, and in the second half of February a parcel arrived with some brand new puzzles — but we were requested not to post any pictures some while so that everybody could enjoy their own surprise. The first two are 3D packing puzzles, and the first one is a successor of an award winning puzzle: 5L Basket, it is the first one I solved and it was a nice and not too difficult challenge, and somewhat different from the 4L Basket. The Chiral 2 + 2 contains 4 pieces to be packed into the box. The rest are 2D tray packing puzzles, many of them with different challenges via a two sided frame with different shape. Some of them have all pieces the same, others have all different pieces, and none of them seem trivial: 5 Mononoke, Five Fennec Foxes, 6 Ayakashi, Z1*8, and Z2*5a. It seems that near miss solutions are quite easy to achieve, but that does not solve the puzzles. For the 5 Mononoke, I created such a near-miss solution, and only a bit later realized it was quickly turned into a solution for the puzzle. I like how this one turns your expectations against you to keep you away from the solution. However, when you know this, the solution comes much closer already. All these are beautifully made puzzles and good for some puzzling entertainment.
Added on 2021-03-30
In my latest puzzle package, there was an additional surprise bonus puzzle included, thank you! It is from a well known designer: Outback. I have managed to get the four big pieces into the frame, but that small block should also go inside as well and that is an open challenge for me.
Added on 2021-03-29
Last year, I bought a 3D printed take apart puzzle from Turtle3D, but the puzzle related to this name is one I did not get. I hesitated because I don't like electricity and electronics in mechanical puzzles, and I also missed out several releases, but it was a puzzle that was highly recommended by some puzzle friends of mine, so I just had to get it: Turtle Trip. Yes, it is 3D printed again, and magnetic (no magnetic plastic!) and it is heavy. There is a lot going on inside it, and I have only started trying to solve it when my eyes lit up — or rather something in the puzzle lit up with a friendly green glow. That is assuring to continue with the trip! This puzzle looks beautiful with many nice details and feels very well made, and I am not only looking forward to sending Turtle on his trip, but also finding the party pants for him to wear, which is the goal of this puzzle. This puzzle has a good size, too! I have been moving around some puzzles in my display cabinets lately and there is just the right space for this one now, like in a big packing puzzle.
Added on 2021-03-27
From the latest Pelikan release, some very beautiful wooden puzzles arrived today. The first two are packing puzzles, the third one is a mixture of packing puzzle and interlocking puzzle, and the last two are high level interlocking puzzles. This update starts with AKKU, which is another word for rechargeable battery in German, and that may be related to putting 9V of current into that box. To be more precise, 9V (or L) shaped pieces, all identical. Knowing Volker Latussek's puzzles, I know not to underestimate this simple sounding challenge! The next one is a multi challenge packing puzzle from Alexander Magyarics, where you can extract the pieces and then set the sliders for the challenge you want to solve: Sliders. I think this one will keep me busy for a long time! His Pepper Castor is usuing an unusual triangular grid instead of the usual cubic one, and it looks fascinating, reminding me of a pepper shaker (hence the name!). The last two are from Christoph Lohe, who focused on interlocking puzzles with 3 pieces in a cubic frame for a while. There were some very interesting designs, but on some of them, we found rotational shortcuts — making these puzzles even more interesting! Now he has teamed up with Andrew Crowell, a master of TICs, to use rotational moves intentional, and out came two puzzles: Chamburr and Cyburr. Andrew seems to like names that sound like ordinary words a bit mispelled, and this time we have puzzle names sounding like chamber and cyber, and not sure how this relates to the actual puzzles. All look beautiful and very interesting!
