Thursday, 31 December 2015

The oriental toothpick safe

This pretty old puzzle (well it's from 2001, so 14 years ago!) was designed and made by Frank Chambers, with the usual material he used for puzzles: corian.

A pretty small puzzle and a quite heavy one regarding its size. The 3 colors of the puzzle are simple but well chosen in my opinion.


There are 2 goals: first one is to open the puzzle, second one is to make a shape with the toothpicks inside (thus the name of the puzzle).

As you can see on the lid is a black button, you can remove it if you want to see the mechanism. It should be glued but it's up to you if you want to glue it or not. I think better not so that you can admire the mechanism many times. And I feel always frustrated not to be able to see the mechanism for some puzzles.

I did not spend long time before managing to open the puzzle. Actually it's not a difficult puzzle and the mechanism is pretty simple, but well implemented.

For the second goal of the puzzle: making the shape with the toothpick is much more difficult.
Well, I would even say it's fetched, very fetched! And even the solution kept me thinking for some time why this was the solution!...It's a strange solution but yes in reality it would work...
You have to really think out of the box to understand it!

Would this hole give any clue?

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Ring box

This small and cute puzzle was designed and crafted by Frank Chambers some time ago, with corian.

The goal is to open the ring box and to find the ring.


This would be more considered as a secret box rather than as a puzzle because it's more a hidden trick than really many steps to open the ring box.

Easy to repeat, not difficult at all to open, but it may take a bit of time (more than 10 seconds...) for a non puzzler because it's very well hidden!

So better to give to your other half tomorrow than to a puzzle collector ;-)
But of course the puzzle collector would appreciate it a lot in his collection!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Bon bons #1

The puzzled guy bakery baked you something good for your...collection: the bon bons #1

These puzzles are part of a series of 4 small looking-cake puzzles. And the name is very linked to the shapes of them: they are small, but absolutely well crafted and you really need a lot of precision to craft the pannels !!


Your first impression is that the packaging is very nice: you immediately feel hungry :-)
So you open the box and what's inside? 2 small cakes waiting to be eaten! And look each cake is put in a small piece of paper like in a bakery!!!
So then you put the lid of the box under the box because you want to see these puzzles all the time.

Wait....What? Humm it seems that somebody could not wait and ate a part of the small cake!!!
Now you can see the beautiful inside of the cake with colorful layers of...wood. Very very nice.


Is it just a nice piece of art? Or can it be opened? I do not want to spoil so try to figure out what you can do with it :-)

The second cake is also very well crafted and it's different and looks like more a "regular" box. You will have to slide pannels in a precise order to open the box (the inside is too small to put something by the way) and manage to see your serial number with the signature of Perry.

Nice wood

I cannot say better thing that it's very nice, the color of wood is beautiful. It's not a difficult puzzle, you just need to follow a sequence of steps. But the steps are very well hidden and you could miss some steps with your big fingers :-) So I would better rank as a moderately difficult puzzle: the difficulty is due to the size of the puzzle.

I recommend to be careful when playing with these puzzles, because I tend to think that they are more fragile because they are small. The fit may be a bit tight, but do not apply excessive force, otherwise perhaps you could damage some pannels...which would be a pitty.

The other puzzles in the series will be reviewed a bit later.

 To conclude: I am a big fan of Perry's puzzles!!!

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Shake the shaker

Hey you, metal lovers, this is a quick review that may interest you!


So as you may have recognized, this is a metal puzzle designed and made by the mysterious Roger D.

Again, the goal is never given with his puzzles. Sometimes it's obvious, but not with this one. Thus, I cannot put the picture of the puzzle in the solved state because that would spoil a fun part of the puzzle.

So what can you do with this puzzle? Well, you will try the usual techniques and see that it does not work...Indeed this is a very difficult puzzle that requires several steps. You cannot see very well because it's dark inside.
But you can hear things ratling in the puzzle, how can they be useful?....That's the question!


Obviously you will notice that something moves inside the puzzle, and sometime a bit deeper, but still just knowing that you're a bit far from the solution...

Maybe a hint is from the name ("007") ? Maybe it does something unusual and does not do what it seems to be and what the solution you expect to be?

Actually I was a bit surprised by the goal of this puzzle, even a bit disappointed I must admit, you have to know that with Roger D you may be surprised at any point!

However, I do like the puzzle with its original solution, the smooth material and the unique design!


I know who is Roger D ;-)

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Go tamashido!

Sounds Japanese, doesn't it? Well guess what: it's French!

