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There's nothing better than to start the new year with a puzzle review from my favorite designer, Jean Claude Constantin, of course. The first review of 2013 is for his packing puzzle Drachenflieger, which literally means "hang-glider", given the triangular shape of the pieces.
The puzzle appears to have six pieces, but it's actually only three pairs of triangles that are just glued at different angles. All three pieces are dissimilar and double-sided, giving you twice as much possibilities. As for solutions though, I believe there's only one if you don't count rotations.
The design is simple, but quite elegant. The tray is a perfect circle made from what appears to be plain MDF, and the pieces, made from a stronger type of wood, have this dark tone that makes a nice contrast with the MDF. Its dimensions are 13 x 13cm (5.1").
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Sadly, the puzzle comes already packaged in its solved state, which is bad if you want to solve it without any clues. Fortunately though, once you remove the pieces and shuffle them a bit, it won't be an easy task getting them to fit inside the frame again. This is rated by PuzzleMaster as a level 8/10, and I completely agree. How can only three pieces give you so much trouble? - Thanks to the pieces' configuration and the small frame you have to work with, this is one hell of a challenge. First, part of the pieces can be slid over and under each other, which adds for the complexity of the puzzle; and second, having double-sided pieces doesn't help a bit. Once the puzzle is solved, there's almost no wiggle room for the pieces to move.
Solution: Click here to see the puzzle solved.
Drachenflieger can be quite deceptive. It looks like a simple puzzle with only three pieces, but soon becomes this fiendish challenge that can have you screaming obscenities at it. Expect to dedicate, at least, over an hour of your time to solve it.
Availability: PuzzleMaster is the place to find many of Constantin's designs. The Drachenflieger is available for $18 CAD.