Extremely Puzzling - Goetz Schwandtner's Puzzles
On this page some extremely puzzling objects are displayed: My private puzzle collection consisting of a wide range of three-dimensional puzzles, from industrial produced Rubik's Cube like puzzles to my custom builds, from production range Pihilos wood puzzles to rare and special puzzles from various excellent craftsmen, and not to forget the Japanese Himitsu Bakos, including some equisite works of the Karakuri Creation Group. Please note that you won't find any (standard) jigsaw puzzles on these pages, may they be two or three dimensional.
- Added on 2023-06-01
Three new twisties from Nowstore. The first one started off as a knock-off, but then the designer managed to get it made legal (and this version bought through the link shared by the designer): Mental Block mini. I have played with a much larger handmade version in the past, and I remember it becoming quite confusing to solve, hence the name is appropriate, even thnough it is "just a Skewb". With it, I ordered two fascinating hybrid puzzles: 2x2x2 Slide Cube and 3x3x3 Slide Cube. Both are nicely turning cubes of the larger kind, and they have one removable tile that is only held in place with a magnet. After removing this one, it becomes a large sliding piece puzzle, and that combined with the twisty mechanics as a hybrid. Not sure whether I should scramble them already, and what the side effects of the combination may be.
- Added on 2023-05-30
Today most likely the last new puzzle for this month arrived: Pocket Change purple. This is the fourth one in the nice Pocket Change series of small puzzles. The colour is like some other puzzles by the same designer, so this preference may explain it. No actual money is included, but I can see some play money coin in that typical square window. Playing with it, I have already managed to extract the coin, a nice and easy puzzle.
- Added on 2023-05-11
When a new puzzle was announced recently, alone from the looks of it and the theme I was immediately sure I wanted to have one: Al Bus. It is a bus puzzle, and comes with a trunk and a scroll. The bus is a purple triple decker bus, and I only remember seeing that one in one context so far, something with "Night Bus" or "Knight Bus", or whatever it was. This is a 3D printed sequential discovery puzzle, and while it contains both a bus and a trunk, it is of nice and reasonable size. A puzzle friend of mine also spoke very highly of it, so I am not only admiring the beauty of the presentation, but also looking forward to solving this puzzle. Hopefully it will not require any magic to solve it!
- Added on 2023-04-30
Party Time! For today, Wil had invited to a nice puzzle party at his place, and there were many puzzlers present, old friends, and even new ones, and also a few MP Discord members from the region. Thank you, Wil! Michel had a nice challenge to begin with, and I have named it without knowing the real name: Borromean Security Pins. The objective is clear, just that it is not about borromean rings this time, but security pins. Don't hurt your fingers or your brain when playing with this! Thank you, Michel! Wil had many nice puzzles for offer, and I found two very well made ones from the Laser Exact series (and they are starting to get rare nowadays!): Double Cross and Ranking Stars. Both fun to play with and very well operating, but may not be too easy to solve. The Ranking Stars seems to come with some difficulty selectors in the form of bandaging plates. The Two Brass Monkeys and some other MPP friends were also present, and they had a nice new puzzle for sale: Burrly Legal. Can you believe it? An 18 pieces burr made from brass, and consisting of round rods. It has a pretty low level, but it is still a great addition to the 18 pieces burrs group. It seems there is some consensus that with round rods, there can be no internal voids for these puzzles, or they would be visible (and not internal any more). Well, I have to think about that, and also about the large amount of little rubber bands that came with the puzzle for assembly. In any case, it is a great looking and cute, small sized puzzle (good for collection space issues!) and I am looking forward to solving it to see all the work and creativity that went into it. Yesterday I solved the two escape room boxes already, which did not take me very long, but I had a lot of fun with well working clues, some new and unusual puzzle elements, and overall very good puzzle engineering. Looking forward to see what they will bring next, after releasing these two puzzle boxes publicly in a few months, that is! Today's haul is now adding to my backlog again, and I am afraid it will not go away anytime soon.
- Added on 2023-04-27
Two boxes from the Legacy of the Alchimists Kickstarter campaign arrived, and are nice looking plywood and acrylic escape room in a box puzzles from a new German designer and manufacturer. It is the third German company producing such boxes, so it seems Germany is the hub for these puzzles. They are of around the same size of the ones from other manufacturers and they look great. They were available in three colours and I chose a mixed set. The Philosopher's Stone Puzzle Box arrived with nice blue acrylic, and there is a lot going on you can see on the surface: Many symbols, lines gears, switches. The other one I chose to be red, and it is a Newton themed box: Anti-Gravity Puzzle Box. At first glance, it has less elements on the surfaces, but there are also some acrylic covers with some steel balls beneath, and that was a nice element in one of the previous boxes I received last year, so I am looking forward to solve these two here. It looks like the first company producing such boxes has already announced an upcoming crowdfunding campaign for the next box, and we will not run out of these boxes anytime soon. Now I am looking forward to solve these two, and it is good that we have a long weekend coming up, even though I have quite some time planned in for some other puzzle related activities already.