You're provided with a tray, some marbles, a tool and a booklet. The goal is to try to make the shapes shown in the booklet.


As you can notice at a first glance the tray has 2 sides (one triangular and one squared side) with holes inside, but not holes are the same. Some are "regular" holes and some are a bit bigger. And no it's not a default: it's made on purpose of course. One can ask why. Well, because do make the shapes with the marbles you will need to take out some marbles with the magnetic tool, and thus taking marbles from a regular hole can not be possible all the time...

So the challenges begin on which side of the board you want to make the sculptures and from which holes.

The magnetic tool is useful to take out some marbles. It's composed of a stick with a magnet that you can slide. I was sceptical at the beginning because I thought that it could attract all the marbles and make my solids crumble. But it's not the case. First because it's not a powerful magnet, and then because if you slide the magnet you can "cancel" the magnet attraction of the tool. You will need to get used to it, because it's practical. 

I think you can easily guess why the label is "dexterity". Well, not only dexterity but also patience and thinking. But still dexterity because you need to be careful when you take out some marbles with the tools, you need to take the correct marbles, and sometimes the tool becomes useless and you need to use....your hands!


About the difficulty, it's high: you need to think about how you can create the solids, which balls to take out, etc. And the frustration is when you've almost completed the solids but you make it crumble because of a small move....Better not to play outside when it's windy (even a small wind!).

To conclude: a nice game, available HERE. And for the price you're sure to make a good bargain!
My version is the "basic" version but you can have upgraded versions. Just look at the website what they have to offer.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Gary's escape

Yes this is a pretty old (from 1997) puzzle (which makes it highly collectible!!) designed by Gary Foshee and composed of a bottle, a metal rod and a marble to be freed.
 


Everything what you need is provided with the puzzle. You just have to take care because, being made with glass, it's fragile.

It's by no mean a difficult puzzle, pretty straight forward, but the ideas are clever. Even if you're not a seasoned puzzler, you immediately know what you have to do, how you will do it and what you expect the result to be. But still you will have pleasure to solve it.


In the solution booklet Gary says to unscrew the bottle to reassemble all the things inside. But if you want a pretty difficult challenge you can try to reassemble it without unscrewing the bottle.

What is your favourite bottle puzzle?

To conclude: this is a nice puzzle and perfect for an exchanged puzzle

Thursday, 19 November 2015

8 star puzzle: the comparision between the prototype and the finished product

This nice-looking puzzle is a design from the Belgium designer Robrecht Louage. I have already reviewed some of his previous puzzles, checked it out!

You may remember the 4 steps puzzle, this is in the same concept but with 4 more steps.

The goal: you put the ball in the "in" hole and you need to free the ball, going through many traps.
Actually there are 8 steps, some of them are clearly visible and some of them are hidden either by black marks or hidden ways.

The first step is easy to go through: just a little bit of dexterity. Same thing for 2nd step but this time it's hidden. If you look well, 2 steps are identical and can be found in Roger D puzzles.

None of the steps can be considered as new principles, thus you will not have any novelty with this puzzle. However, the steps are implemented all the way on your "puzzle journey" and so there is not like "breaks" between them, they are a continuation of each other.

The difficult thing is the maze because even if there are some holes on the back of the puzzles, well you cannot see what you're really doing. You can only try to guess and believe me you should not make big moves, because the different ways are close to each other, with dead-ends and so on: so here it's dexterity in the dark.
Of course, you can unscrew the puzzle and see the maze if you gave up, and then try to navigate again in the maze.

Like usually with puzzles, there is first the prototype and after the finished product. I put below on the left the picture of the prototype and on the right the picture of the finished product, so that you can see the changes.

The front of the puzzle (ok I know the 2 puzzles are not orientated in the same way....my mistake)
For the prototype the plastic is absolutely transparent and a little bit opaque for the finished puzzle, but both have black marks.
I would have prefered that the finished product have a transparent plastic with opaque (and not black) marks, but opaque enough to hide the traps.
The black marks are positioned on the same traps.



The entry of the maze
Nothing different



The back of the puzzle
Again, sorry for the orientation of the puzzle, but I know my readers are clever guys, so you will notice no change, except the name of the puzzle with 2 stars, to make the product totally finished


The inside of the maze
Hummm, no spoiler. But the maze is globally the same but with some small changes, which make the maze of the finished product a bit more difficult, in my opinion.


