Saturday, 4 April 2020

I don't like this Osanori packing

Surprised?
Maybe!

Well, usually I love al the Osanori's packing puzzle: challenging, fun, rewarding, well made and well thought. What more do you want??

But this time I did not like so much one of his designs called Triangle Ring 3 that was recently released by Pelikan Puzzle Company.


It's not the fault of Pelikan but of the design itself. Let me explain !

First thing first, the quality is still perfect: the pieces slide smoothly, everyting is here to enjoy your puzzle experience. Did I mention that the wood is, as usual nice, and that most of the time your have the choice of the wood ?

So with all these positive things why did not I like this puzzle?

Well, as I said many times before packing puzzle with too many pieces are not fun but frustrating. This is also why I like the Osanori's packing: they are composed of "only" 3 pieces and still they are nice and challenging.
This one has 5 pieces....not fun but frustrating (my opinion). Too many possibilities ...definitely not fun. This is not a secret (if you count the "blocks" of each piece), but you will have one hole in your cube and this is not super easy to figure out where it should go. Indeed the final shape of the cube must not show any hole nor half-hole on its outter sides.

The other thing that bothered me a lot if the shape of the cage. It does not stand itself !!!!!!
So when you try to put pieces inside you also have to maintain the cage.
Definitely not practical at all !!!!!!



And even when the puzzle is solved it balances a bit on one corner. But again this is due to the design of this "unstable" puzzle.

So, as of now, I won't take any Osanori's packing with more than 3 pieces. And there is plenty left to be made with 3 pieces, so better to concentrate on these ones.

Now do I recommend this puzzle despite I did not like it?
YES!
Because the quality is very good and you must have plenty of time now at home to play with it :)
And it's still good to try it. And again my opinion is not yours, so you will probably enjoy more this puzzle than I did.

When looking at Pelikan Website, this puzzle is sold out. But there are still 2 Osanori's packing left available and you really should hurry to buy them (I liked them! lol)

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Get ready for more packing puzzles by Pelikan & Osanori !!

Quick spoiler: if you like Osanori packing puzzles, watch Pelikan Website because some are to be released soon!!

Note that most of the time, Pelikan sends the puzzle a bit packed. I mean, you won't be spoiled at all and it can even be a challenge to "unpack" them. Not sure if there are "shipping instructions" so that the puzzles are packed in such a way...
If anyone knows, please put a comment!!


This new one (the one I have solved so far) is called Triple 3.


3 weird pieces and a nice cage. Of course all the holes have to be filled with the pieces.

I managed to do 2 different "configurations" of the pieces. One was impossible to put inside the cage, the other one was possible, but was hard for me to see how to do.

So I started to put the pieces inside the cage and I quickly realized that there were more moves than what I expected :-)
This is also the fun part of these seemingly easy puzzles: how can an only 3-piece packing puzzle be challenging? And this is where you find all the genius ideas of Osanori !!

I must admit I had lot of fun solving this one and if you intend to take the other 2 packing by Osanori that will be released at the same time, then I would advise you to start with this one. In my mind, it is the easiest. The pieces danced in the cage during the solving process :-)

Remember to use all the properties of the cage to solve the puzzle....

About the difficulty, I would say that it is chalenging (like all Osanori's packing puzzles) but not super hard. It took my less than one hour, maybe less than 30 minutes? Hard to figure out the time when you're puzzling hahaha.



As usual, I love these packing puzzles!!

The other 2 will be tough I feel... some puzzling fun for sure !!


Monday, 9 March 2020

Some new cool puzzles & toy

Some new stuff arrived at home from Art of Play webshop company: some wooden puzzles and some toys.

So let's start with some wooden puzzles!

2 puzzles designed by Iwahiro: rectangular jam and pentangular jam.


Both consist of 4 pieces and among them 1 (the thinner one, which is also the one with a different color) that has to be freed from the small hole on a side of the puzzle.

