Sunday, 14 July 2019

The 10 best sequencial discovery puzzles

As I did with the "best packing puzzle", I will do in the same spirit a quick list of what I consider to be the best sequencial discovery puzzles.

It's only my opinion based on the puzzles that I have played with. I cannot comment on the puzzles I have never played with and hence I may miss nice puzzles in the list.

The order of the puzzles does not mean that the first one is the best.


1. Angel box by Wil Strijbos

One of the best example of the sequencial discovery puzzle.
Many steps, many tools to free the angel. A challenging puzzle!
But take care not to loose tools (yes you can...)



2. Pachinko box by Wil Strijbos

In my mind the second best Strijbos puzzle. Many steps, and unexpected ones as well. You have to get the 2 coins to solve completely the puzzle.




3. Lotus by Wil Strijbos
A deep blue puzzle that has several steps. The first one was blocking me for some time then came the aha moment.
The puzzle is solved when you understand the name of it... ;)
Tools can be lost. Tools can fly out. Take care!




4. First box by Strijbos


 A pretty heavy box that has its secrets. Make the puzzle smile!




5. Big Ben by Brian Young

 A pretty huge puzzle with a lot of challenging steps



6. Houdini torture cell by Brian Young

 Not difficult but satisfaying puzzle. The picture on the right is when the puzzle is solved...yes it's tedious....



7. Butterfly by Wil Strijbos



Big puzzle, but this time you will have to deal with a massive lock. Analyze the puzzle carefully or you will jam your puzzle and beg for help (and external tools) ;)


8. Packman by Gary Foshee

 Despite its very small size, many steps are required for this challenging little cute puzzle!



9. Gary's escape by Gary Foshee


 Easy one, but clever steps.
Free the marble!




10. Open lock by Gary Foshee
Nice lock. Seeing the inside does not mean you will find right now the solution :)

Sunday, 30 June 2019

The rarest Hanayama cast puzzle

True, I wanted to get your attention! :)
But I am sure I am right, so let's talk about a cast puzzle: cast oskar

This puzzle is old, not sure about the date, but just have a look at the package. There is no mention of Hanayama, the difficulty is not written, but the name beginning by "cast" is clearly shown.
So my assumption is that this is the old Hanayama company which produced some puzzles and then they changed their name and expand. My assumption is even stronger when I look at the small paper inside which shows some famous cast puzzles: cast jey, S&S, nut, star, elk.

However this oskar key has never been made by the nowadays known as the Hanayama company, not sure why, contrary to the other puzzles in the series that are still produced.

The small paper is in Japanese so I cannot comment about it. I assume that the designer is Oskar (as regards to the name of the puzzle), but maybe I am wrong?


So the goal of the puzzle is to extract the keys, basically there are 2 keys that slides on each other. Your challenge is made more complicated that the "oskar block" in where the keys slide as some internal contraints, I mean the shape inside it make is more complicated the keys to slide.

 By analyzing carefully (that I did not not at the beginning) both key you should quickly understand how it should get out of the rectangular shape...or that's what I thought. I think I can spoil a bit as I am sure not a lot of people will be able to play with it. I thought a key should get free first and then the other key would follow. But at the end it appeared that both key got free at the same time while still "attached" to each other and when both keys were out of the rectangular block then you can separate them.


This nice cast puzzle is far from being simple as you need precise moves and many moves to solve it. But it's not overly difficult, so in my opinion it's clearly worth a 4/6 for the difficulty. It's a very nice concept and definitely collectible.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Apolaki

Designed and crafted by Rex Rossano Perez, this nice yellow puzzle fits perfectly in the coin series he has made so far.



As with all Rex's puzzles you can unscrew the puzzle to see the internals, but I do advise to take pictures each and everytime you pull up a layer or remove pieces. Else that may be a nightmare to reassemble the puzzles...Luckily this puzzles does not have so many pieces.

This is a sequencial discovery puzzle! Yes!! Well obviously not a lot of steps/tools, but let's call a sequencial discovery puzzle a puzzle with at least a tool that has to be used :)

Apolaki is different from the other puzzles in the series as it incorporates something new...sorry cannot say more.....it's very hard to speak about puzzles trying to avoid spoiling it...
So what can I say more? Humm several steps, an "AHA-moment" that will happen sooner than expected...and I am sure you should pretty much guess the internals without needing to open the puzzle. Still I encourage you to open it and check if your assumptions were correct or not.

