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I love Philos' puzzles. This German company always manages to manufacture nice puzzles at affordable prices, and each one offers a different challenge. They are mostly built from hardwood, which enhances their natural look and high quality. The company works with many international puzzle designers and with the Quadstair, this is no exception. Designed by Oskar van Deventer, one of the most prolific puzzle designers in the world, the Quadstair is a superb puzzle that few will be disappointed with.
Made from four identical pieces, each in a different wood color, this interlocking puzzle is quite an intriguing object when you first try to solve it. The pieces seem to be all glued together in a spiral with a square shape and a hole in the middle. Whichever way you pull on the pieces, they just won't budge a millimeter. However, there's a way to separate the four pieces. You just have to keep trying until you succeed. Be careful not to apply too much force, though. It's not needed for the solution, and even though the pieces are glued together at key spots, you might end up breaking the puzzle.
Usually, interlocking puzzles are quite a challenge for me. Even more when I try to reassemble them. Fortunately, even though it looks intimidating at first, the Quadstair is not that difficult. After spending about 10-15 minutes to separate the pieces, I'd say this is about 7/10 in difficulty. Reassembling it is actually easier, which is not common for an interlocking puzzle. I guess the fact that the pieces are all identical makes it easier to visualize it solved and connect the pieces in the right way. Once you know where to pull, the puzzle is very easy to disassemble and reassemble.
What I really liked about Oskar's Quadstair is that its simplicity and perfect harmony among the pieces makes for a surprising and rewarding feeling when you finally discover its secret. This is a great puzzle for any puzzle fun, since there aren't any special tricks involved, just clever designing and utter brilliance.
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When you combine a good puzzle company and a genius puzzle designer like Oskar, the result will certainly be amazing. This is an affordable puzzle that any collection should have and any fan, beginner or expert, should try.
Availability: At the time of writing, the Quadstair is unavailable at PuzzleMaster. You can keep checking regularly or try the other great puzzles offered by Philos.