Solvable and not solvable?
The prototype cannot totally be solved whereas the finished can be, that's normal right ;-)
But this is one of the last steps, so your puzzling experience will not be altered by this small faults. And a prototype is always a high collectible puzzle, isn't it?

To conclude: a very nice puzzle, not difficult but still very enjoyable. Perhaps next puzzle will be the "12 steps puzzle", who knows...

Thursday, 12 November 2015

3M puzzle

Time to review a packing puzzle by the famous Iwahiro. This puzzle is easy to understand: you need to put all the 3 pieces (with an M shape, hence the name of the puzzle) inside the box. The box and the pieces are made from MDF.


Ok then simple goal, simple solution? Not at all!

If you've already played with any Iwahiro's puzzles like the Jam puzzles or the ODD puzzle, you know that all his puzzles look simple, but actually their solution include either rotations or unusual positions.

As you can see below, the pieces cannot be packed in an usual way, the goal is to pack them so that you can close the box of course!


I play some time with it trying to put them in different ways, and you will notice soon that these pieces interact with each other: just putting one on a vertical plan, the other flat (for example) does not work.

You need to think "outside the box" to put everything inside the box, paradoxical, isn't it? :-)

Once you have figured out the solution, a little dexterity (a very little I would even say) is required.

This puzzle has a satisfaying solution and it will puzzle you for some time I am sure. Iwahiro also designed the 4M puzzle, same goal, but perhaps not the same solution (actually I do not know as I have not yet tried the 4M puzzle, but I would expect a different solution, or at least a slight difference).

If you want an unusual packing puzzle, this is definitely one you should try to get!

Is there anything inside?.... ;-)

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Do you need some light(er)?

Yes yes it's a lighter...but you cannot burn anything with it, or perhaps your brain :-)

Actually it's a puzzle designed and crafted by Roger D, the famous unknown designer (don't you think-like me-that it's a real pitty that nobody knows him?...), all in metal (the flame is in brass, the core is the metal used for many of his puzzles).

The puzzle is not big, but the size is still satisfaying and the weight is not light (you get the pun?)

Looks impressive, doesn't it?


Anyway, let's continue! When you get a Roger D puzzle, actually you have 2 puzzles: the first puzzle is to understand the goal (it's easy to guess it for R2D2 for example), the second puzzle is to solve your metal puzzle.

For this puzzle, I cannot put a picture of the puzzle in the solved state because it would show you the goal of it.

So what would be the goal? Pushing the flame inside the core? Pulling the flame out of the core? Turning the flame? Or perhaps the goal has nothing to do with the flame?...But once you have solved the puzzle, the goal is obvious of course!

Now the solving experience? Humm let's say it's a difficult puzzle. You do not know the goal, you cannot see the internals...So yes, it's difficult: you can experience some pain to solve it! No external tools are required to solve it, by the way.



You can only hear some things ratling inside: but it's difficult to hear if it's only one thing or many things, where they are, and so on.

The cleverness of this puzzle (despite it's natural beauty) is that the mechanism is not super complex: it's rather simple and definitely very well crafted with good precision.

To conclude: a very nice puzzle to play with. It's also very original. I like the design and the solution (I think I found the "official" solution even if no solution are usually published for these puzzles).



Thursday, 29 October 2015

Rightangular Jam

In a previous review I talked about rectangular Jam from Iwahiro, time to speak quikly about another one: rightangular Jam.
The original material used is MDF

The principle is still the same: free the colorful piece out of the tray. This time with rightangular triangles.



The puzzles includes a lot of rotations and is very tricky and hard to solve. Much harder than rectangular Jam.
As far as I know there are no other challenges (contrary to rectangular Jam). If I am wrong, just let me know.But perhaps it's possible to invent some?

Again, the precision if perfect, the design is handsome. I really wonder how the designer came to this idea. How is it posible to imagine so many movements?...

So the fit is so precise that sometimes it seems impossible to move or rotate a piece. Just make small and slow moves and it will work!

As you may assume, I put the pieces as they appear at the beginning of the solving process :-)

To conclude a beautiful and interesting puzzle to play with!

Still looking for the some other Jam's...

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Bottle coke #9

This bottle is quite unusual because it is in aluminium and not in glass, and thus you cannot see what you're doing, which makes things even more difficult!
By the way, if it were transparent, it would have been too easy :-)
There is a marble inside the bottle, and again the goal is to free it. This time, you don't have to worry about the rigidity of the bottle because this one cannot break, at least from my experience.