Added on 2021-03-24
After having solved the nice burr puzzle from yesterday, two parcels with more or less cubic puzzles arrived, from Japan and from the US: Cast Dice is the latest puzzle in the Hanayama Cast series, soon to be released in Europe as well. It looks a bit like a boardgame die, but without the pips on it, but in reality it is a metal frame with three identical pieces inside. It is very easy to get them out of the frame, but getting them in seems to be a different story. When two are inside, they don't want to let the third one go into its position — fascinating! The other is a 3D printed cube with some metal and magnet parts inside: Bolt Action. A first bolt is immediately visible and can be screwed out easily, and then it should be used as a tool elsewhere, and there is another bolt visible in the puzzle that needs to be freed as well. The goal is to free a 3D printed coin, and this seems to be a change following some regulations, as the earlier versions had a small US coin inside, and the second cube of this release was for the US only (probably because the weight and/or material of that coin plays some role in the solution). There seems to be a lot going on in this cute puzzle, and the manufacturer name suggests that the puzzles are 3D printed and during this process additional components added so that you cannot see them from the outside later on. A fascinating approach and application of 3D printing, should that be the case. Two cute and interesting puzzles of completely different kind.
Added on 2021-03-23
From the latest Pluredro release, from Australia, this new puzzle has landed here: Floating Framed Burr. It is a framed burr from a specialist on this kind of puzzle, and it is basically a frame with 4 sticks inside. Those sticks have each been extended at one end, so that there is an internal gap between each pair of pieces. When playing with the puzzle, you will immediately notice that there are several different moves possible, and it continues this way, and even at the moderate level of 16, this is a very interesting puzzle, and a very well crafted and beautiful one, too! Once the first few pieces are sticking out a bit, others are freed to move around in the frame, and you get the "floating" effect which is mentioned in the description. Then it seems that some pieces should come out easily, but they are in fact still locked into the frame. A fun puzzle to play with!
Added on 2021-03-20
Today marks the completion of a puzzle project I have been working on in the last weeks. From a kit, I built the Mecanigma puzzle box. The kit was made available in a crowdfunding campaign last year and arrived end of last year, a few months earlier than the planned delivery, and it is a very well designed kit. Still, many tools are required and it takes a lot of time to paint and wax the boards, extract the pieces (which are from laser cut plywood and 3D printed ones), assemble some modules and then finally assemble the whole box. The box is not extremely challenging to solve, but features some nicely designed mechanisms and is still a fun challenge. Each of the six sides features a different puzzle, which interacts with some of the other sides, and some of them need to be visited more than once during the solution. No blind guessing is required for solving this box, and there is also a combination lock, but that has a combination which can be deduced. A great puzzle box with a beautiful steampunk look, which is both fun to build and to solve. There are some kits available for pre-order on the manufacturer's web site, and right now there is a Kickstarter campaign running for the next box, a bigger and more complicated one. This campaign also includes a Mecanigma Kit for a better price than in their shop. A very interesting puzzle box, and I am looking forward to the next one!
Added on 2021-03-17
After some converations with puzzle friends, I was interested in a certain crazy shape shifting twisty puzzle, and from Now Store it arrived today: 4+4 Corners Cube. This one has 16 axes where you can rotate pieces, all corner turning. Some of them are single options per corner, in some other cases, there are slightly offset turns possible, with 3 different ones around a corner, and these are more face turning, around pieces close to the corner. I started scrambling the puzzle and also tried some shapechanging moves, but it soon became apparent that this is not a speed cubing puzzle at all and some of the turns need to be performed with extra care to prevent popping. This puzzle has many pieces, and many small ones among them.
Added on 2021-03-13
The invention of widely available 3D printing enables more and more puzzle designers to create their new puzzle designs and offer them for sale. One of these designs immediately caught my eye, as I spotted some variation on the Panex theme: Stacker. First I thought that it is yet another puzzle where you have to move a stack of ball bearings of different sizes from one compartment to another compartment, with the movements limited by the size of the ball bearings and the compartment layout. After some playing and solving attempt, it seems to be exactly that and you can start with the Tower of Hanoi approach to solve the puzzle. However, note that the middle compartment is much shorter than the outer ones, and that will add another layer of difficulty when trying to move the smallest of the ball bearings from one outer compartment to the other. A fascinating design, and also something to be added to my compendium and n-ary puzzle group. A well made puzzle that is nice to play with showing the positive effect of 3D printing on puzzle designing.
