Thursday, 25 February 2016

Dipole dilemma

Designed by Chris Morgan and made by Walter Hoppe, this puzzle consists of some magnetic balls and a tray where you have to place all these balls. This is a 11 year-old puzzle, but it's still in perfect condition and works as expected!

First impressions: I like a lot the design. The fact that the balls are put in a circle let me know "what a nice puzzle" and also you're provided with a plastic case. So you can bring this puzzle safely with you, it also allows you to keep the puzzle in the solved state if you want to.

The "dipole" word is easy to understand: some balls will be attracted by others, some will not. Then why a "dilemma"? Because you have to fit all these balls inside the square, completely flat!

Perhaps you have an idea how it should fit, and if so that's a very good first step! But then you will have to implement your idea, which is far from being easy...

I cannot put the puzzle in the solved state, because it would show you already how the puzzle should look like once solved. I can tell you that it's a challenging puzzle. And it's not buy putting all the magnets together and then "crush" them to make the shape flat, that you will be able to put them completely flat in the tray. It's not about brute fore ;-)
I heard about 2 solutions, but there is only one official, so if anybody is willing to share the second solution that would be great :-)

This puzzle will provide you with a lot of fun, who doesn't like to play with magnets?? But again take care, these are powerful magnets, they can pinch!...

Not a lof of magnet puzzles are released and I feel it's a pitty because they are always fun to play with. I have already reviewed another Chris Morgan's and my latest review was about the enigma orbs, which are both magnet puzzles. I hope Chris will come up with new ideas, but I also hope that some designers would release these kind of puzzles!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Enigma orbs

I published some time ago a "review" (actually it was more advertising than reviewing) about a puzzle made of concrete and magnets designed by Aaron Olivas and funded via kickstarter.

Aaron has started since some time the production of them and has shipped many. So now it's time to speak about the puzzle! ;-)

To remind you, the goal is to assemble the different pieces (that have magnets) in order to make a ball shape. The balls are available in different size, but I would recommand the biggest ball, because the medium ball (mine) is not so difficult. And the smallest ball may be even easier.

The puzzles are made of concrete, which is very unusual for making puzzles!! When you order yours, you can make different versions because you can choose the colors of the stains and of the glass pieces. So many many possibilities!! Actually you have 42 combo possible.

The finish is very handsome and very soft in the hands and the construction is pretty solid (does not fall apart) once it's completely assembled (the magnets are powerful enough).

The pieces have strange shapes and, in my opinion, are pretty original. Due to that and to the poles of the magnets you can make a "wrong" start. Indeed some pieces seem to fit together (because of the magnets and of the shapes of them), but then after you notice that you cannot do anything else with some remaining pieces. Thus, back to the starting point!

After you have started to assemble some pieces, then it's a bit "trial-and-error", and pretty straight forward: you try all the remaining pieces, if they fit or not. That's why I rank the difficulty as pretty easy. But, even given that, I feel it's a very nice and fun puzzle to play with!

You can also buy several orbs with different sizes and assemble them like the Russian dolls, but with always one piece not assembled, so that to be able to see the different layers. I think this can be very nice!

Now I need a base for the orb :-)

HERE you can see the kickstarter project in case you missed it, and contact Aaron if you're interested in purchasing any orbs!

Thursday, 11 February 2016


Alcyl, also known as Aluminium cylinder or Blue cylinder is a metal puzzle designed by Iwahiro.

The goal is obviously to open the cylinder!

Nice anodized blue
I heard many people who had issues with this puzzle or who has jammed it. Actually it can happen with this puzzle (it did not happen to me, luckily) if you use force and/or if you do not understand what you're doing! Remember what Strijbos usually says "there is no hurry, take your time" :-)

That's definitely not a puzzle that will keep you puzzling for hours, unless you blocked it...then your next challenge is to unblock it.
I solved it very quickly and was a bit disapointed by the "mechanism" which can easily be damaged, which leads to a jammed puzzle...

I wished the puzzle was a bit more challenging, but still if you collect Iwahiro's puzzles and/or metal puzzles, then this is a nice addition to your collection (for a not too expensive price).
For the guys who are looking for challenging puzzles, then it's not the puzzle you need!

It seems flat, but it's really a cylinder :-)

What's your favourite cylinder puzzle?

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Bon bons #2 & #3

For those who collect wooden puzzles and/or puzzle boxes, then you know about which designer these puzzles come from: Perry McDaniel! Who else?

I have already reviewed the previous Bon bons puzzles, but without any review of the last 2, the review of the Bon bons puzzles would not be complete ;-)

Bon bons #2 and #3 on the top row
I really like these nice and small puzzles, because all the moves are very well hidden thanks to the great and precise job Perry did.

These 2 puzzles take more moves than the first two.

About Bon bons #2, the first move is very well hidden, I like it a lot, then you need to discover the next steps. I find the moves a little bit tight compared to the very smooth moves of Bon bons #2.
The colors of this puzzles fit well together.

About Bon bons #3, this is the most difficult puzzles of the Bon bons: there are a lot of moves, and each move is a very small move (like 1mm) and thus the moves are pretty tight. But the quality is nonetheless very good!

If I would rank the Bon bons puzzles, my favourite would be #1 and my less favourite would be #3.

Perry crafted the cake puzzles and the Bon bons puzzles. Maybe next puzzles will be the pie puzzles, or another puzzle cake from the "Puzzled guy bakery" ;-)