- Added on 2023-04-25
Today the latest of Rex' nice acrylic puzzles arrived, and I wonder if there is something illegal going on with it. Or it may just be the name: Ill Eagle. There is actually an eagle in that little forest to be freed. I have found it already, but not saved yet. I have an idea what the final step may be for the solution, but that also means that the eagle will have a long way to travel. Looking forward to solve this one, and maybe I will disassemble it afterwards to look at all the internal mechanism details.
- Added on 2023-04-23
On GCD, I borrowed a disentanglement puzzle from my friend Michel, which we discussed before. After some analysis, there is now a Compendium entry for it. Thank you!
- Added on 2023-04-22
Today I went to the German Cube Day puzzle meeting this year, and while the trip there was a bit of a puzzle this time, we had a great time and I met many of my puzzle friends again and we had many puzzle related chats. The welcome gift is a 3D printed ball maze and has 3 rotatable layers and a small ball inside: AmazeIn' Loops. Quite nice looking and I heard it went through several iterations of testing to make it even more difficult. Then there was a puzzle designer who was not present, but had quite an impact on my puzzle haul: The 4 PAC I received earlier, but it only found the way to me now. It has 4 PAC-man shaped pieces and all should fit into the box without damaging it. Thanks for this fascinating puzzle, Volker! Christoph offered me one of his designs, and I had play-tested it in a 3D printed version, and found some rotational shortcuts there. I had only borrowed the prototype for testing, but even though it seems to have the shortcut as well (to be confirmed), it looked nice enough to me to get one: TimBurr. With it, I bought some of Volker's puzzles from Christoph and Hendrik, which I had missed as before: Tube in Cube has different length of these tubes to fit in. For SANTA it may be the wrong season, but maybe I can solve it until the correct season this year? As a side note: The picture of this puzzle contains a bit of a spoiler — about the name of the puzzle. The next one was in the IPP design competition this year: HEINZ. Only two sizes of cuboids to pack into the box, and just a slight restriction via some acrylic lips, how hard can that be? Well, I may comment on that after solving, not before! The next puzzle I found on offer in a lot of old IPP puzzles, and I had seen it before: Aroma. Spoiler: a packing and coordinate motion puzzle, that is something! The last one I spotted to be for sale on Jacks's table: Sidestep II. This is an improved version of the original Sidestep which Jack had sent me last year for solving, and which I solved after quite some time, and a few slight hints. Jack assured me that this new and improved version would not be too difficult for me, as the first around 100 moves are still the same, but then things change and not only the level is higher, but also a different piece is removed first than for the first iteration of the puzzle. I am looking forward to play with this one, and hopefully I will remember a bit of the solution I worked out for the first one last year! For a start, I have already put it into its official place in the 18 pieces burrs group page. With these two, there are now 3 families of high level 18 pieces burrs with level 100+. Quite some interesting puzzles, and a great day! The next puzzle meeting should not be too far away, and it is good that we can finally meet in person again!
- Added on 2023-03-28
Of the last puzzle arriving, Walter's Radio, I have only found some first steps, and already some new puzzles have arrived. The first one is a variant of one I already have: 2x4x6 Square Cuboid is the cubic version of the pillowed one released many years ago. I remember solving that once only and having some detailed discussions with a puzzle friend back then. The next puzzle is the real reason for this order, a new hybrid puzzle: 2x2x2 Helicopter Corner Turning Cube. This one combines face turning (2x2x2) moves, edge turns, and corner turns. Jumbling does not seem to be possible on this one, but many other non shape-shifting moves. These moves all move nicely, not like some other twisties starting to spit out pieces after a few turns. A nice addition to the whole Helicopter cube family I have, and I am looking forward to scrambling and solving both new arrivals. Or rather: solving! I have done the scrambling part already and maybe I should not have done that?
- Added on 2023-03-25
While I haven't bought that many puzzles recently, I knew I wanted to have this one when I saw it. Last year Angry Walter set off to conquer the world and also arrived at my place in his mission. Even though I managed to disarm and deactivate him, it seems this story is not over yet. Now, his communication device has showed up: Walter's Radio. While I missed the first release due to some appointments, it was easy enough to buy one from the second batch of this beautiful wooden puzzle. The size is about in the same range like Walter's head, and seems to be a very comfortable size for handling. This time, it is the task to retrieve the hidden DED chip to deactivate the radio, and no spinning or hitting will be required. Most of it seems to be a solid block of wood, but there are some interactive elements that allow you to interact with the puzzle. Just, that they don't want to interact yet. Fascinating! I have already heard that it should be more complex and more difficult to solve, and I am expecting quite a puzzle journey here. Let's see what happens to Walter's plans after this one has been disengaged, but for that I will have to find the solution to the radio first. At the moment, I am mainly admiring the wood craftsmanship of this puzzle, and have already started thinking about some possible asepects of the solution, but without success so far. This is going to be puzzling fun!