Added on 2021-03-12
Recently, I received a new Escape Room in a Box and had a lot of fun with it, and just a few days later, I discovered that there is another vendor releasing the second box as well. After IDvendure now Escapewelt.de released their second box, after the nice pyramid shaped one as their first one: Space Box. This is readily built from laser cut plywood and not only do I see many clues on the faces of the box, but also things that may be keys, keyholes and other mechanisms. Those cute puzzles are a lot of fun, and they seem to be a typical German thing. Aside from the massive Codex Silenda, they others I have are all from German manufacturers and this particular one is a new side-business by an Escape Room company, to compensate for lock down related lack of escape room events. The clues I found on the Space Box are mostly numerical, but also some symbols (like planet symbols) and letters. There is a clue starting with "QED" which is what in mathematics is used to conclude a proof. So should this be the end of the solution already? I believe not! I am curious to see what is inside and will use some quiet time to have my own escape room (in a box) event this weekend.
Added on 2021-03-10
Theo and Symen have been busy designing recently, and they publish their puzzles so that they can be 3D printed to try yourself. After some packing puzzles in the past, they started looking into dovetail joints. This also lead to them designing a puzzle box: Banded Box. Of course, some of the solution is spoiled as you only have a pile of pieces and no box to open, but then it is a nice assembly challenge. The other one has the name of a box (in Dutch, a box for sewing utilities), but is actually a packing puzzle: Naaidoos. I managed to get 2 of the 3 pieces inside already, and this already required some trickery. You cannot even slide a single piece in and then close the lid, but some rotational moves are required for this stage already, and it is good to have those holes to see what is happening and to navigate the pieces with your fingers. I still have one of the previous puzzles by them unsolved, and this may be the next one taking me a long time. Fascinating!
Added on 2021-03-05
Today two cute twisty puzzles arrived from Russia, and both are a bit older designs already, but have only become available recently. The first one is Screw 2x2x2, which is a 2x2x2 in two axes, and has a screw mechanism for the third axis, where you can screw the top and bottom layer away from the center to some extent, leading to some shape shifting together with the other moves. I played with this puzzle in the past, when I was visiting Oskar some years ago. At that occasion, I picked up this interesting twisty puzzle, which was lying on the table unsolved. To both my surprise and Oskar's surprise, I managed to solve it. But then I could not reproduce the solution, so it should be a new solve now. The second one, is a 2D twisty puzzle: Krystian's Square. The four triangular pieces can be slid along the two diagonal axes, and when properly aligned, the round pieces can be rotated in circles. There are just a few possible configurations possible, making it a very easy puzzle, but a nice one. Both puzzles are very well made and fun to play with.
Added on 2021-03-02
Some years ago, my puzzle friend Christoph Lohe designed some burr puzzles shaped as padlocks, and I have several of them as wooden versions created by several craftsmen. Recently, 3D printing made it possible to print some of these locks, basically based upon the Burr-Tools file, and then enhanced via the PuzzleCad library, and published on the Printable Puzzle Project page. Both of the locks do not use the key in a way you would expect from a padlock, but in a strange fashion. The first one is: Key Trap. This one has the key attached to the shackle, so that it can move up and down by one unit, and then some other moves are enabled. The white central pieces perform a nice dance and when leaving the puzzle they are not in the same relative arrangement compared to the assembled state. After a while into the solution (for disassembly) the key is free to rotate up on the shackle, and will then be linked with the shackle, while the rest can be solved independently. Not too easy, but still a good challenge and nice puzzle. The other one has another use for the key: Misused Key, where the key is stuck in the top of the lock body and held in place by the shackle around it. While this puzzle was designed some years ago, it only recently became apparent that there is a rotational shortcut: After 7 certain moves, the key can be rotated out, but then the rest of the puzzle still needs to be solved. Unfortunately, it is no sequential discovery burr puzzle, which would have been a very fun thing: Just think about such a puzzle where you need to extract the key within 7 moves, and then arrange the other pieces in a certain way, so that a key hole is opened and the key needs to be inserted and rotated to progress. Well, not in this cute lock, but why stop dreaming? *) Actually there is a well known puzzle box I don't have, but was able to solve in the past, which works exactly that way. Fascinating! In the current model, with the extracted key, the next piece does not need the full 26 moves of the level, but maybe only half of them — again with some fancy dancing around of the four pieces. Still a nice puzzle to play with.
