Saturday, 29 December 2018


Time to review a new kind of puzzle!
Designed and made by Ilya Osipov, this puzzle got an honorable mention at past IPP in San Diego (2018).

The puzzle is made out of 3D material and obviously magnets!

The goal is to have all the magnets in the center like in the picture on the right.
You have 2 kind of moves: one is to rotate the 2 inner parts, the other move is to rotate the halves of the puzzles. After scrambling the puzzle, you will get magnets pointing in many direction, and now the fun begins!!!

I like a lot the noise of the magnets, the "clicking sound" each time your rotate something.

So this puzzle is like a twisty, but more fun. I like the look, and the puzzle is bigger than what I expected. It seems solid as well. So normally you can let your friends play with it.

No algorithm exists yet, and I hope one will be created. It's like rubix's cube: without algorithm it's not possible to solve. But....for this one, Ilya said that a person should be able to solve it under 2 hours, by just rotating again and again.
And he is quite right. For me it's took probably around 30 minutes (definitively less than 2 hours) to solve the puzzle. I had no strategy at all, I tried to elaborate one but I failed. But at some point, I came up with a solved puzzle!
However, again it would be nice to be able to solve it faster with an algorithm.
And a good idea would be to make like a "pro-auzzle", a professional version for speed solving ;)

If you want your auzzle, you can contact Ilya: HERE

There is also a mathematical demonstration HERE with a youtube link as well in case you're wondering about the moves ad the clicking sound, don't expect to understand anything as it's in Russian haha

Ilya's facebook can be found HERE

Monday, 24 December 2018

Jon Keegan is your new metal puzzle designer!

This is a great news for the metal puzzle collectors!
Overall, most puzzles that are released are in wood and not a lot in metal, this is going to change!

Jon Keegan has submitted 2 puzzles for the design puzzle competition in San Diego (in 2018) and he did not receive a prize (but should have received!!). Among them was the Jewel Thief puzzle which is a massive take-apart puzzle.

Jon will sell 3 puzzles:
-tumbler (100 USD)
-double tumbler (140 USD)
-Jewel Thief (450 USD)

The tumbler puzzles are improved versions of the cylinder puzzle designed by Strijbos, with additional features and a nice color.
The Jewel Thief is a totally new puzzle with nice features, using a lego guy as a thief to release. And it's limited to only 100 puzzles, don't miss it!! ;)

Jon can send you the flyer he made (with some more detailed precision about the puzzles, and a surprise at the end). Just ask him by email by clicking HERE.
I do advise you to be quick if you want the puzzles (you need them for your collection anyway hahaha), because they will be sold out fast.

Jon created some nice wooden boxes!

Jon is the new Strijbos, I am sure he will design some more wonderful puzzles.
So far I cannot be more precise regarding the puzzles (except saying that they are very nicely made with stunning design and color anodization), but I intend to make a complete review a bit latter after playing more with the puzzles.

Merry puzzling X-mas to you & your family !!! :)

Monday, 3 December 2018

Neat lock

This lock was an exchanged puzzle from IPP 23 by Peter Hajek.

It's supposed to be an old mechanism (so not something new), but old mechanism does not mean bad!

And this is so neat that Peter decided to exchange it. Let me tell you that turning the key again and again will result in...nothing special :)

The main difficulty is that you cannot see the mechanism. To be honest, I managed to solve it several times but I am still unsure about how it looks from the inside...

With a pretty unusual keyhole you have plenty space to try and turn the key inside. No banging is necessary.
Your only hint is a slight click sound. Maybe this is useful?....


Wednesday, 21 November 2018


A new kind of hedgehog puzzle!!!!!
Let me introduce the HEXAHOG

Designed and made by Rademic puzzle company in Czech Republic, this puzzle has 2 challenges: you need to free a piece and you need to build up a cage. Double challenge for more puzzling fun :)

The original thing is the shape of the hedgehog. See it does not have any spikes. It's "just" an geometrical shape...not sure of the name though. No spike does not mean it's easier. Indeed you have many holes and many orientations of the piece...
Can anyone count the possibilities??? :)

With a bit of trial and errors you will  solve this first challenge, that still took me a bit of time.

Try to make a picure of the "secret" entrance when the piece is freed, so that you can remember how to restart the puzzle. Anyway the piece is easier to manipulate when it's outside rather than when it's inside the cage :)

Now the second challenge...!!

