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I'm starting to become a fan of Siebenstein-Spiele. This company makes gorgeous wooden puzzles, besides board games, that somehow resemble Jean Claude Constantin puzzles. You all know how I love JCC's puzzles, so understandably I'm loving Siebenstein-Spiele's too. I don't have many of them right now, as the one you see here, the Safe, is just the second that I'm aware of I currently own. The first one was Auf dem Holzweg.
The Safe, designed by Jürgen Reiche, has got to be one of the most fascinating looking puzzles I've seen in a while. Looking like some ingenious measure instrument straight out of the Discoveries era, the Safe is as hard as it looks. The puzzle is built with a mix of wood and acrylic, and you can actually see some markings on the top acrylic layer, as if to indicate some type of measuring. It really is intended to look like an instrument from past centuries. Something overly complex, too difficult for anyone other than scholars to understand.
The puzzle is presented with a 1 Euro coin at the top layer which is trapped inside a maze. You need to rotate the two middle layers, one acrylic and one wood - very clever, otherwise you wouldn't see the maze when they overlapped - in order to free the coin at the bottom layer. So there are four layers, but only the two middle ones can rotate. Each layer has a hole the size of the coin and each of them has to be aligned with the immediate top layer for the coin to drop. You have the coin free when you finally manage to align the top bottom layers.
To make your stealing from the Safe a tad little harder, there are two pins in the middle that move horizontally and cross the layers from top to bottom. You have to be constantly moving these pins back and forth to be able to align the maze layers. They will block many of your movements, so be prepared for some frustrating moments.
I've seen this puzzle classified in different sites and the conclusion I've got is that it's very difficult to solve. I've seen it being rated as a 10/10, and although it took me several sessions to solve it with a total of 2 hours approximately, I think it's an 8 or maybe a 9 at the most. Why not 10? - Well, because while it might be time consuming, it's just a maze, and you can see all of the steps you're doing at all times. It's not a Revomaze. If you have a little patience, you will eventually solve it. Now, to return the coin to its starting position, that's another problem. I'm still waiting for my patience to be fully restored...
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The Safe is easily one of the best puzzles from Siebenstein-Spiele. I only own two at the moment, but I've seen several of them around. They're all great puzzles, but this one has something special. Its design is so original, unlike anything I've ever seen. I'm not sure if this was featured in any of the past IPP Design Competitions, but it truly deserves recognition.
Availability: You can find the Safe at Sloyd.fi for €25.