|(Click to Enlarge)|
Keep Smiling is a cute little puzzle, produced by Siebenstein-Spiele and designed by Jürgen Reiche, that will sure cheer you up anytime you try to solve it. The concept is not new. In fact, Jean Claude Constantin has a very similar design, the Marguerite, but Siebenstein's version is a little better in my opinion, with more character and style.
The puzzle is made from five wooden disks stacked on top of each other, each layer showing a combination of sad or happy faces. The #1 and #2 layers both have four tabs arranged with different layouts; #3 and #4 layers have five tabs each; and finally, the #5 layer has all fifteen tabs along the perimeter of the disk. All disks are held together by a pin, but they can be rotated freely in 360º. The rotation is smooth and without much friction and a longer, numbered tab is present in each disk to maneuver the puzzle more easily. The goal is to move all disks into a position where only happy faces are showing. Will you be able to keep everyone happy?
The puzzle is surprisingly challenging and, considering I had solved the Marguerite puzzle, I was even more surprised by it. For all it's worth, I reckon Constantin's design is much more simple. In it, all you have to do is getting all petals evenly spaced out. However, Keep Smiling is a little more complex. You have to not only worry about the position of the tabs, but at the same time making an effort not to leave any sad face showing.
Solving the puzzle, as expected, involves a little of trial and error, but also careful inspection. First, you need to think about the difference between the sad faces and the happy faces. As I mentioned above, the length of each disk has space for fifteen tabs, but only the fifth disk carries all of them. As an obvious deduction, this indicates that you must show fifteen happy faces. An easy count reveals that there are seventeen happy faces and sixteen sad faces. That's one more happy face than sad faces, but the result is meaningless, really. I have tried many combinations, but only found one that showed all fifteen happy faces. I'm very confident that the puzzle only has one possible solution, which makes it that more challenging. The effect, once solved, is definitely nice to look at.
Keep Smiling is not that original a design, but still, I liked the different theme Siebenstein chose for it, keeping it fresh and challenging. The puzzle's simple concept makes it easy for anyone to understand and want to try it, but not everyone will succeed. It's up to you to make all faces happy.
Availability: You can find the Keep Smiling puzzle at PuzzlesdeIngenio.com. Worldwide shipping available.