So you have many pieces and the goal is to make a cage around the existing cage.

Honestly this is very difficult because many possibilities and positions of the pieces. I did cheated and even with the solution you have 2 difficulties: to recognize the pieces and follow the solution picture and the other difficulty is that the pieces may crumble when you're building up the uper ring of pieces. So a solution is to have a friend helping you. Or putting an elastic ruber band on the base to maintain the pieces. Or even puting in the center like a paper rolled so that the pieces cannot fall inside. Try to figure out the best way :-)

So in my opinion, a very nice puzzle not for the faint of heart. I wish the locking mechanism of the pieces for the cage could have been stronger to avoid the pieces to crumble and to cary the solved puzzle without fearing that timelapse the puzzle crumble ;)

You can find it on Puzzle Master!

Thursday, 1 November 2018

The best packing puzzles

I will write several reviews in the same spirit in the weeks/months to come. This is only my point of view, so you may disagree.

In my mind, packing puzzles are boring and can be too difficult if the goal is just to put a lot of pieces in a tray. What's the fun?....
For me a good packing puzzle does not need a lot of pieces, but needs a good idea and clever steps. Most of the time with just 3 or 4 pieces you can have a very enjoyable puzzle with a challenging level.

So I will put below some puzzles that I like and that are worth playing with. I won't rank them, because it would be a bit difficult for me to say which is the best and which is the less good. For some of them, I may have written a review, for some other I will do so in the future. But ayway, I will put some pictures with quick explanations.

So let go with a selection of 10 nice packing puzzles!!

1. String octet
Designed by Goh Pit Khiam / Made by Brian Menold
The goal is to pack the pieces but you have to draw a continuous line and of course if you reverse the pieces you have another path.
Many challenges and the challenges are far from being easy. A very good puzzle(s)!

2. No holes barred
Designed by Laszlo Molnar / Crafted by Brian Menold
The goal is to pack the pieces inside the box. But you will have to make some rotations and see the box has something unusual. Laszlo designed several puzzles in the same spirits. Both are very enjoyable and challenging.

3. Pack 3
Designed by Osanori Yamamoto
This embodies the parfect packing puzzle with only 3 pieces (and the wood is wonderful by the way). The goal is not to pack the 3 pieces (which is easy) just in the box but to pack them so that no holes are visible like in the picture on the right. Many moves, this is definitely a nice and challenging puzzles. Be careful, something looking too easy has usually many hidden tricks :)

4. Pin block case
Designed by Hajime Kastumoto
Only 4 pieces to pack, but see there are pins (so grooves on the reverse side of the pieces). A very enjoyable puzzle, with several moves

 5. 4L puzzle
Designed by Yasuhiro Hashimoto / Crafted by MINE
The puzzle with only 4 pieces gave a lof of puzzling frustration to many puzzlers. Inside you have a lot (!) of moves to fit the pieces inside the box and the plexi is not here to help you :)
This is a very very good puzzle!

6. Slide packing
Designed by Hajime Katsumoto / Crafted by MINE
It has 4 pieces to fit into this sliding box. What is very interesting is that first it's a sliding box. Then the shape of the pieces look pretty basic. Then the solution is just super nice. This puzzle has a brother called "penta in a box" designed by the same guy. And it has a very nice solution as well.
Very well made, nice solution, it's a must-have!

7. Chain store
Designed by Goh Pit Khiam / Crafted by Tom Lensch
A very unusual packing puzzle, not overly difficult but still challenging

8. Stumbling block
Designed by Goh Pit Khiam / Crafted by Tom Lensch
4 pieces to pack. Not super difficult but still challenging, I am sure that you were amazed (if you have ever played with it) by the sequence of moves. Seriously, you will have you "aha-moment"!!
It has some brothers: road blocks, number blocks. All super nice

9. Magnet mania!
Designed and crafted by Chris Morgan
The goal is to pack the 9 magnets in the holes. I managed to solve it in the not intended way (but I was very lucky). But the official solution is so clever, that you have to still try it. Challenging and interesting mathematical properties

10. One piece packing
Designed and made by Simon Nightingale
The only one packing puzzle with one piece to pack. And this is not an easy puzzle. As you will notice you have magnets. So there are many ways to pack the piece inside (24 if I am not wrong) and you will probably forget what you have done and so try the same configuration several times :)
I really wonder how it's crafted...