Obviously you have to keep all the pieces flat on the tray. It looks impossible, doesn't it?
Well you will realize that several rotations are needed to solve the puzzle and to make them possible the size of each piece must be super precise. Else the rotations are impossible to make, and so the puzzle impossible to solve.

I must say that both puzzle check the box "perfect precision" :)

Start with rectangular jam puzzle, it's easier... not easy :)
I really like these "unconventional" puzzles, not the ones you're used to playing with.
They took my some time to solve and the solution is very nice!


Next is the famous packing puzzle designed by Iwahiro as well called "4 M" puzzle, consisting of a box with a protubing part under the lid and 4 pieces (with "M" shapes, hence de name of the puzzle).


This is a very clever packing and not super difficult (yet satisfaying to solve). I asked a friend of mine to solve it (he never plays with puzzles !!) and he managed to solve it. You will see that putting the pieces on a "normal" way does not give you the expected result. I mean, you have to think a bit outside the box to solve it. Mathematically interesting and fun to solve, this one is, in my opinion, one of the best examples of what a good puzzle is: challenging, but not too much, great design and clever solution!


The other packing puzzle from the same designer is Dango Box.
So far I have not solved it, but it seems super hard with, I am sure, a not so super difficult solution, but still a clever one!


The other puzzle is Bird in cage. It's what we know as "hedgehog puzzle", consisting of a shape (here a bird) trapped in a cage and the goal is to manipulate the bird so that it can go through the cage.
Usually, for these kind of puzzles, some space between some cage rods are larger, but it's hard to tell with the eyes. And for this one, the other thing to take into account are the wings of the bird: they can move. And that has an impact on the solution of course :)

I like these puzzles, and again they are suitable for any people, as long as they are gentle while manipulating the puzzles! You need to be gentle with birds :)


I told you about puzzle and toy, right? So final item is a toy! A shashibo cube!!
It can even been considered as a fidget toy. The goal is to create many geometric shapes by flipping and moving the magnetic parts. I managed to make some chapes (see below) but it took me a while to make the initial shape (the cube) again. So this was my puzzling part of the toy :)
Highly recommended!!




You an find other puzzles on Art of Play website as well as other toys as well.


Saturday, 8 February 2020

Ulule campaign: Mecanigma kit !!!

Ulule campaign NKD puzzle is coming soon !!!!!!!!

It will be launched Saturday 15th February !!

Main project will be a Mecanigma kit for way less money than the original puzzle (time's money!)


Trailer here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UuXFw6G6tE


Campaign here:
https://fr.ulule.com/la-mecanigma/

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Some pocket-sized metal puzzles

Here come 2 nice metal puzzles from Art of play webshop.

First is the famous YOT puzzle, a very beautifully made puzzle where you have to free the coin.
I am sure that seasoned puzzlers won't have any difficulties to open it while beginners may struggle a bit. So....I opened it easily :-)
However, I saw that you can open it very quickly without the people around you notice how you're doing it. And I think this may be the real challenge for experienced puzzlers: open it such as nobody notice the solution!
So far I can open the puzzle but I cannot handle that challenge. What about you? :)
I think it needs some practice:)






The second puzzle is the famous jack puzzle, here is smaller size. Well you have it under several possible names but the challenge is still the same and the design of the pieces as well.



Very easy to disassemble because when you take out one piece (the only moving piece) then the puzzle falls apart and the real challenge begins!
First, because it's not super easy to maintain the pieces in their respective position and then also because this is not obvious where you have to put such or such piece.
So even if this is a classic puzzle, it's still a nice and challenging one!


For metal lovers, then both puzzles are a nice addition to any collection and for the travellers, they are even better as you can carry them easily with you, which is pretty rare for puzzles!


You can find other metal puzzles (and wood puzzles as well) and the big brother of this small jack puzzle on Art of play webshop.

Have fun!