Added on 2021-02-19
Dovetail puzzles do not need to be cubic to work, but can also have other shapes. One of these is: Dovetail Mix Crossknot, and it is a nice one. This one is built around a central cube, which could also be replaced by an equally sized puzzle box, and then some pieces around. These come in different tetromino shapes with some dovetail joint parts. The overall puzzle is quite stable in the assembled state, and only two of the pieces can come out at the beginning. One of them does not free anything more, the other will unlock more pieces after removing. The word "Mix" in the name suggests that there may be other such puzzles possible, using only one of those shapes, and indeed the desinger already seems to have some of those, yet unpublished.
Added on 2021-02-18
In a very recent auction I won some US copper coins, which came in plastic boxes. I guess the main point here is that these are 3D printed puzzles, each of them with a coin inside that has to be taken out (and back again). Cop Out 1, Cop Out 2, and Cop Out 3. They are cute and I have already started playing with number one, and these puzzles feel well made and it is also not trivial to get the coin out. I am looking forward to see what one has to do before the coin exists through the slot and the first steps hint that this could be some hidden mazes for the coins which are interacting with the grey levers.
Added on 2021-02-17
Recently, we have seen some 3D puzzles with dovetail joints — which is actually something that has been around for other materials of puzzles for a long time. Today's additional also features dovetail connections, but in three different species: Dovetail Cube. Some of these dovetail shapes will fit into others, but then there are also incompatible ones. This makes assembling the 27 cubies into a big cube more challenging, but on the other hand gives you some hint what may need to be joined together. In my view, this puzzle shows nicely how 3D printing can enable additional features. Not sure if those different dovetail shapes would have been possible in traditional woodworking.
Added on 2021-02-09
This update features another IPP28 Exchange puzzle, and this time a nicely 3D printed one (as a reproduction of the original): Fire. Two pieces come separate and need to be joined in one move, similar to some puzzles created by Scott Elliot. This is clearly a puzzle that benefits from 3D printing, and in my view creating such a puzzle as a working model from wood would be very challenging. A fun puzzle to play with!
Added on 2021-02-07
Today's update shows two beautifully 3D printed trick boxes: Bamboo Box and Crane Box. For both boxes, you cannot see from the outside how the mechanism works, but both boxes can be opened, and in quite a different way. The Bamboo box features a new locking mechanism that requires several steps to open, and rattles a lot, so there is a lot going on inside. The Crane Box features a classic mechanism and also some red herrings making the solution a bit more challenging. They are both well designed, fun to solve and have the right size to play with them! I am curious to see what comes next in this category!
Added on 2021-02-06
A parcel from Hong Kong Nowstore brought another nice Oskar puzzle today: Jumble Prism. The geometry of the puzzle with the arrangement of cuts was invented by Bram and Oskar made it into a 3D puzzle which was then mass produced by mf8. There are not many triangular prism twisty puzzles, and this is a confusing one, as the cuts are running diagonally, not parallel to the sides. A crazy shape shifter! With it came a puzzle which is an extension of some I already have: 3x3x17 This one is a fully functional, and also shape shifting, as you may conclude from the number of pieces in each direction. Basically, a 3x3x3 turned into a 9x9x9 (which is elsewhere in my collection already), and then extended by some additional layers on top and bottom in a symmetric fashion. Nothing new added to the solution compared to the 3x3x9, just a lot more pieces to put into the correct spot. This is an effect that many of the big record twisties show, but the 17 layers remind me of Oskar's 17x17x17 Guinnes world record twisty puzzle (at that time) I could play with at IPP31 a bit.