Monday, 17 September 2018

Jigsaw puzzle 29

This seemingly innocent puzzle was designed and crafted by Yuu Asaka for IPP design competition in San Diego (2018) and it received a prize!

Many times I wonder why such or such puzzle receives a prize because in my mind it's not deserved. I mean, all puzzles are usually nice, but most of the time (if not always....) the jury committee does not choose puzzles that really deserves to be awarded!!! What's going on in their head?....

So I was thinking: "why the hell did this jigsaw puzzle received a prize"?....until I got one and started to play with it :)

Ok so first it looks very nice: the colors are well choosen.
Then the cuts are very precise and you won't need to use any force at all. I was worried with that point because it can be tricky with plexi puzzles....

Now the serious part, and why in my mind it's a good (and then why it obtained a prize) puzzle: you won't solve it in a "conventional way".
I mean, usually with jigsaw puzzles you know how to start, right? Do the same thing (yes, please do!) won't lead to anywhere and so you will soon realize that you will have to think way more!!
And yes you need to pack all the pieces flat inside the tray :-)

This puzzle is very difficult and could only come from a crazy devilish puzzle designer's mind ;-)

With many possibilities and pieces that have the same color, this puzzle will puzzle you for long time.
With a low price, this is clearly worth the money.

Did I said that Yuu is from Japan and Japan has the best postal service in the world?...Yes it already happened that I got a package 4 days after it's been mailed. Impressive!!

You can check Puzzle Master webshop to get your copy. Maybe you will get too much frustrated and need the solution?

Friday, 7 September 2018

IQ Lolly

IQ Lolly series is designed by Patrick Chan, a Hongkonger who claims that he is always inspired by young people.
This nice looking sliding puzzle has been designed, crafted and presented by Patrick for the IPP design competition 38 (2018) held in San Diego.

What about the look: this is a really nice looking puzzle and guess what? It's made with 3D printers and the quality is, in my mind, stunning. It's indeed very smooth.

The goal of this puzzle is to scrambled the numbers by pushing/pulling/turning the rod and then revert to the initial position.
3 levels of difficulty: the more numbers you have, the more difficult the puzzle is, of course!

The nice features of the puzzle: when you push and release then it's goes in the "middle" position. Same if you pull and release the rod. It's like the cutting corner technique of the famous rubix's cube: it's a way to be faster to solve the puzzle.
Also if you don't turn completely the rod of a turn, there is a little somthing that prevent from screwing up the puzzle (pushing/pulling if the numbers are not horizontally aligned). See below:

When playing with the Lolly you will notice that you cannot turn 2 times on the same way (I mean 2 times clockwise or counter-clockwise).
So far I am not super fast to push/turn/pull, but I think this is just a matter of practice :)

How to solve the puzzle you may ask? Well there are algorithms (see again a common point with the rubix's cube) to rearrange the numbers and several steps to be performed.
Easy if you follow the steps. Way more difficult if you try to discover them...

A nice video of Patrick's skills to solve: HERE

I am not that used to sliding puzzles, not even with 3D printed sliding puzzles and I must admit I like it a lot. Consider asking Patrick a copy of it. I suggest to go with the easiest level ;) Don't be a fool!!

The IQ Lolly comes in 7 different colors: you can see HERE the website (it's still under construction but gives you an idea of the colors.

Did I say that there are some Easter eggs to discover? Patrick mention that on the solution he sends. So far, I have not idea about what they are....

EDIT: I found the 2 Easter eggs. Nice!

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Coke bottle in a row

You know the guy and his famous metal puzzles? You may also know his bottle puzzles I am sure.
But did you see so many bottles???

7 coke bottles linked with a long rod and locked on each side and inside!!

A lot of care is needed to handle that. First because it's fragile. Then because if you hold the puzzle on each side you apply pressure in the middle of the rod. It would be a pitty to destroy such a beauty:)

You can unlocked the 2 locks on each side, but how to unlock the inside locks?...

You don't have acces to them with your fingers....probably no tools are allowed....

Seriously I am (b)locked... :-(

Any idea?

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Soma tube

Laszlo Molar did it again! Brian Menold crafted it again!!  :-)

Derived from the famous soma cube, this puzzle is this time a tube! I feel that the some cube is so famous that it still gives a lot of idea from designer who enjoy transforming this common puzzle into weird and more difficult puzzles, like this some tube!