Saturday, 25 January 2020

Dice puzzle box

I don't review that many Karakuri puzzle boxes so a quick review to change that :)

Ok so it's about the Dice puzzle box designed and made by Kamei


The six sides of the cube have the digit 1 to 6 like on a normal dice. Should you roll it like a dice to open it? I let you figure out if you have it :)

The design is super great and as you expect from Karakuri works, the craftmanship is top to none!

To be honest it did not take me long time to solve it (well, most Karakuri are pretty easy puzzles anyway!) but the solution is very satisfaying! A bit frustrating at the same time as you cannot see the internals nor the mecanism and I would have loved to see it :-(


The puzzle works reliably and you need to make the complete reverse steps to really close it.
Basically I closed it and performed some steps and I was surprised it closed the puzzle. Great but....it could be opened by performing another move. So make sure to completely close it before handling to someone else to try it. You don't want to spoil the puzzle at all I am sure.

Kamei is one of my favourite Karakuri craftmen and so, considering the design, solution, etc, I can only advise to buy it.

This puzzle is Available at Art of Play who offers a wide selection of Karakuri puzzle boxes. Time to start a Karakuri collection!



Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Eggplant 1

This puzzle was part of a former release by Pelikan company and still designed by the famous Osanori


As usual, the puzzle is composed of 3 pieces and a cage to put the pieces inside. The fit is perfect and you should not have difficulties to put/pull/slide the pieces.

The big novelty with that puzzle is a rotation required to solve the puzzle. Basically this is not really a spoiler as you will soon notice that you cannot put all the pieces inside if you don't perform a rotation. Don't worry the rotation is not tricky and is easy to achieve!

The biggest challenge for me was to make the shape outside the cage (what I always do) sticking to the constraints of the box. Indeed, I managed to make a shape but each time, and disregarding the orientation of it, it could not be the right one...


Solved :)

When I finally managed to make what I considered (yes, I doubt about it because I could not put the pieces inside the box...) to be the correct shape, then I tried to put the pieces. When you know which rotation to make, and proceed step by step, normally you should manage to solve the puzzle. Of course it requires a bit of perseverance :)


I really like this one. Challenging but not frustrating. Original because of the shape of the box and because of the required rotation.

Definitely a must-have if you like these kind of puzzles!!

And as I said previously, I do hope that Pelikan will craft some other Osanori's packing puzzles.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Stable boy

Stable boy is an anti-slide packing puzzle recently made by Brian Menold and designed by George Sicherman.

First, what is an anti-slide packing puzzle? Well, the goal is to pack all the pieces in the tray so that no pieces at all move in any direction. So it is easy to see if you have solved or not the puzzle by simply moving the tray in the 4 directions.



So the 5 pieces need to be arranged in a special way, but not in a fetched way (so no pieces put diagonally!)
This is my first puzzle of that kind and I must admit I enjoyed it a lot. This is a challenging puzzle (it still did not take me days to solve though) and I am sure you will have fun with it. I tried several approaches: I tried to put the square piece on a specific spot in the tray and tried to see how the other pieces would be put to block one another. So it's also a puzzle where you have to analyse the several possibilities and if they can work or not.

The seemingly basic shapes of the pieces and the "normal" shape of the tray will deceive you and the solution is very nice. This is a puzzle that can be enjoyed by anyone.

By the way no force allowed nor necessary. If the space is almost but not enough big to put a piece, it just means you're allowed to put it. Precision is key for these kind of puzzles!

It work more or less, but this is not the solution!!


I highly advise you to buy this puzzle while there are copies left and I wish there will be more puzzles of this type in future Brian Menold's releases :)

You can buy the puzzle HERE


Saturday, 11 January 2020

Where is my hammer???

Where is my hammer?? (WIMH in the post) is not a real question. Who cares where it it actually....
It's the name of a wooden puzzle box made by an American guy, Dee (I will provide more info at the end of this post) who sells his nice puzzles through the well known etsy.

How many different wood species can you see?

