Triad

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Triad is another stunning puzzle from the anodized metal series from PuzzleMaster. Both color and shape really stand out, but what's most interesting about it is its solving method.

Each of these puzzles have their own characteristics and solutions, so you will always have a different experience whichever one you choose. As for the Triad puzzle, it's not a particularly difficult puzzle, but the solution is quite enjoyable and can be rather fun to do many times over.

The Triad is very well made and most importantly, the coating doesn't seem to wear off that easily. With use, it might begin to appear some scratches, but nothing that will ruin the overall look of the puzzle.

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Three identical pieces are interlocked to form an equilateral triangle and by moving them in a certain way you'll be able to separate them. At first it seems like there's no way to find enough room to remove the first piece, but if you see how the pieces are cut at certain angles and make use of the internal cuts to your advantage, it's actually pretty easy to solve.

This is rated as a level 7/10, but an experienced puzzler will probably have no problems solving this. It might look that way, but this puzzle is not a coordinated motion puzzle. You have to remove the pieces one by one and reassemble them the same way.

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Closing Comments:

The Triad is certainly an interesting puzzle. Just three pieces can really create something visually appealing and at the same time challenge your solving skills - provided you're not looking for an extremely difficult puzzle. Its beautiful design and simple solution will surely capture the attention of anyone.

Availability: You can get a copy of the Triad puzzle at PuzzleMaster for just $19.99 CAD. Check out the other puzzles in this series as well.


Supernova

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The Supernova is a classic puzzle, also known as the Ball in Cage or The Satellite. It has been made in many different versions, sizes and materials, but the main goal is always the same: remove the trapped spiked ball from the cage. It looks impossible at first glance, but like any puzzle there's always a way...

This particular version is actually very well made and it looks great. It's made entirely in metal, and the ball has a contrasting golden color. It's smaller than the previous versions I've seen, measuring only 7.5cm x 4.5cm (2.9" x 1.8"). Still, despite its small size, it's not too difficult to solve.

The ball has twelve spikes, all evenly spaced across the surface, and they seem about the same size, so nothing out of the extraordinary there. The cage has five posts and the only way to remove the ball is by passing it through the posts...somehow.

The solution does require some careful observation, but I believe that for a first timer it won't be a frustrating puzzle to solve. I've solved another version before, so I knew what to look for in order to solve it. Nevertheless, I don't think it's as difficult as a level 8/10, but more like a level 7.

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Closing Comments:

This puzzle never gets old. The solution is simple, but still clever and it's nice just fidgeting with it. I particularly liked the finishing touches and overall feel of the puzzle. This one is a must for any collector.

Availability: The Supernova is available at PuzzleMaster for just $15.99 CAD. This puzzle is also part of the Anodized Metal pack.


Slideways

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Slideways is part of the recently successful Indiegogo project, which had some beautifully-made anodized metal puzzles, each one with a different shiny color. These puzzles are now available at PuzzleMaster for anyone to purchase.

Designed by Ray Stanton, the Slideways, as the name suggests, will have a slightly different solution than your average burr puzzle. Discovering the secret move and mastering the solution will surely require some creative thinking, and some dexterity as well...

The puzzle is very well made with a stunning purple color. It's small, measuring only 6cm (2.4"), but still handles quite well. Since the pieces can slide quite well, it can happen that the puzzle will fall apart by accident if handled in a certain way. Nevertheless, taking it apart is the easy part. You will have your hands full trying to find out how to put it back together.

This is rated as a level 6/10, but by no means don't underestimate it. Taking it apart is as easy as a level 5, but reassembling it is more like a level 7, so maybe the 6 is the average between the two parts. If you're familiar with the concept of coordinated motion, then it might be easier to visualize the solution and subsequently its reassembly. In coordinated motion, all pieces must come together in a single and symmetrical sliding move, so it takes some planning and careful study of how the pieces fit together.

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Closing Comments:

The Slideways was a very interesting puzzle to play with. It has a clever solution and a great design on top of that. I did find the solution more enjoyable than a regular burr puzzle, so I definitely recommend this one. And with this beautiful color it can certainly be used as a cool decorative object.

Availability: The Slideways is available at PuzzleMaster for just $19.99. Check out other interesting metal puzzles also worth your time and money.


Anodized Aluminum Puzzles - Indiegogo Project

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As a puzzle collector and enthusiast, it's not hard for me to feel excited about new puzzles, especially when it's an entire new design. To puzzle fans, a pretty puzzle just won't be enough, it has to offer a good challenge as well, or else it will be deemed a decorative object.

This is what the PuzzleMaster's Indiegogo project wants to achieve - To offer enthusiasts around the world a new set of fascinating puzzles that not only look stunning, but also will give you the challenge you're looking for. Read on to see how you can make this project a success.

