Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Cast news

This puzzle belongs to the famous cast series of the Hanayama's puzzles and is ranked as 6/6, so very hard. The name of this puzzles just comes from the letters "n", "e", "w", "s" written on the puzzle.
When you move the puzzle, you can hear things inside, but you cannot see at all what you are doing, that's the difficulty.
The goal is easy to understand: you need to separate the 2 parts of the puzzle.

I like the design

If you don't know how to solve it, it may be difficult (so I would agree with the difficulty of 6). But when you know the solution, it is ranked as very easy for me. Because the solution is easy to repeat again and it takes less than 10 seconds to open it again and again.
There are some puzzles ranked 6/6 like cast enigma, or even puzzles ranked as less difficult like vortex (5/6) that are much more complicated to solve again and again, since they need a lot of steps before being solved.

I don't put a picture of the puzzle solved because it can spoil quite a lot... :-)

Moreover, this puzzle has a mecanism that other puzzles have, so it has not a unique mechanism.

However, the quality is good, the price is not expensive, the puzzle is easy to be repeatedly solved. 
For these reasons, you should own it. Especially if you intend to collect all the Hanayama's cast puzzles.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Isis puzzle

Let me introduce the puzzle with a story: the myth about the Isis puzzles.

"Long time ago, during the Ancient Egypt lived King Tutankhamun .
Powerful and very respected for his wisdom, he sadly died at an early age.
As a King, he was mummified in a sarcophagus incrusted with a lot of diamonds and gold.
Fearing for his wealth, he asked, long time before his death, his closest confidants to spread it all around the world.
His wishes were fulfilled and his wealth was put in many royal pyramids, which were hidden in many countries.
Tutankhamun was smart and he did not want his wealth be found by thieves.
Thus, he created golden puzzles (his favourite color) with devilish cores inside that could only be solved by humble and brave men.
Those puzzles were the first key leading to his wealth.
Currently, former King Tutankhamun can rest in peace in his sarcophagus because not all the pyramids have been discovered"

Here are the characteristics of the puzzles:

This puzzle belongs to a series of 5 puzzles called the Isis (the one I am reviewing), the Ramisis (with a pyramid shape), the Copernisis which looks like the solar system, the Tessarisis which has a cube shape, and the last one that is not yet relased.

So what about the ISIS?

This puzzle is beautifully made in aluminium with CNC machines, very smooth when you manipulate it and quite heavy (450g = 1.2lbs). It was created by Andrew Reeves and are made in UK, which is a proof that they are quality products.
There are many editions for each puzzle. For example, this one is the extreme edition, but there is also the Isis with the original colors (Gold & Blue), the Isis Black & Gold, the Isis Titanium & Blue, what changes is, of course, the difficulty!

Isn't it nice?

Each puzzle is presented in a leather box which highlights the beauty of the puzzle.
The black box fits perfectly with the gold and blue colors of the Isis!
As far as I know, I have never seen a puzzle with so much care given to the box: usually, puzzles arrive in a bubbles wrapping with scotch tape and that's all...
The packaging may be useful...
Here, that's not the case! Of course there is a carton box with scotch tape and bubbles wrapping, but also a beautiful carton box which protects the leather box.
You can really say with no shame that is a work of art!

On the Isis puzzle you can see many hieroglyphics, that makes you think of the Egyptian period, written all around it and the packaging (keep it!) has also many. So, the name of the puzzle fits perfectly with the design of it, and also to the story that goes with (we will talk to this a little bit after).

Please take care of the following: once you have solved any of the puzzles, please read the instructions to reassemble them. Otherwise, you could make wrong things that could jam the puzzles!

If you buy the Isis, that gives you the opportunity to participate to a tresure hunt with many prizes to win!

Let me explain this adventure, the Isis Adventure:

If you buy one puzzle from Sonic Games, that gives you the right to open a pyramid with money to earn.
You can open as many pyramids as you want, provided that you have the same number of puzzles.
So, if you own 3 puzzles, you can "open" 3 pyramids, whereas if you only have 1 puzzle you will be eligible to open only 1 pyramid.

What is a pyramid?
There are real pyramids that may be located in many places around the world, in some shops for example. They are kept by pyramid guardians.
The virtual pyramids can be seen on the internet.
The reward for opening pyramids is money! And for sure, the pride of having been able to solve the hard enigmas.
If you are the 1st person to open it, you receive a lot of money, if you are the second you receive a bit less.
Luckily, it is explicitly said if a pyramid has been opened, so that you don't go to the pyramid localization for nothing...

How to open the pyramids?
First, you need to buy the Isis or the Ramisis puzzle and then you enter the code on the internet by registering your puzzle.
Then, you are showed with a map about the localizations of the pyramids.
To open the pyramids you need to solve enigma and get a code.
You also need to solve an enigma to know where the pyramids are (city, place, and so on)

Are there still unopened pyramids?
Of course, and many! Because enigmas are difficult!