What about the difficulty? Honestly this is definitely not the most difficult puzzle in his coin series. So far the most challenging is kussing 25. This is also a puzzle that should not take long for you to solve. Despite that, first this is not the easiest in the series. Secondly this is a nice and very cleverly designed puzzle. So anyway I am sure you will like it a lot!!


Being the 6th puzzle by Rex, I am sure you can expect many more puzzles from him in the coming months (maybe years? hope so). And I am pretty sure Rex will try to experiment new things for his next puzzles. Personally I find it great that a designer comes with a new kind of puzzle. I mean coin puzzles existed before but not in a so widely spread dimension.

I do tell you to buy it before it's sold out. It's not a limited edition puzzle but I guess Rex won't make it when he created a new puzzle. Grab it while you can. If you need Rex's contact, just PM me using the contact form.


Friday, 29 March 2019

Pin block case

Designed by Katsumoto, this apparently easy puzzle is a very clever packing puzzle.


So only 4 pieces with some pins to pack inside a box. Remember the best packing puzzles almost always look easy and almost always have very few pieces :)


Soon you will realize that putting the 3rd piece is impossible or difficult if you try to pack in a "standard" way the pieces. Sliding pieces will be needed!

For such puzzles when it's not easy to put your fingers inside the box to move the pieces, I always try to make the shape with the pieces outside of the box. Think out of the box makes sense here.
Then I see if moving pieces can be done inside the box, and if not then I try to find another shape with the pieces.
Many more moves than expected will be needed to solve the puzzle, with big "hah-ha"


For me this puzzle really embodies the perfect packing puzzle: challenging but not frustrating with an unconventional way of solving it.

I am sure you will like it as much as I did. It appears in my top best packing puzzle.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Yuu Asaka made it again!!

So here comes the time to review the latest 2 puzzles designed and made by Yuu.

Some points good to mention before: the quality is still very good with a great contrast of colors between the color of the pieces and the color of the tray.
Also this time the pieces are not transparent, so less prone to fingerprints. And I like the smoothness of these pieces!

So let's start with the first: wave 5
Like its brother you have some wave-shaped pieces to pack inside the tray.
How difficult can it be? Well it's hard, it's puzzling, it's fun!
I was wondering why Yuu seemed to make difficult puzzles and then easier after. Like for example he released jigsaw 29 and then jigsaw 19, and clearly 19 is easier than 29.

Some may think it's easier then. Well wave 7 was super hard. Wave 5 is maybe a little bit less hard, but it's still very challenging and not that way easier.

I cannot say more, but you will have your "aha-moment" for sure pretty soon in your puzzling journey ;)

It took me a lot of time, way more than I expected. I like it a lot.



Now, Ice 9: the beast!!


Some nice pieces with weird angles.....The challenge is that you have many pieces that can go with many other due to the rounded or curved angles of the pieces. So a lot of possibilities to put the pieces together....and obviously you will have some holes as the pieces cannot cover the whole tray.

This is probably the most difficult puzzles in the whole series (as of now...who knows about the future hahaha) and this will keep you puzzling for long time. 

Trust me the "aha-moment" comes at the very end...and you really realize how Yuu is a very devilish guy. He likes to put you on the wrong way and you will do so....until you try new things.....


As with his previous puzzles, I can only say that you should definitely buy both puzzles. 

You can contact Yuu HERE. I don't think these puzzles are limited edition, but they may take "a bit" of time to make, so if you're in a hurry to be "puzzle-tortured", hurry up and send Yuu an email ;-)


Saturday, 23 February 2019

New blog

I will maintain this blog that will still be about puzzles, but I have created a new blog

I have also put it in the section "blogs that I follow".

This blog will be updated from time to time and will be about:
-> things that I sell, so this may be worth checking if you're looking to buy anything special or start a new collection (I will put some collecting things). Right now I put champagne caps.

-> things that I like, feelings, etc.

