Monday, 13 July 2020

Her Key To The Treasure

A new lock by the genius Sashko, designer and maker of the Titan Lock.

This time, it's still a lock to open and a new story:

Recently Titan found his previous treasure, but unfortunately his wife is still unable to find the key to her treasure. The last thing she remembers is that she put the key in her purse

So basically you have to open her purse, which is actually the lock :)

Same as before: no force, be gentle and everything should all be ok.

The lock is a bit bigger than the previous puzzle lock and has a nice shape. It's also a sequencial discovery puzzle that will puzzling you!

Ok so what do you have? Only a key? Ok so the key, something you can insert it, fully or not, sometimes not....What's going on??
Turning does not do anything...

I had a good idea (which appears latter that it's part of the solution, but still there are several official solution to open, some are nicer than others), but I did not know it was a great idea hahaha....I just try things. When you're blocked and puzzled, that is just the only thing you can do !

After a bit of time I opened the lock and found the key to her treasure ! A nice little key...hope Titan won't break it :)

What I like with this lock is the nice story, the lock and the solution for sure and also the nice display. It has to be mentioned because this is so rare to have a diplay for puzzle. This one is a 3D printed stand that you have to assemble (only 2 parts).

I also like the original shape of the lock and of the parts like the shape of the keys and tools.

It did not take me as long as the Titan Lock to open this one, it was less painful for my mind and fingers haha.

To be truly honest I prefer the Titan puzzle but don't get me wrong you always have a favourite puzzle among your favourite ones, that does not make the others bad. And I don't consider my personal tastes as a universal truth :)

So, do I advise this lock? Definitely !!!
Buy one while Sashko still makes them and don't forget to add the Titan Lock as well, you do need both, after all they belong to the same story.

To buy the lock, you can go to the Etsy page of the designer HERE

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Cast rotor

Up for the review is a toughie! A level-6 cast puzzle from hanayama called "the cast rotor".

It consists of 2 "rotors" that dance around each other during the solution process. Both rotor have a notch in the center on both side and have 3 holes. You will have to manipulate the rotors many times to solve the puzzle. Actually the solution indicates that it requires around 30 steps to solve....scary! ....but you're more prone to make way more moves (I am sure I did more than 100 haha).

Basically you have several possible moves: you can use the notch, you can rotate the rotors close to each other and in each other.

Honestly you cannot really solve the puzzle by thinking, you will solve the puzzles at some point.
In fact you cannot predict more than 30 moves. Then, you will proably get confused and do some moves and then few moves later be back to your starting point. This is why this is definitely a level 6!!

The words "rotor" written on both rotor will help you either to solve the puzzle using the solution or reassemble the puzzle with the solution (sorry, but yes I did reassemble the puzzle with the solution and I am not ashamed at all ! I want a proper starting point if I want to solve again the puzzle! and I really advise you to use the solution to reassemble the puzzle).

This is a cleverly designed puzzle but also nicely crafted as it requires precise tolerances. No force need. If it does not go through a notch, you should not force it. Be gentle !!

After spending hours and hours rotating the...rotors, I finally found an unsuspected move (that is needed to solve the puzzle). This was clearly my "ah-ha" moment. And in this moment you clearly notice that if the puzzle was badly manufactured, then this move could not have been made possible (with an impossible puzzle to solve at the end!).
Still, this move did not reall helped me to solve the puzzle, but I made some progress and at some point I solved the puzzle!

Finally !!

This is really a very cleverly designed puzzle and a tough one if you like challenges!

Even if I am pretty proud of having solved a hard cast puzzle, I am not super kind of these level 6 for several reasons: pretty hard to solve and mostly you will solve them with luck.
Secondly, you're not probably willing to have a second try to solve the puzzle once you've already solved it before. Personally I prefer trying to solve again some lower level of cast puzzle as I am sure that I will be able to reassemble them and I can show the solution quickly to friends (which is impossible for this puzzle hahaha).

One more time, I am sorry but I don't like the "new" packaging of the cast puzzles. The previous packing were way better to display the puzzle as you could see it....! I am sure they changed because it must have been too costly....

Do I advise this puzzle? Hell yes !!

You can find the resellers of this puzzles on eureka website HERE.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Some wonderful puzzle boxes

Recently I received some puzzle boxes from Transylvanyart puzzle company, which is based in Romania and crafts exquisite puzzle boxes.

Several things needs to be mentioned. As you can see from the below image, the boxes are carved (manually, good to say, because more and more puzzles are only CNC machined nowadays...) with nice patterns and vernished to give a glossy finish of the puzzle. So it's definitely a puzzle that you should not be ashamed of and show proudly among your collection !!

And depending on the space you have, you can choose between several boxe sizes, but in any case all have the same mechanism.

So let's talk about the mechanism. Several steps are required to open the boxe, none require excessive force. Ok so if I say "excessive" you may think that it still requires force? Well, some parts are especially designed and made to be tight, else the puzzle would solve by itself....and you would be spoiled completely.  So you have to keep on trying you first ideas to see if something can move.
And what is also a good point of having some tight part is that you cannot clearly see where are the pieces that should move.
Even if it did not take me long to solve, it was a pleasant journey.
Please don't bang the puzzle: no magnets are involved :)

You will see a surprise inside the box, well, not really inside...but you will see what I mean. Something that can be useful ;-)
These puzzle boxes can be used also as nice storage for little things: there is enough space inside to put things, and trust me the best way to offer them as presents is to put something really nice inside. It just adds some more motivation to keep on trying to open the boxes.

For a seasoned puzzler, solving these puzzles should not take so long, but for a totally newbie it should be a tough challenge!

Out of the 4 puzzles is one different: the book. It "opens" in an unconventional way...I mean not like a real book, and is satisfaying to solve. It requires fewer steps than the puzzle boxes, but has the same top quality finish as its brothers and sisters.

You can find the puzzles on amazon or etsy.

But be warned about something: the pictures show (in my mind) several steps of how to open the boxes. So if your goal is to give them away as presents to friends, don't mention the name of the company nor the website links. And if it's for you, be quick and buy them without paying attention too much to the pictures (just enough to be able to choose a color you want, but this is it!)

Saturday, 4 April 2020

I don't like this Osanori packing


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?
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:

Campaign here:

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 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.
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 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.


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