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 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!
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.