It won't be about puzzles.

To contact me if you're interested, you can still use the contact form in my current puzzle blog.

Enjoy!

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Jewel Thief solved !!

OK, I finally solved the beast!!

This puzzle is a take-apart puzzle and has several steps.

First you need to crack the code of the lock using the brass knob which produces clicking sounds and the symbols on the back of the puzzle.
This step was hard and I even had ideas that were trickier than the solution, but when you don't make progress you try to imagine what you can :)


You need to play with the puzzle in a quiet room, analyzing the clicks, their number and other things. Trust me, this will keep you busy for some time!
And as the lock doesn't pop when it's opened, then you need to pull up the shackle each time you think that you've found the right code.

You think you've solved the hardest step of the puzzle? Hummm, I thought so, but hell is coming!!!

Now you've unlocked the lock and taken out the rod, the cage of the thief can be rotated, from time to time it blocks, from other time it seems it can be pushed a bit.....But I am sure you won't understand the feature until you've solved that part. Not only because it's tricky, but also because many things are involved in this step locking the puzzle in many ways.

Right, part solved? Thief release? Now find her jewel. I looked everywhere and I could not find it....Damn!! I even thought I lost it on the floor when solving the puzzle ;-(

Remember: solve this puzzle on a flat surface. Things can fall...roll...

But actually there is no way the jewel can be lost, it's hidden somewhere and you will need to perform some more steps to find it.

After finding it, Jon made you a surprise! I cannot tell, but there is more to discover and you will really like it I am sure ;-)

A lot of work has been put into creating the puzzle, many steps and many parts for each steps.

Strongly advised for metal puzzle collectors and for people who like to be puzzled for long time!

Resseting the puzzle for the next victim is very easy, good news, no? :)


Not sure if they are sold out now (as it's in limited edition), but if not, you'd better be quick if you want one.
You can find Jon's contact on my previous post of the tumbler puzzles.



Monday, 21 January 2019

Double Tumbler

After the tumbler puzzle designed and made by Jon Keegan that I reviewed few days ago, here comes its big brother: the Double Tumbler !

Some may wonder if it looks (and can be solved) same as the tumbler and may hesitate to buy it or not.
I always feel frustrated when I buy puzzles that are the same but with minor changes. So let me explain why it's pretty different from the tumbler and why you should get both.

As a first sight, it's a cylinder, but apart from the anodization color, you will notice that you have 3 moving parts, compared to 2 for the tumbler. Which means, this should be more challenging than the (already challenging) tumbler puzzle! ;)


You still get the holes on the core of the puzzle, which look nice and can be of a help to solve the puzzle. Well, of course it does not show everything!!

As for the tumbler you will hear some ball bearing, you may assume what you need to do and you may be right. But then how to do that?
Sometimes, the top cap can be rotated, sometimes it's blocked and sometimes you can pull the cap a bit....bu the puzzle is still locked.

As for the internals, when you open it you will notice several changes from the tumbler and you will see how Jon has a twisted mind implementing some traps here and there. And you should definitely understand such or such situation that happened when you were trying to solve the puzzle :-)
I cannot tell more without spoiling, but in my mind both tumbler are worth the case to be bought together. And you should start with the tumbler, then experience the double tumbler.

Same good point as for the tumbler: no spring involved, hence no issue with damaging the top/bottom of the cylinder with it.

Jon should still have some in stock, you can contact him to check!


Thursday, 17 January 2019

Tumbler puzzle

You may remember that Jon Keegan released jewel thief, tumbler and double tumbler.

So far, I have only solved completely the tumbler puzzle, so here are my thoughts about it.


The first thing to mention is the great quality and the nice anodized green color. The anodization is not only nice but also protects and makes the puzzle more resistant. So it has a useful function as well!

Jon got the idea from the famous first cylinder puzzle designed and made by Wil Strijbos. Despite some common features there are also some nice differences.

So let's go about the differences!

It's bigger than the first cylinder and has some holes. If I am right, Jon made these holes to help the solver because many people considered the puzzle to be too hard. I really like the idea, but despite it shows a little bit from the inside, it did not help (or maybe I did not think enough?...) that much to solve the puzzle.