Indiegogo is a crowdfunding website where you can get support to launch all kinds of new and innovative products. If your project gets enough backers or supporters and reaches a predetermined goal, you'll have enough funds to create your vision.

PuzzleMaster's vision is to launch a new set of anodized aluminum puzzles from world-renowned designers that will surely put your best solving skills to the test and will also enrich your collection. For backers, there will be different sets to choose from depending on the puzzles that you want. Check out the official project page for more info. Below, I will make a brief introduction about each puzzle, and at a later date will also write a full review, so stay tuned.

The Main 3 Puzzles


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These are the three puzzles the Indiegogo project is based on: the Slideways, the Lattice and the Dirty Dozen. They all look and feel amazing. You can see that these are high quality puzzles.

Slideways - Level 6


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This is designed by Ray Stanton, who has designed some great coordinated motion puzzles before. The Slideways uses this concept to join together three pieces that, when solved, will be interlocked. With a gorgeous purple color, the Slideways is a bit different from the traditional three-piece burrs where no coordinated motion is used, but a set of sequential moves instead. Here, you will need to find out how the pieces come apart, which is not that difficult, but the main challenge is figuring out how to put it back together, since you have to do it simultaneously for all three pieces. It's a really interesting concept that I've had the pleasure to play with many times before.

Lattice - Level 10


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This one is a stunner and in my favorite color, no less. Both the Lattice and Dirty Dozen, below, are designed by Jerry Loo. It's comprised of eight metal plates and they interlock in such a way that you can fiddle with it without breaking them apart. That is, until you remove the first piece. It's incredible how the pieces interact with each other in a way that seems impossible to take them apart. The pieces can move back and forth and distort the original shape, but finding that first move and subsequent moves to take them all out is the real challenge.

Dirty Dozen - Level 9


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If the Lattice looks scary, this one takes it a step further with twelve metal plates. Or maybe it's just its deceiving appearance, since the Lattice is a level 10 and the Dirty Dozen is a level 9. Will have to solve try and confirm it later to see which one is actually harder. The Dirty Dozen also has a gorgeous bright orange color, and as you can see from the color choices of my blog, I definitely approve. The Dirty Dozen has the same feel of the Lattice, so it's a good combo if you like this type of puzzles.

The Reward Puzzles

The following eight puzzles are currently available on PuzzleMaster, but they will get a discount when you choose one of the three puzzle sets on the Indiegogo project. They are also made from high quality materials, so you'll get a great set of puzzles at a discount.

Triad - Level 7


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This interesting triangular design is made with just three pieces that seem to be locked in a permanent state. You can move the pieces, but only up to a certain point. Even though it has the same number of pieces as the Slideways puzzle, it's not a coordinated motion puzzle. Instead, each piece will have to be separated one by one, although it's not as difficult to put together (as long as you know how you took it apart). I really like the design of this one. It reminds me of a Cast Puzzle, only slightly bigger and more colorful.

Victory - Level 7


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Seems like anodized metal looks stunning in whichever color you choose, and green is no exception. In this puzzle, four identical S-shaped pieces are interlocked to make a cube, but with squares protruding in four directions. Taking the pieces apart will require a sequential set of movements, just like most of the puzzles mentioned above, which is what you would expect in a burr puzzle like this. It's not that difficult, since it's a level 7, but still challenging and fun to solve.

Trick Lock #7 - Level 7


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Designed by Teddy Sakamoto, this is a gorgeously designed puzzle lock that will fascinate even the non-puzzle enthusiasts. The mechanism is quite intriguing since there is a pin in the middle with two keyholes. This pin rotates and you can move it up and down. The key can easily fit inside both keyholes, but how these pieces interact with each other is up to you to find out. The solution will certainly surprise you, and even though it has little replay value, you'll be able to see how your friends and relatives will struggle with it, which is also a fun experience in itself.

Phantom - Level 8


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Made by Mr. Gong from China, the Phantom is a beautifully-made red sphere consisting of three flat and round interlocked pieces. Each piece has different shapes cut inside them, which won't make much difference when you're taking them apart, but will surely confuse you once you're trying to put it back together and deciding where each piece fits. It's a simple puzzle, but don't underestimate it. Easy to disassemble, but a pain to reassemble.

#1 Puzzle - Level 8


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A similar concept to the Lattice and Dirty Dozen, but much less complex. The #1 puzzle features only four pieces, each quite different from the others, since the cuts are all unique in each piece. The pieces are interlocked to make an octothorpe shape and the principal is similar to the Phantom in that it's super easy to take apart, but quite a challenge to put together. Remember that these puzzles have two challenges, so it's not solved until you can reassemble it to its original shape.