- Added on 2023-03-23
From Nowstore today some brand new twisties arrived. The first one is the same size of a Rubik's 3x3x3, but it has a more delicate mechanism and a lot going on inside: Orbit Cube. There is a hidden central and stationary gear on each side, and turning the face makes the four little circles spin around simultaneously. This allows for some additional action with the pieces of the circles mixing, and I am not sure whether I will ever scramble this cube completely or just admire the mechanism with a few moves easily reverted. Watching the small circles rotate is already a good deal of entertainment. The second one I already have in parts, and it is going into my twisty octahedra group. It is actually a hybrid of two puzzles: Hexagram Octahedron. A Traijber's Octahedron where the tips can rotate and subdividing each of the 3 coordinate axis into three layers, like you would expect on a regular 3x3x3 cube. The other rotations possible are coming from a Skew, or in this context more precise: a Dino Skewb. You can rotate the halves along a cutting plane running through the middle of the puzzle, parallel to two opposide sides. The puzzle was 3D printed (using FDM printing) and you can see this techniques in mid turns from the piece surface structure. However, the puzzle does not have the typical lightweight feel of such a 3D print with it, but feels nicely heavy, almost like a cast puzzle. Movement is excellent, and so far I have not found any strange shape shifting moves typical for such hybrids, and everything aligns nicely. However, that does not necessary mean there are no such shape shifting moves!
- Added on 2023-03-20
Today some heavy metal arrived very well packaged from the UK, in a nice pouch inside a box: Free the Washer. The name says it all.
However, maybe a bit more of a description is in order. The puzzle consists of a sturdy and well made cage crafted from brass and steel, and inside there is indeed a washer. The washer has a little gap, but that is too narrow to move it around one of the thinner bolts. I have made some interesting discovery that will definitely be part of the solution, but have not progressed any further. Now it is time to start theorizing and then try to implement some of these theories to solve the puzzle. I wonder if that discovery is really part of the solution, but I will see. A great looking puzzle, and I am looking forward to solve it!
- Added on 2023-03-17
The latest arrival from Pluredro showed up today: A nice new 6BB, and number 7 in the series: Grooved 6 Board Burr #7. This one has a lot of visible studs from the beginning on, but that does not mean it is a LEGO puzzle. After all, it has been crafted from beautiful woods. I have only started playing with it a bit, and there are some moves and configurations that will not occur on a regular 6 pieces Board Burr (6BB). The level provided in the description on the shop web site looks astronomic for this kind of puzzle, and I am looking forward to solve that one. Still have another astronomy related puzzle to be solved, and only progressed a bit on the planet from 10 days ago. Two nice looking but completely different interlocking puzzles, but both look like fun. If you are interested, there are still some available of this interesting 6BB at the Pluredro shop.
- Added on 2023-03-07
Stephan not only designs nice interlocking puzzles, but often enough he also crafts them as a beautiful work of art, like the one having arrived today: Satburrn. The name relates to the planet in our solar system, and it is quite obvious that it fits very well. When I saw it on a picture, I immediately knew I wanted one for my collection. In real life it looks even nicer and the craftsmanship is excellent. There are not many burrs with a round shape, but this is one of them and it makes sense. Playing with it, I have already found some moves, but I am still a long while away from solving it. This is going to be fun!
- Added on 2023-03-01
March begins with a new puzzle. It is built from LEGO bricks, and a cute pocket-sized puzzle box: The aMAZEing PuzzleBox. While I was skeptical to have a puzzle box that could be disassembled (by accident) and then maybe never re-assembled, I heard other people speak high of this box, and this made me curious. Right now, there is a special offer on the QuizBrix web site, and so I went for it. The box arrived quickly, and in the black variant I have, it looks great. There are some decorations, windows, and openings. Some of the decorations even pick up the maze theme from the name, but the real mazes are waiting inside, and there is more than one of them. Creating another pun with the name of the box, it is amazing how these mazes were fit into such a small box! I have solved the box, and it is indeed a sequential discovery puzzle, meaning you have to find some tools and use them for progressing, but not disassembling any part of the puzzle. That is one of the forbidden things for LEGO puzzles! With these openings and decorations, the box somehow guides your solution and you know when you have found a tool to be used! Midway through the solution some of the windows allowed me to derive an idea what to do later, and that indeed worked. Very clever! Once solved, a golden bar can be extracted from the box, together with a QR code for the reset instructions. Not needed if you have solved the puzzle before, as the reset is not too difficult and a fun secondary challenge. I have already solved the puzzle box — a couple of times, so I know my solution works. And with the mazes it means that the solve does not become trivial the second time and keeps the challenge. A fun sequential discovery puzzle box, and now I know why other puzzlers like it. There is so much going on with this thing!