As if the fact of not having a glass bottle was not enough, there is a washer that provides you from seeing what the mecanism is, this makes the puzzle more difficult to solve.
You can notice that a hole is pierced in the place of the bear's nose, so maybe this can be useful...
But anyway the hole is pierced in a "designed way". I mean if it were just in the red it would not have looked really nice, whereas here it's almost normal to have a hole for the nose of the bear.

Wil Strijbos adds 2 glowing sticks along with the puzzle. They can be used to see what is inside of the bottle. Try to make good use of them because they don't last forever. But, keep them even after they don't produce light any longer. Usually you should not throw away anything with Strijbos' puzzles.

The fashioned way to find treasures inside your nose :-)

The bottle is very very tricky. The mechanism is simple but cool. Only Strijbos can design such a devilish mechanism. And when you've solved it, you will see how simple things can be so difficult sometimes. But don't think, however, that it's too simple; the mechanism is very well thought.

No shaking, banging is allowed (nor useful) and use of external tool is not useful. Remember that external tools are everyting that do not come along with the puzzle...

I advise you to buy it if Wil make it again, I am sure that it will fit well in your bottle puzzles collection or/and un your Strijbos' puzzle collection.


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Push box 2

After the Push box that I reviewed some time ago, here is the next one: Push box 2 !

Same designer (Simon Nightingale), same kind of material (corian), pretty same dimensions, but not same mechanism (luckily!).

Again you do not see what you're doing and unfortunately you will not be able to see the internals. The good point is that the drawer cannot fall on the floor :-)


Now, what about the mechanism? Well, nothing new...So, nobody will have difficulties to solve it quickly. It took me around 10 seconds.

Nightingale is famous for his puzzles with clever and interesting mechanism, I wish he invented a new mechanism and did not simply took an already existing kind of mechanism, even if it was an exchanged puzzle.

Anyway, whether you like corian or just collect Nightingale's puzzles, I recommend it. If you want a bit of challenge, that's not the puzzle for you!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Confetto box 2

I have already reviewed the first Confetto box, so now it's time for this second Confetto box, which was designed by Iwahara for the 2014 X-mas presents.



As with Karakuri, you always know that the puzzles are well crafted and put in simple but nice box.

If you have already played with Confetto box 1 (I strongly advise so that you better know the principle of these confetto puzzles), you notice that this puzzle is a bit smaller (why??) but still have nice wooden panels.

The goal is to find a secret compartment (there is only one contrary to Confetto box 1) by moving the panels. The moves are a bit tricky but you will know pretty quickly what you have to do, because you cannot do anything if the previous steps are not done.
Perhaps a Confetto box 3 would have some kind of "dead ends". I mean you can move many panels and moving one panel may lead you to a dead end. That would be a bit more challenging. Because again, like Confetto box 1, you have to do the previous steps to do the next steps and there is only one way to do that.
So Confetto boxes remain pretty straight-forward puzzles.




However, this puzzle is very good and you will have fun whether you like trick opening boxes or Karakuri's puzzles.

I still prefer Confetto box 1 because I prefer the color of wood of Confetto box 1, because it's a bigger puzzle, because there are more secret compartments and finally because the moves are much easier to make with it (it slides smoother, but it's also due to the solving process of Confetto box 2).

Which one do you prefer? The 1st Confetto box or the second one? Why?


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Enigma orbs

They need your help!

There is a new crowdfunding campaign on kickstarter to create a new kind of puzzles. These puzzles are in concrete, yes you read well! The goal is to assemble the pieces (that have magnets inside) to create an orb.

They look really nice with the inclusion of colored pieces of glass. Different size will be produced with many more colors (stains and glasses). The smaller orb can fit completely in the medium one, and the medium one can also fit in the bigger one.







I took the pictures from the website because I cannot have any since they are not yet released.


Which combo do you like?


If you want to own one of them, then help them HERE  :-)

I reall hope the guys will reach their goal and raise the money to supply us with these wonderful puzzles!!!


Thursday, 24 September 2015

Rectangular Jam

An unusual puzzle design by the well known Iwahiro, which consists of sliding pieces flat to free the green piece.

The movements used are not only linear movements and can include rotations, which makes the puzzle pretty difficult.

Even if you do not need a lot of steps to solve the puzzle, as the pieces are precisely cut, you may think that it's impossible. But when you go slow and do not use any force, you notice that you can make some moves which appeared as impossible at the beginning.


As you understand, you're not allowed to lift some pieces and everything has to remain flat!

There were additional challenges, but if you solve this one and understand the principle, then the other challenges are easy.