The puzzle has 2 moving part and they need to be rotated in some ways...cannot talk more about that, though...But the thing is that there is no spring (compared to the first cylinder), so the puzzle will not pop when opened. I really like the pop sound, but the spring also damaged the bottom of the puzzle. Here, no issue about damaging and the moves are very smooth.


The puzzle is more complicated than the Strijbos' one and when you make a progress you will know what to do, but easier said than done! ;-)

At some point the puzzle opened a bit and as you may want to do (or may will) I closed it...you know sometimes you need to close and find different ways to make more progress. Luckily I managed to open it again a bit and at some point it opened.
Not sure if it's made on purpose (I am pretty sure it is, but then I will now try to figure out how it was possible) that the puzzle could open a bit, before completely be opened after some more moves.

Once opened, you can see the internals and try to find a way to solve it faster for the next attempts.

Now, I will try to solve its big brother (double tumbler) which should be even more difficult!

You can contact Jon to check if he has some left. Definitely a must-have!


Saturday, 12 January 2019

Wave 7

After his 2 jigsaw puzzles, Yuu Asaka keeps on designing nice plexi packing puzzles and this time it have like wave-shaped pieces.

The goal is still the same and the challenge is still high! And it's definitely more difficult than the jigsaw 19 as you have a lot of possibilities to put the pieces inside the tray.

You will notice that some pieces fit perfectly with others when they have the right orientation and you will also soon realize that you will have to put some pieces vertically and some others horizontally. Now the challenge is: which pieces... :-)

I needed a bit of help for this one and even with the help it was still challenging. 



The puzzle does not require any force to make the pieces fit inside the tray. The fit is absolutely perfect like Yuu's other packing puzzles. So you need to think about to put 2 pieces so that the gap between them and outside of them is as small as possible, so that you can "save" some space for the other pieces. You need to take into account the shape of the pieces and experiment if you can put such or such piece inside them.

To conclude: a puzzle that will puzzle you for long time!

If you want to buy it, you can contact Yuu.

I would not be surprised if it pops up at next design competition ;)
We'll see!

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Jigsaw 19

Yuu made Jigswaw 29 that I reviewed previously and he made 2 new puzzles.
So far I have only solved one, so the other one will be reviewed later.

It's called: jigsaw 19. And the goal is the same: just pack the pieces inside the tray!
"Just"?....

Well if you have played with his bog brother you will see the same features that differenciate this puzzle from a regular jigsaw puzzle.

It took me less time to solve (well there are fewer pieces also) and knowing the special features of these puzzles, I tried another approach. Trying to see which piece goes with which. And I ended up with some "packs" and put them together.

Sometimes a piece can also go with several, but you will soon realize if you're doing things right or not :)

In terms of quality: perfect! Nothing to say. The fit is perfect as well and the colors well choosen. The only drawback with plexi is that it attracts dust :-(

In terms of difficulty: no doubt it's challenging. Lesss than its big brother though. For me it's better to start with this one. And give it to non-puzzle friends and watch their face when trying to solve the puzzle hahaha.

You can contact Yuu to get your puzzle. The other packing from Yuu is pretty different and super challenging! So far no real progress on it.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Jewel thief - update

Lock cracked!!
It was epic, pretty hard. Maybe I should have tried the 10000 combinations hahaha

Now I need to release the poor little thief still jailed. What? It's seems he changed position....was I so long?... ;)



I assume the code can be changed, but what's the point?
After all it's not about guessing the code, it's about finding a logical way to manage to find it using all the informatio provided to you. Got it?

1st step was hard...it seems second step is not easy as well, challenging puzzle.

I think not a lot of them are available now, so I strongly advise you to hurry if you want it!


Saturday, 29 December 2018

Auzzle

Time to review a new kind of puzzle!
Designed and made by Ilya Osipov, this puzzle got an honorable mention at past IPP in San Diego (2018).


The puzzle is made out of 3D material and obviously magnets!

The goal is to have all the magnets in the center like in the picture on the right.
You have 2 kind of moves: one is to rotate the 2 inner parts, the other move is to rotate the halves of the puzzles. After scrambling the puzzle, you will get magnets pointing in many direction, and now the fun begins!!!