Added on 2021-02-05
Recently I received two very nice exchange puzzles from a puzzle friend, thanks a lot! These are both created by Peter Knoppers and designed by Oskar van Deventer (and Peter): Feed the Cat is a cat shaped puzzle with a gear that either starts in the mouth of the cat, or outside the puzzle, and you have to get it to the other of those two positions. It sounds simple, but taking a closer look, this is an intricate maze puzzle. The gear can rotate within the geared inner part of the frame, and is also kept in place by those gears, and then it can also change between the various layers of the puzzle, each with a different geared border. The Coin Maze is more obviously a maze puzzle, where you can see a pin on both sides of the top of the frame, and a maze on each side of the coin. Goal is again to get the coin out/in. However, it is not that easy, as there is a third dimension coming in, when the coin can move to the front or back wall a little, multiplying the maze by three layers. For both puzzles, you can see everything, but in my view both of them offer some puzzling challenge for friends of mazes, and they are very well made, too!
Added on 2021-02-04
From the last games fair in Essen that took place before the pandemic, I brought a new puzzle box with me, which is an escape room in a box. Last year a Kickstarter campaingn was run successfully to produce the successor of this box, the second ClueBox, and it arrived today: ClueBox Davy Jones' Locker. While the box has approximately the same size like the first one, this time the goal is not to open the box to release a Schroedinger's cat, but to open the box to see if Jones really locked away the souls of sailors who lost their lives at sea. Spooky! I am sure there is nothing to be afraid of when solving this box, and I have already seen some interesting new elements that look quite different from the first ClueBox. The solving time estimate is a bit longer this time, and this may mean that there are more or more difficult puzzles and riddles involved. Something to look forward to! As for the first one, this box comes in a very nice packaging and at a good price.
Added on 2021-02-03
Today a nice 3D printed puzzle is added, or two puzzles rather: Dovetail Bi-Cube. The name comes from the pieces being held together by some dovetail joints, and all pieces (except for one) consist each of two cubies linked together. There is also a light version and this can be built by exchanging some pieces with the additional 6 pieces coming with the puzzle, and that leads to a second puzzle challenge. Taking the puzzle apart is quick and easy, and re-assembly of both cubes is the real puzzle here. It is nice to see some more applications of the dovetail joints that re-appeared recently, and because of the availability of 3D printers. While they are also possible to make in wood, it is much easier to make them as a 3D print.
Added on 2021-02-01
Today's puzzle is the result and reward of a puzzle hunt. Recently, a puzzle friend offered some very rare puzzles for sale. Confirming I was interested was the quickest part, and the transaction with the puzzle friend was also easy, but then a puzzle hunt started, carefully arranged by the companies PostNL (in the Netherlands) and Hermes (Germany). They wanted to ensure that also receiving this puzzle would be a puzzle in itself. At the beginning PostNL tampered with their address scanners, so that my name would be removed from the address entry in their system. My puzzle friend had created a printed address label with nice 6mm high letters, easy to read even from some distance, and maybe they were too big and clear for the scanners, or they thought it to be too easy? Well, not the first time they make things more interesting this way. When the parcel arrived in my hometown, the real puzzle hunt started lasting one full week. In a handful of phone calls to their service desk and various e-mails I had to give them some hints on where that mysterious parcel would have to go (without looking at the clearly visible address by my friend on the top of the parcel). Each time, my hint was later each day answered by another puzzle in the tracking system, so that another set of hints could follow the next day. Finally, I managed to give them a good hint and after playing this puzzle hunt game, I could finally pick up the parcel from a helpful parcel shop where it had landed. It was fascinating to see one side of the parcel being covered with a stack of more and more address labels with many variations of my address, while on the other side of the parcel the pristine address label by my friend was showing the right way all the time. Even though I succeeded with this puzzle hunt and won my "prize", I would prefer not to be included into such activities in the future, please. Let's go for mechanical puzzle solving instead. You may ask what all this was about? Well, here it is:
Schluessel (Key) is a Roger Puzzle by the mysterious German puzzle designer Roger D. While it is only a key by name, the main part is that (b)lock with the key hole. As usual, key and keyhole are delivered separeted, so you can put the key into the key hole, then turn clockwise, just to find out that the key would stop just short of the full rotation. Well, then maybe it was wrong to put the key in and turn that way? Let's turn it back and take it out! Of course, this is a mean puzzle and the key will not turn at all any more, and is perfectly stuck in that nearly fully rotated position. Getting it out is actually the main objective of the puzzle. Not wanting to spoil anything here, I am just mentioning that the puzzle is even meaner than described so far. After playing with it a bit, I managed to get the key out, and without force, but with what seems to be the intended solution. I managed to do this several times already and still have no good idea how the innards of this cute puzzle look like. So probably this is the real challenge: Make up a consistent theory on how that mechanism actually looks like and works. A fascinating puzzle, and quite different from the other Roger puzzle I already have, and it was definitely worth the "puzzle hunt".