What about the enigmas?
Well, there are many enigmas and you can work on many as you want, but you will only have the right to open 1 if you have only 1 puzzle, as mentioned before.

If the pyramid is in the USA and I live in Europe, how to do?
Well, either you are sured that you have the right code, you book your plane and you try to pay less for your plane that you can get rewarded from the pyramid...
But the best option for this is to open the virtual pyramids you can find on the internet. However, the prize is less huge for virtual pyramids than for real pyramids.

What is the goal of having many (or all the) puzzles?
Well, first you can like challenges and be willing to solve all the puzzles, and even the most difficult puzzles for each series of puzzles.
Moreover, if you own the Isis and the Ramisis, you can try to solve a special enigma that gives you the right to open a platinium pyramid, which is a pyramid with a lot a lot of money, much more than for the "regular" golden pyramids.
So you can imagine how difficult must be the enigma to solve ;-)
And as I said before, if you have 4 puzzles, you may be able to open 4 pyramids, and thus to fund your purchase! ;-)
There is also a special prize (with a very huge amount of money to win) if you are to first to solve all the puzzles.

What about the packaging?
Haven't you been told not to throw away everything? ;-)
Don't throw the packaging away. First, because it is handsome. Then, because it protects the leather box. And finally, it may have an enigma written on it, with perhaps prizes to earn!

Any other prizes to earn?
Sure there is a very very rare and special puzzle to win: an Isis puzzle Gold & Silver encrusted with 1 carat of 5 diamonds. Only 4 of these puzzles have been made and they are worth $25,000.
To be able to win this puzzle you need to solve 4 enigmas that you will find in the adventure code book. They may be the hardest enigma of all the Isis adventure thus...
The aim of the book is also to explain the story of the puzzles, the pyramids, the creation of the firm, how to run this international business, it's kind of biography. Andrew Reeves has been dedicating so much effort since many years to create this business, to think about the pyramids, the enigmas, the design of the puzzles... Realize all the work needed! All the travels to many countries to hide the pyramids, to build a network of people to work with (be the guardian of the pyramids, sell the product, etc.). That is so much work!! And for all of his work, I have only one word: CONGRATULATIONS!

To conclude, you should buy this puzzle (and also the other ones of course) if:
  • You like solving puzzles: they are challenging!
  • You like collecting puzzles: there are many colors with different levels of difficulty
  • You think that the design is important for a puzzle: they shine a lot, smooth and pleasant to play with, the name is not choosen randomly, etc.
  • You like having a puzzle with its box (and a leather box!) and not only a bubbles wrapping...
  • You want to participate in a wonderful and tremendous treasure hunt and earn a lot of money and other special prizes!

I think every people may find interest in the reasons mentioned above ;-)
And perhaps through the treasure hunt, you will better discover yourself, who knows.
Remember the famous "cogito ergo sum" ("know well yourself first") from Descartes, and this may be the best discovery!

"Discovery" is the word that best embodies the concept of the Isis adventure: you need to discover how to solve the puzzles, you need to discover the enigmas, the places where the pyramids are located and the passwords...So, be curious!

Coming event 

If you live in France or close to France, this may interest you a lot: 1 pyramid will be hidden in the suburb of Lille (north of France) from the end of November until it is found.
Remember, you first need to solve enigmas (so first buy an Isis or a Ramisis and open it) and crack the code to have the right to open the pyramid.
But at least you know a bit where it will be ;-)
Get ready and hurry up, time's running out so fast!!

HERE you can buy the Isis puzzle and many others!!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Perrier bottle puzzle

I bought some bottle puzzles from Wil Strijbos which I will review in other posts.
Wil Strijbos makes a good job when he protects puzzles: they are wrapped in a certain way that the pieces that may shake during the delivery are maintained in place, so that nothing can move and break the puzzle. Indeed, the things inside the tricky bottles (here a plug) can rattle during the shipment and break the bottle...

This a classic Perrier bottle (so in glass, of course) with a metal tube inside. You need to take the plug out of the bottle without any force or shaking. The metal tube is the real obstacle, without it the solution is simple. With it, the solution requires thinking...
It seems impossible, is possible! You just don't know how to solve it ;-)


Be careful: too much shaking can break the bottle...(it did not happen to me because I knew that...). The bottle is provided with a cap, keep it !! By the way, you should always keep everything that goes with Wil's puzzles.

The solution is very "elegant", and to solve the puzzle you need to try things, you need to use what you external tools are required to solve the bottle.
You may manage to solve this puzzle with dexterity, but first this is not the intended solution, and then you may need to shake to bottle...and may break it...

