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 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: 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.