Added on 2021-01-29
Recently it seems I have been into packing puzzles, and here is another one: A surprise from a puzzle friend — thank you very much. It is: Dictionary Case. This one won an award in a Japanese puzzle competition and comes in a well crafted presentation. There are 5 boards in 2 different sizes, and those have to be packed into the box completely. The box allows to stack two boards behind each other, but will not allow for a third one, and taking rough measurements of the board makes it clear that two layers may not be enough for everything. Instead of ignoring / removing one of the boards, I went for the ThinkTM approach and within a few minutes, I had all the boards inside the box. Now it looks like that the original description of the objective brings it down to the point: The box has exactly the right dimensions to contain this arrangement of the pieces. A nicely presented puzzle, and a fun and not very difficult puzzle to solve.
Added on 2021-01-28
On the Printable Puzzle Project web site there are some very nice puzzles of various kinds that can be downloaded electronically and then 3D printed on the usual 3D printers. This update features three nice restricted packing puzzles, where you just have to fit the pieces into the box so that they do not stick out through the opening. The first one is by Yavuz and has six wide L shaped pieces: Manneken. This puzzle does not require rotations and the nice solution can be found by logic reasoning, and is not too difficult. The other two are closely related: L-I-Vator I and L-I-Vator II, like a series. They both have an interesting feature relating to their pieces. Each of them have six pieces with 2 voxels size for the smallest one up to 7 voxels for the largest one. If that was not enough, the piece each piece with n voxels can be created from the next smaller piece with n—1 voxels by adding one voxel, so the shapes form a series of snapshots of a piece growing from 2 to 7 voxels. Both L-I-Vator puzzles have the same box shape and this property of their pieces and both require some rotations in the box, but then the piece shapes make them completely different packing puzzles to solve. This also shows in the difficulty I experienced: While I could solve the first one within less than half an hour, the second one took me longer, maybe the double amount of time. These are three nice packing puzzles, even for people who do not favour packing puzzles.
Added on 2021-01-15
From the Puzzle Artists a parcel arrived after travelling over a long distance in the past month. In it, two new puzzles for the twisty octahedra group: Hybrid Octahedron is a hybrid between a Face Turning Octahedron (actually the Master version) and a Tip Turning Octahedron. So that the puzzle remains stable, not all cutting planes can be used for all kinds of moves, but the faces (top layer) can be rotated like in an FTO, and the two layered tips can be rotated. It is a fascinating and well-made puzzle and even after a few moves, it gets confusing. The other one is easier to solve: Coin Octahedron. Like the Coin Cube, this one has the coins in the centre of the faces which can rotate freely, and has rotating tips. This should be easier to solve, and I have already scrambled it to solve it later on. The pieces of this puzzle have been 3D printed, but then The Puzzle Artists have taken extra care to finish them adding a really nice feel of this puzzle. With these puzzles, another novelty came in the parcel, in a special version: Gear Star is a new puzzle, in a two coloured version appearing in the 2020 Puzzle Advent Calendar on YouTube. It has two layers in grey and yellow, and each layer has a cetral pentagon and five star tips, so that the layers can be rotated against each other around the centre (and nicely aligned with magnets!), and the star tips can be rotated between the layers. Then there is a special pentagonal knob in the middle that adds another layer of complexity with an additional mechanism. Beneath it is a central gear mechanism with three green and two red gears, and this influences how the adjacent tips can rotate: Those next to a red part cannot rotate at all, and those next to a green gear part all rotate at the same time. I like this rotation of three adjacent tips, and then also the central pentagonal button will rotate. This is a clever design, and with the simple colour scheme I should be able to solve it. On their web site, they have a regular version which features 5 colours, and I am expecting this to be much more complicated. Thank you, Puzzle Artists for this nice novelty!