I like a lot the noise of the magnets, the "clicking sound" each time your rotate something.

So this puzzle is like a twisty, but more fun. I like the look, and the puzzle is bigger than what I expected. It seems solid as well. So normally you can let your friends play with it.

No algorithm exists yet, and I hope one will be created. It's like rubix's cube: without algorithm it's not possible to solve. But....for this one, Ilya said that a person should be able to solve it under 2 hours, by just rotating again and again.
And he is quite right. For me it's took probably around 30 minutes (definitively less than 2 hours) to solve the puzzle. I had no strategy at all, I tried to elaborate one but I failed. But at some point, I came up with a solved puzzle!
However, again it would be nice to be able to solve it faster with an algorithm.
And a good idea would be to make like a "pro-auzzle", a professional version for speed solving ;)

If you want your auzzle, you can contact Ilya: HERE

There is also a mathematical demonstration HERE with a youtube link as well in case you're wondering about the moves ad the clicking sound, don't expect to understand anything as it's in Russian haha

Ilya's facebook can be found HERE




Monday, 24 December 2018

Jon Keegan is your new metal puzzle designer!

This is a great news for the metal puzzle collectors!
Overall, most puzzles that are released are in wood and not a lot in metal, this is going to change!

Jon Keegan has submitted 2 puzzles for the design puzzle competition in San Diego (in 2018) and he did not receive a prize (but should have received!!). Among them was the Jewel Thief puzzle which is a massive take-apart puzzle.

Jon will sell 3 puzzles:
-tumbler (100 USD)
-double tumbler (140 USD)
-Jewel Thief (450 USD)

The tumbler puzzles are improved versions of the cylinder puzzle designed by Strijbos, with additional features and a nice color.
The Jewel Thief is a totally new puzzle with nice features, using a lego guy as a thief to release. And it's limited to only 100 puzzles, don't miss it!! ;)


Jon can send you the flyer he made (with some more detailed precision about the puzzles, and a surprise at the end). Just ask him by email by clicking HERE.
I do advise you to be quick if you want the puzzles (you need them for your collection anyway hahaha), because they will be sold out fast.

Jon created some nice wooden boxes!

Jon is the new Strijbos, I am sure he will design some more wonderful puzzles.
So far I cannot be more precise regarding the puzzles (except saying that they are very nicely made with stunning design and color anodization), but I intend to make a complete review a bit latter after playing more with the puzzles.


Merry puzzling X-mas to you & your family !!! :)

Monday, 3 December 2018

Neat lock

This lock was an exchanged puzzle from IPP 23 by Peter Hajek.

It's supposed to be an old mechanism (so not something new), but old mechanism does not mean bad!

And this is so neat that Peter decided to exchange it. Let me tell you that turning the key again and again will result in...nothing special :)

The main difficulty is that you cannot see the mechanism. To be honest, I managed to solve it several times but I am still unsure about how it looks from the inside...

With a pretty unusual keyhole you have plenty space to try and turn the key inside. No banging is necessary.
Your only hint is a slight click sound. Maybe this is useful?....

Solved!!!

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Hexahog

A new kind of hedgehog puzzle!!!!!
Let me introduce the HEXAHOG

Designed and made by Rademic puzzle company in Czech Republic, this puzzle has 2 challenges: you need to free a piece and you need to build up a cage. Double challenge for more puzzling fun :)




The original thing is the shape of the hedgehog. See it does not have any spikes. It's "just" an geometrical shape...not sure of the name though. No spike does not mean it's easier. Indeed you have many holes and many orientations of the piece...
Can anyone count the possibilities??? :)

With a bit of trial and errors you will  solve this first challenge, that still took me a bit of time.

Try to make a picure of the "secret" entrance when the piece is freed, so that you can remember how to restart the puzzle. Anyway the piece is easier to manipulate when it's outside rather than when it's inside the cage :)

Now the second challenge...!!

So you have many pieces and the goal is to make a cage around the existing cage.

