Thursday, 24 November 2016

String octet

Recently crafted by Brian Menold and designed by Goh Pit Khiam, this is not only a puzzle, but 13 puzzles itself!

Well you have to solve 13 challenges, so it will take you some time to solve all of them :-)

You have several pieces on which a path is drawn and 2 filler pieces. The goal is to make a continuous path from the starting piece to the end piece by using all the pieces (sometimes you can complete the goal with less than all the pieces, but well, it just means you failed...) and the 2 fillers. Brian includes a paper with hints, which consists in telling you where to place these 2 fillers. But I am sure you will not look at the hints, will you??


Obviously you have 2 sides for each piece and then depending on the orientation of the piece, the path is changed. The initial design was with straight lines, but I feel this is nice to have these curves, and maybe it can confuse people, making the challenges even more difficult?

When I saw the puzzle, I thought it would be super (or too) easy, well....definitely not. This is challenging, and so far I have not yet solved all the challenges. This is not the common packing puzzle you're used to seeing and this is what makes this puzzle very interesting.

The quality of the puzzle is nice and Brian is a very friendly craftman, always replying to emails and questions, even if he is very busy....If everyone could be like him ;-)

The puzzle is still available HERE. I am sure Brian will be happy to sell it to you, but don't wait too long because the puzzles are sold out quickly! It's worth the money!

Friday, 18 November 2016

Bolt #7

Marcel Gillen, designer and maker of this puzzle, is not only known for his maze puzzles but also for his bolts. There were several bolts, the look is pretty similar but the challenges are not exactly the same.

This is not a spoiler what I will say: this is a maze! You will find out soon that you need to solve a bolt maze, as you will hear the famous "click" sound that indicates you've been trapped and may restart from the beginning.

This is a challenging puzzle (like all Marcel Gillen's by the way!). I like the feature with the pin as I think this was a very advanced stage of the puzzle maze puzzles in its kind before the revomaze puzzle. This is the most challenging bolt puzzle you can find. But well, usually bolt puzzles are also called "trick bolts" and don't involve a lot of steps. This bolt puzzle is not a trick bolt.

Needless to say that the quality is very good and that you will have to deal with a pretty heavy brass puzzle

Maybe I can submit you another challenge whether you have or not played with this puzzle: find a way to cheat to solve quickly the puzzle.
Cheating is a way of puzzling sometimes ;-)

Friday, 11 November 2016

Time to fold....some kinetic origami

Some new creations with nice papers.

The size is not that big, but it requires very long strip of papers...and it's time-consuming to fold. But the result is worth the effort.

As usual, the foldings can be sold if interested.

There are several shapes: the basic one is the square. Then you also have a rectangle and finally an hexagon. I must admit I am not really happy with the hexagon as I feel it's not very beautiful because of the proportions, and it's a bit too tricky to fold. It's enjoyable to play with though. But it was my first try, I will improve myself :-)

Honestly the square is the easiest to fold, and it has the best looking in my opinion. Simple is always good!

The goal is to twist the layers to make nice shapes

I thought I had to make a video, sorry but I was alone to hold my smartphone on one hand and press the start button and twist the layers with my other hand...Not practical....

 If you were wondering, it's perfectly normal not to have perfect geometrical square or rectangle. There is always a little something that is "out" of the square for example, and it allows to have these kinetic origami with layers such like that. If you have a perfect square, the layers will be put each over the others and you won't have the same design. I prefer the ones I folded.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Havana box #4

Made and designed more than 2 years ago by Eric Fuller, this wooden trick box belongs to a series of 4 puzzles. The goal of each havana boxes is to open them to free the cigar (a real one!) which lies inside.

The fit is very precise and the grain of the wood used is just awesome! Judge by yourself:

Ok, now, what about the mechanism and difficulty?
Eric said that the difficulty increases even more for the next box, so #4 should be the most difficult one. Actually, maybe yes, maybe no, it's not easy to compare when you have not played with the other 3 :-)

What you clearly notice is that you can more some pannels on the top, but that not going to help you that much. Of course, it may be part of the solution, but Eric put more steps in this puzzle than a simple move! Honestly this is a challenging puzzle, but well after all you have to deserve the cigar (not being a smoker, I hope it won't turn out "badly". Will it, if it stays in the box?)!!

I tried many things and after some time and soar hands (...) I managed to free the cigar. Opening the box won't reveal the mechanism, but maybe you can still guess how it works inside.

I saw the solution and I must admit I did not solve with the intended solution and I managed to find a short-cut, with which I am pretty happy (and it works!!).
Have you solved yours with the intended solution?

In my mind this is a great puzzle to have in a puzzler's collection, for the design, the material used and the quality. Well, obviously the quality is very good (useful to mention that???) and it shows one more time the good craftmanship of Eric!

Which Havana box do you prefer? And why?

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