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Glückspilz (German for someone who always has luck) is yet another Jean Claude Constantin stunning and original design. This one belongs to a special category among Packing Puzzles, where an extra piece needs to be accommodated to an already packed frame with not much free space to work with. I particularly like this type of puzzles, mainly because the solution is often quite elegant and unexpected.
The name of the puzzle fits perfectly with its shape and pieces. Glückspilz is actually a combination of two words: Glück, which means luck or fortune, and pilz, meaning mushroom. So, for the overall shape of the puzzle, Constantin made it in the shape of a four-leaf clover - a traditional symbol of good luck. Inside the frame, and already packed, are four distinctly-shaped mushrooms occupying four larger slots that follow the contours of the clover's leafs. A fifth mushroom with a bigger stem than its counterparts is also provided but, as you can immediately see, it can't possibly be fitted with the presented configuration. It's up to you then, to find the correct way to pack all five mushrooms inside the frame.
Getting all five pieces inside the frame is no picnic. This is rated as a level 7/10, and I completely agree, because it's not extremely difficult, but still a bit challenging nonetheless. Apparently there's at least two solutions, since mine is a little different from PuzzleMaster's. At any rate, both solutions leave almost no wiggle room for the pieces to move, even though there'll still be empty spaces.
As a hint for solving the puzzle, don't start by packing the four main mushrooms in the frame. First and foremost, you should try to find a good spot to place the special mushroom - the one with the bigger stem - and then work around it, placing one piece at a time to see it fits tightly in any of the remaining four open spaces. There's a good dose of trial and error involved, but nothing frustrating. Carefully study the shapes of each individual mushroom and the space available. For most people, this should be solvable within 30 minutes.
I always have great things to say about Constantin's designs. The man just can't make bad puzzles. Glückspilz is a perfect example of his craftsmanship and original ideas. For fans of this category or puzzles in general, this is indeed a magnificent gift.
Availability: As of writing this review, the Glückspilz puzzle is out of stock at PuzzleMaster. However, because Constantin's puzzles are so popular, you should find it again in the store soon.