Honestly this is very difficult because many possibilities and positions of the pieces. I did cheated and even with the solution you have 2 difficulties: to recognize the pieces and follow the solution picture and the other difficulty is that the pieces may crumble when you're building up the uper ring of pieces. So a solution is to have a friend helping you. Or putting an elastic ruber band on the base to maintain the pieces. Or even puting in the center like a paper rolled so that the pieces cannot fall inside. Try to figure out the best way :-)

So in my opinion, a very nice puzzle not for the faint of heart. I wish the locking mechanism of the pieces for the cage could have been stronger to avoid the pieces to crumble and to cary the solved puzzle without fearing that timelapse the puzzle crumble ;)

You can find it HERE along with other nice hedgehog puzzles. I like them overall because of the different variations in terms of design and solving process.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

The best packing puzzles

I will write several reviews in the same spirit in the weeks/months to come. This is only my point of view, so you may disagree.

In my mind, packing puzzles are boring and can be too difficult if the goal is just to put a lot of pieces in a tray. What's the fun?....
For me a good packing puzzle does not need a lot of pieces, but needs a good idea and clever steps. Most of the time with just 3 or 4 pieces you can have a very enjoyable puzzle with a challenging level.

So I will put below some puzzles that I like and that are worth playing with. I won't rank them, because it would be a bit difficult for me to say which is the best and which is the less good. For some of them, I may have written a review, for some other I will do so in the future. But ayway, I will put some pictures with quick explanations.

So let go with a selection of 10 nice packing puzzles!!


1. String octet
Designed by Goh Pit Khiam / Made by Brian Menold
The goal is to pack the pieces but you have to draw a continuous line and of course if you reverse the pieces you have another path.
Many challenges and the challenges are far from being easy. A very good puzzle(s)!



2. No holes barred
Designed by Laszlo Molnar / Crafted by Brian Menold
The goal is to pack the pieces inside the box. But you will have to make some rotations and see the box has something unusual. Laszlo designed several puzzles in the same spirits. Both are very enjoyable and challenging.




3. Pack 3
Designed by Osanori Yamamoto
This embodies the parfect packing puzzle with only 3 pieces (and the wood is wonderful by the way). The goal is not to pack the 3 pieces (which is easy) just in the box but to pack them so that no holes are visible like in the picture on the right. Many moves, this is definitely a nice and challenging puzzles. Be careful, something looking too easy has usually many hidden tricks :)




4. Pin block case
Designed by Hajime Kastumoto
Only 4 pieces to pack, but see there are pins (so grooves on the reverse side of the pieces). A very enjoyable puzzle, with several moves




 5. 4L puzzle
Designed by Yasuhiro Hashimoto / Crafted by MINE
The puzzle with only 4 pieces gave a lof of puzzling frustration to many puzzlers. Inside you have a lot (!) of moves to fit the pieces inside the box and the plexi is not here to help you :)
This is a very very good puzzle!



6. Slide packing
Designed by Hajime Katsumoto / Crafted by MINE
It has 4 pieces to fit into this sliding box. What is very interesting is that first it's a sliding box. Then the shape of the pieces look pretty basic. Then the solution is just super nice. This puzzle has a brother called "penta in a box" designed by the same guy. And it has a very nice solution as well.
Very well made, nice solution, it's a must-have!



7. Chain store
Designed by Goh Pit Khiam / Crafted by Tom Lensch
A very unusual packing puzzle, not overly difficult but still challenging



8. Stumbling block
Designed by Goh Pit Khiam / Crafted by Tom Lensch
4 pieces to pack. Not super difficult but still challenging, I am sure that you were amazed (if you have ever played with it) by the sequence of moves. Seriously, you will have you "aha-moment"!!
It has some brothers: road blocks, number blocks. All super nice



9. Magnet mania!
Designed and crafted by Chris Morgan
The goal is to pack the 9 magnets in the holes. I managed to solve it in the not intended way (but I was very lucky). But the official solution is so clever, that you have to still try it. Challenging and interesting mathematical properties





10. One piece packing
Designed and made by Simon Nightingale
The only one packing puzzle with one piece to pack. And this is not an easy puzzle. As you will notice you have magnets. So there are many ways to pack the piece inside (24 if I am not wrong) and you will probably forget what you have done and so try the same configuration several times :)
I really wonder how it's crafted...