Well it's also a restricted puzzle. I am not a big fan of restricted puzzle because it can be difficult to manipulate the pieces making your puzzling experience more a dexterity challenge and less fun.
However with this one, I did not have these kind of difficulties.
With seemingly basic pieces, how hard can it be?
Well, there are a lot of possibilities but only one solutions and let me tell you this is quite challenging!!!
However I managed to solve it (and it did not take me month), maybe I just had the right idea at the right moment, who knows...

My method with these kind of puzzles is the following: try to make a final shape (here a tube) with the puzzles outside of its box. Then try to take pieces off the shape one by one, while looking at the box and if the shape was in the box if the piece you're taking off could really be taken off the box. The continue until the final piece. And then do that in the reverse order to put the pieces in the box.
If the shape you're making does not "suite" the box, then first turn the shape. If it's does not work, make another shape with the pieces.

Usually you have several possibilities to make the shape with the pieces. The real challenge it to put the pieces inside the box.

As usually with Laszlo's puzzle, you will have sliding and rotating moves.

This is again really clever and I really enjoyed it. Buy it if you like packing puzzles that have a little something extra and if you like Lazslo's puzzle and Brian's craftmanship :)

I just have a little worry with the puzzles that use plexi: if the plexi cracks or breaks, then how can you replace it....
I do think puzzle makers who use plexi should find a way to let the solver take out the plexi. Maybe by dividing the box into 2 and using magnets (of course that would increase the final price, but maybe less than shipping the puzzle back to the craftman for repairement....)

Sunday, 20 May 2018

PI box by Jesse Born

Another very nice wooden puzzle designed and crafted by Jesse Born!

Jesse updated often his facebook page (and no need to have facebook to follow his progress) about how this puzzle crafting was going on.

I must admit that he is the only puzzle maker who is doing that and I am sure people appreciate a lot (well, I did) to see his progress and issues when there were some. I feel completely like being part of the project.

This puzzle is called the PI box puzzle, the goal is to move the parts on the top and open the box.
Easy? Not that sure...

Quick words about the design: this is a big puzzle, be sure to have some space! And it's a really wonderful puzzle. It must take long time to craft one, imagine the time spent on crafting 50 as he did....!!! 

About the difficulty, this is not an easy puzzle, but it should be manageable. Just ask yourself about the name of the puzzle as it can give you clues.... :-)

You should consider to get this puzzle if there are some left and of course if you have the money. It's not cheap at all. But the quality is worth it.
Just have a look at his website and still tunned for his next puzzles !!!

Thursday, 10 May 2018


Designed by Carl Hoff and awarded during a puzzle party, this puzzle is a ring puzzle and seems to look like an hanayama puzzle, but obviously the quality is much better!!

It is made by Jeff, a puzzle ring maker who lives in Asia.

Regarding the quality, seriously Jeff has made a super great job!!
First, it does not look like a cheap puzzle at all, especially because it's made of top quality material: silver. But you can also choose other material like gold. Thenk you don't see where the rings went through each other before the finishing.

In the webshop you can order several size. I chose the biggest (the price is the same) because I don't intend to wear it but keep it with my other puzzles and I think it's much easier to play with a bigger puzzle than a "normal size" ring...but it's up to you!

About the difficulty, this is super easy to take it apart....reassembling is a difficult challenge. As of now, it's still in 5 pieces.... ;)
And I am not super good at this kind of puzzle, but well I will keep on trying.

Either you're a ring lover or you like metal puzzle or you want to ask your other half his/her hand you have to get this puzzle. And if you're all at the same time, then don't hesitate!!
I really like the small box where Jeff put the puzzle, it's a nice display and protect well the puzzle.

And if you want something more customized, just ask Jeff ;-)

What is your favourite puzzle ring??

Tuesday, 20 March 2018


Maybe the reason was I did not publish any review recently was because I did like the loris, sleep a lot....?

Well, ok the name Loris is the name of a puzzle box made in corian bu Frank Chambers and exchanged at IPP 23.
This is a massive puzzle, big and heavy and probably the biggest Chambers'.

Pretty unusual to have the warning written on a puzzle. Here it's very clear: no banging/no force of any kind. Indeed you could break the mechanism!!!