- Added on 2023-02-17
Today a long visit into the Burr Zoo ended, with the conclusion of an archeological expedition uncovering the secrets of a sphinx! See the group page for details about this puzzle.
- Added on 2023-01-19
Just in case I get thirsty and want a soda, I have got myself a small cola machine: Cola Conundrum. Of course, this is a puzzle, and of the sequential discovery kind, where you have to actually get a little drink out of this machine. It has been 3D printed, but there are also other parts inside, as one can guess from the quite heavy weight for such a puzzle. It looks like all these colourful buttons play an important role in the solve, and I am curious how long it will take me to finally get the drink! A very nice looking puzzle clearly following its theme, maybe the solve as well?
- Added on 2023-01-14
From Oskar I received a parcel with a beautiful puzzle inside, that consists of both rainbow coloured pieces and gold/silver/bronze, and is obviously enabled by 3D printing: Binary Disk. We had a quick discussion about this puzzle before, based on his video, that was just published on Youtube a few hours ago. There is a link to the video referenced in the Compendium entry, if you would like to take a look, and the entry contains also a description of how the puzzle works. Of course, the video may be a better way to actually understand it. The puzzle has 8 knobs in specially arranged channels, and a central disk rotating with the moves of the knobs, and that enables and blocks other moves. This could easily be generalized to larger or smaller disk sizes with more or less knobs, which is why it qualifies as a binary puzzle in the Compendium and also the n-ary puzzle group. After receiving the puzzle, the main part was to find out how it works, and to play with it. The moves are magnet assisted and the nice movements with a loud "clack" when the magnets get involved could also make this puzzle a fidget toy. However, this puzzle is far from trivial, and also features multiple challenges. Still remains to be fully analyzed, but meanwhile I will do a lot of clack-ing just for the fun playing with it! Many thanks, Oskar!
- Added on 2023-01-11
Today a parcel from Czech Republic arrived, and it contained a nice metal puzzle with the same name like a nice comic strip: Ziggy. This guy looks cute and a little confused, and it is strange that he would have screws as his eyes. It all starts to make sense when you start solving, and so far I have found a tool to work on something on the puzzle. High quality made from metal and I like what I have seen so far. A cute puzzle and fun to play with!
- Added on 2023-01-07
The Stern Box has been confusing me for a while, and after opening one compartment and finding out what was going on, I finally managed to open all the others. The solve is partially a blind solve of an n-ary puzzle, which can be quite confusing, and the four doors at the sides also need to be opened in a certain sequence. I have finally added both n-ary puzzle group and Compendium entries, and for this also a partial disassembly of the box was performed to show the n-ary puzzle hidden inside, in a picture in the Compendium entry.
- Added on 2023-01-06
The first update of this year arrived from Puzzlemaster today. The main reason for this order was a new puzzle for n-ary puzzle group and Compendium: Eurofalle 8 / Auf dem Holzweg. This is No 8 in the Eurofalle series, and like the Voidlock, this is an earlier puzzle transformed into a sliding lock puzzle. The goal is to remove the 20 Euro cents coin. Like for the original Auf dem Holzweg puzzle, this one consists of two 3-ary puzzles combined. First, one should solve the first 3 levels, then transition all sliders to the lower half, and then solve that one to complete the puzzle. The Gravity Lock seems to have gravity as one of the elements, and I have seen how part of this mechanism works, but not solved yet. The Hysteresis Key is a 3D printed remake of a puzzle I already have, and it shows some potential of 3D printing. Here, the puzzle is no blind maze solve, but you can actually see what you are doing, and this is possible by using 3D printed transparent material. The red pin needs to traverse through the maze pieces held by this transparent cover, and the only option you have is pushing and pulling the key. Trying to move the pin holder or using gravity is not an allowed option. The next puzzle is also 3D printed and a variant of a puzzle I have: XO Cube is a variant of the Dino Cube, and this time as a 3D printed twisty puzzle. There are 12 sliding blocks in the frame, and for a FDM printed puzzle, the movement is very good! So far I have solved 3 of the puzzles already, hence not much impact on my solving backlog — yet there are many puzzles still waiting to be solved this year.
- Other/Older updates:
- Can be found on the update history page
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.