Added on 2021-01-13
This update is about two nice 3D printed puzzles: No Holes Barred is a restricted packing puzzle, where 5 nearly identical pieces need to be packed into a cubic box. The pieces are the same, except for one which has lost half a cubie, and half a cubie is now attached to the opening of the box. But that was not how this puzzle was built! This puzzle comes from the "Printable Puzzle Project", which can be found on the WWW. The next one may be a mixture of puzzle, sculpture and implementation of some building technique: Kawai Tsugite Cube. It consists of 8 pieces and can be pulled apart into two halves — if you know how. These pieces are locked together with Kawai Tsugite joints, which is a Japanese wood joining technique. No wonder the resulting puzzle is quite stable and difficult to take apart! Of course, once taken apart, trying to determine the arrangement of the pieces to get it back together again is a bit more challenging! If you are looking for the joinery technique, there are many details to be found on the WWW.
Added on 2021-01-11
Today a nice anti-slide packing puzzle arrived: LIST. Thank you Michael for "putting me on your list"! The puzzle is nicely made from acrylic sheets and looking at the picture, it is quite obvious why it is called LIST. The puzzle comes with a black inlay that allows you to store the pieces without having them rattling around. Now try the same without the black inlay — that is the objective of the puzzle. Finding an anti-slide solution for these four letters is not too difficult and some logical observation helps here, and actually there are multiple solutions. At first when trying to build an anti-slide solution, one of the letters was not very cooperative and always moved around, but there is a second challenge: Build an anti-slide solution that does not contain all of the letters. Having solved these challenges, I noticed that I could use that 3-letter anti-slide solution, add the fourth letter to it and immediately have another anti-slide solution again. Who would have thought that so much is going on in this puzzle!
Added on 2021-01-07
This year puzzles are coming in earlier than expected. Today, a package from Australia, coming in directly, not crossing the International Date Line. In it, three beautiful and complicated wooden puzzles: Juno's Arrow is a sliding block puzzle with a dark arrow pointing to the top left and the goal to slide the pieces to form a light arrow pointing bottom right. However, it is not that easy because this is a restricted move sliding piece puzzle, where the pieces have grooves and pins in a seemimgly random fashion. I already managed to mix the pieces and with some difficulty to return them to the original configuration, giving me a preview of what is to come. The next two puzzles look like ordinary six piece burrs, but they are a bit different, while still having six pieces, which are crooked and going through the burr diagonally. The first one came disassembled and within maybe half an hour I managed to assemble the six pieces using two halves of 3+3 pieces sliding together: Crooked 6 Piece Burr Original Version. There seem to be other assemblies sliding groups of 4+2 pieces together. There is also a more difficult version featuring pins and mazes: Crooked 6 Piece Burr Pinned Version. This one came assembled and it is not trivial to take apart, but also not too difficult. When the pieces came apart, I immediately saw that it will not be an easy task to put back together, requiring a decent amount of dexterity. There is a base to help to put up partial assemblies in a more stable fashion, but it's probably still a good challenge. Hopefully I will manage this one day. Three beautiful, very well crafted, fun, and challenging puzzles indeed!
Added on 2021-01-06
Another day, another new Constantin puzzle. Because of the stock availability, the previous one was ordered from Puzzle Shop, and this one then from Knobelbox: Chess Box. It is a beautiful wooden box with metal chess pieces sitting on top. Obviously, these pieces will need to slide in a certain way and while they look the same, some of them behave differently. Not an overly difficult puzzle, but definitely fun to solve!
Added on 2021-01-05
The first update of this year brings some heavy metal: Super Lock is over 1.6kg of brass, with beautifully etched details on both sides. It has some knobs with small rings to rotate and no less than 4 key holes. All of these will rotate a bit, but not much, and probably it will take some time to figure out the correct steps to solve this puzzle and open the lock. I wonder if the design of the key should scare puzzlers away or be a warning not to try to open the lock. In any case, this is the first such key I have seen on any lock.
Other/Older updates:
Can be found on the update history page

Hints:

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.