Talking about the mechanism, this one is very unique. I have never seen it in any puzzle. It's not a trick at all, but a real mechanism. It's so clever that you cannot imagine what it's really unitil you've opened the puzzle (gently, of course!). Then you can deduce, this is a pretty difficult puzzle.

Patience is required and you should be able to open the box at some point. The name of the puzzle is (supposed?...) to be a hint.

If you see it somewhere, I really advise to buy it. It's not only a nice puzzle but also a nice mechanism.

Obviously I cannot show the solved state as it would completely spoil the puzzle....

Monday, 29 January 2018


A pretty old puzzle designed by Doug Haigh and crafted by Bits&Pieces which goal is to get the diamond and free the metal ring.

The diamond can be obtained by removing the metal top above the plexi part, but this is not the intended way to do that.

This is a pretty small puzzle but with a nice sequence of steps. I like when many things are hidden in small puzzles. That means you don't need to have super big puzzles in order to have a sequencial discovery puzzle! :-)

While not extremmely difficult, it's still a nice challenge, especially for beginners. But even a seasoned puzzler will find it nice and would need it in its collection.

I am wondering if this puzzle has ever been made by a famous craftman or only by Bits&Pieces. Any clue?

Monday, 22 January 2018

Newton's egg

A nice puzzle designed and made by Stephen Chin, this Newton's egg obeys to the 3rd Newton's law.
The wood choosen is very nice and stand up on a nice display. Well for this kind of puzzles, you'd better have a display stand :-)
The cuts on the eggs are nicely made and look "real".

Like all or almost all Chin's puzzles, this one is not super difficult but will still puzzle you a bit of time. And like all his puzzles, the mechanism is not super complicated, but very efficient and well designed!

So far, I have not seen such a "mechanism" implemented in a puzzle and I liked a lot the way of solving it. And it's easy to repeat!

This is an egg(cellent) puzzle :)

Thursday, 11 January 2018


Aroma is a puzzle designed and exchanged by Iwahiro for IPP 30 in Japan. It consist of a black plastic cage and 3 pieces that need to be put inside.
Note that the shape of the pieces is pretty unusual.

So only 3 pieces, easy? Well yes and no. Yes because you will soon realize how to do, but no because you cannot see if you're doing the proper alignment of the pieces.

As many Iwahiro's puzzle, co-motion will be used!

My technique was to assemble the pieces outside the cage and see how they can be put (but "expanding" them) inside. The fit is perfect, you need precision to solve it!
You just need to understand who the pieces interact. Needless to say that it's very easy to free the pieces outside of the cage. The real challenge is to put them inside again.

In my opinion this is a nice puzzle because it's not big and can be carried out easily. It's for anybody and due to its material it can be played by even a non puzzler as he won't damage it :-)

And regarding the difficulty I would say medium because I am sure that you won't automatically manage to solve it and each time it will take you a bit of time to do it again.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Repair the cube

When nice puzzles are sold out too fast and are not available anymore at the webshop of the seller, don't cry!
Just try to find out other ways to get it, for example in resellers' webshops. I mentioned in a previous post a nice webshop: art of play. And I found this puzzle from them!

This seemingly easy (you're going to be fooled!) puzzle was designed by Andrey Ustjuzhanin crafted and released by Eric Fuller on June 2017.

The puzzle is only composed of 3 pieces, well the cage and 2 complicated pieces. The goal is to use the 2 moving pieces to repair the cube, a cube with a lot of holes by the way.
The puzzle is shipped assembled, maybe because it's safe during the shipping.

Nice woods!!

Normally you should have not too many difficulties to disassemble the puzzle because there are no really dead-ends. It's pretty straight forward. Just move pieces and if it stops, try to move the other one. And after several moves you should disassemble the puzzle. Note that I don't say "solve" because solving the puzzle is repairing the cube :-)

I can only advise you to take pictures of the puzzle while you're solving it. It will surely help you if you're blocked. Obviously repairing the cube is way more difficult as you have several possibilities to put the pieces. Oh did I mention there was a small rotation?.... :-)

It's not because a puzzle does not have a lot of pieces that it's easy to solve. Proof with this one!

I can only advise you to buy it from art of play while it's still available. And I can recommand to buy wunder bar puzzle from them as well. This is a very nice puzzle! You won't regret your purchase.