The name of the puzzle has a funny story. It's pretty strange for a puzzle name indeed :)
Basically Dee asked his son to try the puzzle, he could not manage to solve it and asked for a hammer to solve it faster....solve? well it would be a pitty to destroy such beauty! Don't worry, you don't need a hammer to solve the puzzle!

Starting with the appearance of the puzzle, it looks a puzzle box (it is!) with a lid not completely closed, not completely opened....weird. And many wooden tiles on the lid and on 2 pannels of the box.
I need to point out that this is very very rare that a puzzle has so many wood species and if you love, like I do, wood species then you won't be disappointed. I don't know all the names but I can clearly recognize leopardwood which is one of my favourite wood. So if you cannot solve the puzzle, it's still a nice item to show :)
It's a puzzle box but also a sequencial discovery puzzle as you will find tools to use along your journey.


So the goal is to open the puzzle, I won't show a picture of the solved puzzle as it spoils many things. So I will stick to describing my difficulties to open it lol.
I did not have too many difficulties to find the first steps and got soon some tools.Think about this sentence when you're at these steps: "appear/disappear" lol
Then was the difficult part (for me. I know people who had difficulties for the first steps!). I could not figure out how to progress on the next step at all.
Amazing!
I tried something which did not get me further (but that was a good idea!!), I just could not do it....hard to say without spoiling.
After some pain I could manage to accomplish the hard step and then I immediately knew what I needed to do and then it opens!!! well I opened it...


In my opinion, this is a challenging puzzle and some (or maybe all?) steps will puzzle you for some time! In addition, as I said earlier, it's a very nice puzzle. I can only recommend to grab one while Dee still makes them. He also crafts other puzzles and I am sure he will be pleased to make you something that suits your puzzle tastes.

You can find Dee on etsy HERE
You can also search for the keyword on etsy: DEDWoodCrafts




Wednesday, 1 January 2020

The smart eggs serie

So far I have not really seen blogs speaking about these nice puzzles called the smart eggs. There all in plastic consisting of an egg with an internal maze and a stick. The goal is to put the stick in the hole on the top of the egg and free it from the bottom hole of the egg...no pun or dirty meanings intended! :-)


There are several eggs in the series with an increasing difficulty. I advise to start with the easiest so that you can see how you have to play with it and how the moves are done. Basically you put the stick on one hole and usually you have to slide the stick to reach another hole and so on until you solve completely the puzzle.

Of course for the easiest eggs the internal maze is easy but when you reach a certain level of difficulty you will realize that the internal maze is more complicated and there are more holes as well. For some eggs there are not a lot of hole but it is because you will have to move the stick several time inside the egg to finally reach a hole.

Process of solving below




I don't have the specific material to make a video so I will just put some youtube links I found. It shows the solving process for some easiest eggs, so spoilers included! It allows you to better understand (if my explanation was not clear lol) how to play with them.

HERE and HERE



To be honest I did not have difficulties to solve these eggs. It just took me a bit more time for the most advanced eggs and also for one egg that the internal maze was not cut super super "clean". I mean I needed to use a sligh amount of force. Still all the maze are very nicely made. I did not have any issues when playing with them and I did not break any sticks nor any eggs!!

So far I have spoken about the "static" eggs. But there are also 3 bigger eggs, which are also the most difficult in the whole series, that involve a movable core. This makes the eggs even more difficult to solve because you have to take into consideration more parameters to solve them.
The thing that I like is that for these 3 eggs, the stick is in metal, it's clever because maybe with plastic stick they could break if you move the core a bit too hard....


I still need to solve these 3 beast!


In my mind, the series of smarteggs are in the same spirit of the hanayama puzzles: they are collectible and fun.
I like them a lof and I let friends play with them and they had great time. So very suitable for puzzlers and non-puzzlers! I like the way they look and I keep them in their original packing to display them. I don't really see the goal of the base provided with each puzzle because you're not going to play with the base (they are not magnetic) and I am not sure you will display the eggs on their base and you would prefer displaying them in their packaging.



You can find these eggs HERE