I like a lot the design of this puzzle. Which ones from the Jam series do you prefer?

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Cast nutcase

This puzzle belongs to the cast series of Hanayama's puzzles and is ranked as 6/6.
The puzzle is a trick bolt with a nut inside. It is composed of 2 big nuts with the words "nut" and "case" written on each. That's where the name of the puzzle comes from.

The first goal is to open the bolt to take the nut out of it.
Another challenge is to change the name of the puzzle to make it become "case nut" with the word "case" written on the nut above the other nut.

Challenge #2

Again, I don't really understand why it is ranked so high because the puzzle is not difficult to solve...It can take some time but not a lot!

One "big" problem with this puzzle is that you should roll along the nut on the thread quite carefuly because sometimes it jams a bit. This mainly happens when you're rolling the nuts and at the same time pulling the puzzle from each side to open the bolt (I am not really spoiling because you notice what you have do to quickly!)
Don't force, take your time, make small moves and everything will be ok :-)

Did you know about challenge #2 or you thought the only challenge was to open the puzzle?

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Green revomaze

Let's talk about (one of) the most difficult kind of puzzles currently in the market: it's in metal, pretty heavy (take care!), seems to be a quality puzzle (made in UK) and seems to be not dangerous...

Well, that was what you think before :-)
But now after you've taken it into your hands and play with it you notice that it's painful for your fingers and that you're lost in some kind of devilish maze. And what a maze!!

The green one is ranked to be the second easiest revomazes in the series but one of the most difficult to repeat. Anyway, all are difficult to repeat...so...

Always a nice box that protects well the puzzle!




Revomazes are punishing puzzles: you go a bit too far from some milimeters and you will fall in the trap that oblige you to start again (shouldn't it be good also to not start from the beginning but from the middle of the maze for example, maybe something to implement?) !!

So as you know you will have to navigate through the darkness and to avoid traps of any kinds.

About avoiding traps, mapping is always useful, but not that so easy. Perhaps some mapping courses can be useful (videos in the website of the firms)?

Anyway let's talk about the inside, that's what you're interested in, right? :-)

In my opinion there are 3 parts in this green revo:
1/ The first part is easy. You may fall in the traps, but not a lot. And you do not need any mapping to succeed this part.

2/ The second part is a sneaky maze. This is in this part where your fingers will be a bit painful because you need an absolute precision. You need to maintain the revo with both hands without shaking...Very difficult !

3/ For the third part, there are 2 ways. One will lead you to a trap after a peaceful straight forward path. It happened to me. Believing I solved the puzzle, I try to release the pin...unsuccessfullly;-(
The other way will lead you to a maze. Mapping helps a lot. But if you do not make too big moves, you should be successful.

What a joy when you finally solve it!!!!!


And to thank you for your efforts, you get a certificate proving you're a brave puzzler!

I will not assemble it again, so I will keep it like this. I fear too much not being able to open it again.

The puzzle is still on the website, as well with some others. Soon another revo should be released.

If you're a beginner, I really advise you to begin with the blue revomaze. I was a beginner and I began with the green. I have managed to solve it long time after getting it... ;-)


To conclude: a nice puzzle, a very challenging one and something that's worth the money because you will puzzle for hours!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

(Im)possible cards

I like impossible objects, like these cards. The funny thing is we call them "impossible" but the thing is they have been made, so it was possible to make them. And probably the impossible thing is to make them back to their initial state (even if I don't think you would try that!) without damaging them.

I love curves. The result is impressive! Don't you think so?

So it would be better to call them "impossible looking items": it seems impossible that they have been made because either you cannot fill in some shapes in a bottle or, like with these cards, it seems that it's not really possible to obtain these cuts without glue.

Symmetrical and precise: so nice !!!

So I tell you right now: no glue, no scotch tape have been used by the designer! And it's wonderfully made! It's crazy: how can he make such natural curves and such natural shapes??? "The habit" he told me :-)
But even with a pair of scissors I have difficulties to cut a round in a thin sheet of paper...cutting cards is much more complicated.

The designer does not only make these beautiful impossible card but also impossible bottles and impossible folded bills. He makes a very very good job!!


Ralf has also a website where you can contact him if you would like to purchase some impossible cards or bottles.
Do not hesitate to drop him an email, he is a nice guy!

Do you prefer impossible cards or impossible bottles? Or perhaps both at the same time: an impossible card in an impossible bottle :-)

No, I will not try to unfold them :-)


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