Solved!! What?! Nothing has moved unless the plug?...So strange :-)

Just to avoid any bad ideas you may have:
-> don't put water in the bottle! Of course with water the plug can move to the top, but then because of the tube some water will stay in the bottle...!!
-> don't put anything inside the bottle

I think that if you like bottle puzzles, that is a "must-have" in your collection not only for the design but also for the solving process.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


This puzzle comes from a famous puzzle designer from the Netherlands: Wil Strijbos.
Wil is more "specialized" in metal puzzles (even if he has made many bottle puzzles), most often puzzles that you can't see what you're doing.

I will review many puzzles from Wil. The first challenge when you order from Wil is to open the package! It is very well wrapped (luckily) with a lot of scotch tape. So you try to find the beginning of the tape because you fear that if you use a knife to open the box, you could damage the puzzles inside the box...No worries: the puzzles inside the box are very well protected !!

Back to the puzzle:

The puzzle is made of a spanner, a metal chain and a metal ring. The goal is to free the metal ring, just as simple as that! The spanner could have been used to screw nuts in a previous life (even if I doubt because it seems very new), but now it is used as a puzzle ;-)

3 steps are needed to solve this puzzle. The puzzle is easy but fun to solve and fun to have for its unusual design. You can let you friends play with it without fearing that they could damage it because it is very sturdy.

Wil made another smaller spanner with a plastic ring. It is solved the same way as the big spanner, and if you want both (good luck to find the smaller one though...), you should begin with the bigger spanner. Because as it is more fragile (not a metal ring but a plastic one), you could hesitate doing things...

This puzzle is not expensive but it's not because puzzles are expensive that they are good. Often, you can have some more fun with the cheapest puzzles...This is a good example.
So I recommand this puzzle. Not for its puzzling aspect if you like difficulty, but for its unusual shape.

If you want it, contact Wil. You can find his email address by searching on Google. 
Remember, Google is your best friend.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Puzzle cube with subway tickets

One of my hobbies is origami which is the art of folding paper, coming from Japan. Perhaps I will put a link to some pictures of what I have done so far. I will see.
Origami includes folding animals (like fishes, lions...), geometrical shapes using only one sheet of paper, or many sheets which have to be assembled without glue and those are called "modular origami". Many more folding techniques exist. 

So why do I talk to you about that? Well because I made a puzzle using subway tickets that I fold like origami. See below:

I made the puzzle using quite a lot amount of tickets.The cube has a side length of about 10 centimeters (3.9 inches). I think this is quite original.
As for the difficulty, it is not overly difficult but still a bit challenging.

This puzzle is not as sturdy as metal (of course) but it's ok if you are not a brute ;-)

I also made other interesting model using subway tickets (see below). The first from the left required more than 3,000 subway tickets (!!) and has a side length of about 30 centimeters!! It took me years to collect all the tickets.This is a fractal and more specifically a Menger sponge. I don't think I will go for a bigger Menger sponge because it would have a side length of about 1 meter, would be very heavy, and would need something like 66,000 tickets.......

Hope you like it

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Topological puzzles

I came accross to some new types of puzzles that I did not know before: topological puzzles, here made by Dimiter Vakarelov.
He teaches maths in Sofia (Bulgary) and has been making topological puzzles for years (he also writes books about them)

Those puzzles are hand-made, in metal or wood and with colorful ropes. I like a lot the design with the different shapes, for example the "heart" puzzle, or the "cherries on a stick" puzzle. 
From left to right: "ring on a stick", "cherries on a stick", "spiral-3", "heart", "bracelet"

They are really nice, and they fit well in a collection of puzzles. And Dimiter has made many more topological puzzles. The names of the puzzle fit well to their design.

The goal is to free either the rope (with the balls) or some metal or wooden parts of the puzzle, by moving the rope in a certain way, making it go under some parts of the puzzles...
Most of the time it seems impossible, really !! But there is a solution (of course)!

I managed to solve "ring on a stick" (on the right)...humm how to put it again?...

I managed only to solve one puzzle called "ring on a stick", and I did it by chance...So now I have difficulties to reassemble it...I could cheat by removing the knot under the wooden crital, but I prefer using the "regular" solution.

Note that sometimes there are variation about the "design" of the puzzle, like below with "ring on a stick" puzzle.
At the beginning I feared my puzzle had a problem, but don't worry, there are not any problems! The way you solve it is still the same ;-)
The shape of the stick is not the same, but it has no impact on the solution!

As you may have understood, the difficulty is hard, even really hard. The design of the puzzles is very nice and unusual. And to finish, Dimiter is a really nice guy to chat with.

Support the work of a talented craftman and enjoy his hand-made topological puzzles ;-)

Below are some other examples of his work (there are many!):

Drop me an email if you want to contact Dimiter.

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