SuperNova - Level 8


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If you've been puzzling long enough you've certainly seen a puzzle that looks like this. A spiked ball is trapped inside a cage and at first glance it seems impossible to remove it from its enclosure. It's perfectly possible, though, and solving it is quite relaxing, at least to me. This particular version is very well built, it's pocket-sized and I really like the contrast of silver and gold between the cage and the ball. It's a must have in any collection, and a great decorative item.

Fortress - Level 9


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Just like the Phantom, the Fortress is made by Mr. Gong. This one is quite different from the usual interlocking puzzles. It uses the coordinated motion principle, so if you've seen this in other puzzles, this one will be pretty simple as well, despite its level 9 rating. In coordinated motion puzzles the challenging part is figuring out that one move that will separate all the pieces simultaneously. Putting it back together requires a bit of dexterity, since it has three identical pieces and a small cylinder trapped inside.

Quad L - Level 9


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Yet another puzzle by Mr. Gong. The Quad L, as the name suggests has four L-shaped pieces that interlock inside a frame. What's interesting about this is that the puzzle has two sides, and when the pieces are all separated they actually look much more complex than just a simple L shape. The effect of the different colors is rather beautiful and it seems like a nice challenge, although the jury is still out on that level 9 rating. Will have more info on that when I write the full review soon.

Final Thoughts:

Whatever set you choose to get on the Indiegogo project, I'm sure you will be more than satisfied with the quality and diversity of challenges of these puzzles. The project is a fantastic idea to launch new and interesting puzzles and I'm rooting for its success. So, if you can, check out PuzzleMaster's Indiegogo project and help make this a reality.


Bike Shed Puzzle

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The Bike Shed Puzzle is the second of four different Picture Frame puzzles made by Jean Claude Constantin and distributed by Recent Toys.

In this Transport Arrangements series, each with a different theme, Constantin chose four transportation vehicles, and this time, it's an eco-friendly one, the bike. Five different bike models have to be arranged within the frame, which itself has the shape of a vintage bike model. The pieces have to be arranged in a way so that they can hardly move, but not overlapping and outside the frame boarders.

This type of puzzle is a little different from the usual packing puzzle, where the pieces have straight lines and geometric shapes. In a Picture Frame puzzle, however, the pieces are irregular and the thinking process is different, where you need to see how the empty spaces can be used.

For a typical Picture Frame puzzle, the Bike Shed is quite challenging. There are lots of circular shapes to maneuver around the frame, which makes it quite difficult to do in a small area. It's a level 8/10 puzzle and I believe it's an accurate rating.

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Closing Comments:

Picture Frame puzzles are quite fun to do, since the pieces are not abstract, like squares or other geometric shapes. You can actually feel the shape of the bikes in your hands and the overall experience is much more fulfilling than a regular packing puzzle.

Availability: You can find the Bike Shed Puzzle at PuzzleMaster. All four puzzles of this series are also available.


Cast Slider

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Vesa Timonen puzzles often have very ingenious solutions that require quite a lot of creative thinking. Many of his puzzles have a simple design, but still the solution will always surprise you. The latest Hanayama Cast Puzzle, called Slider falls into all these previously mentioned categories, and maybe a few of its own. Don't underestimate this one just because it's a level 3/6, as Hanayama has done it again...

The Cast Slider looks like it could be one of those sliding lock devices, which at first glance doesn't look like anything special... Until you take a closer look. The movement is surprisingly satisfying, like a fidget toy. You can keep playing with this indefinitely, even if you don't plan on solving it.

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There are two identical pieces that move in opposite directions with a central piece that rotates in a perpendicular direction. The central piece has two entrances that allow for the other two to slide back and forth, but not apparently to separate them. There's a pin in the center that prevents the pieces from moving to certain positions, and your goal is to find out how to avoid that. Even though it's challenging, the movement of the puzzle keeps it rather interesting and fun, so it's hard to ever feel frustrated.

Now, regarding Hanayama difficulty rating, it's yet again way off the mark. Level 3/6 it is not. It took me quite a while to figure out the solution for this one, and it was basically a fluke, so to speak. This is at least a level 4/6. As you fiddle with the puzzle, certain movements you do are more a reflection of your fidgeting and less a product of your logic reasoning. After a couple of follow up tries I was able to understand how exactly the solution works and it is indeed quite fascinating. It's hidden in plain sight and almost as obvious as the actual simple movement of the puzzle.

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Closing Comments:

The Cast Slider is in my opinion one of the best Hanayama puzzles of the last 5 years. It's no wonder that it took the Top 10 Vote Getter award at this year's IPP (International Puzzle Party). The simple but elegant solution and the great movement of the puzzle combines for a wonderful puzzling experience. Vesa, you did it again!

Availability: You can get a copy of the Cast Slider at PuzzleMaster. Check out other interesting puzzles in the Cast family.


Zauberseil

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Zauberseil by Jean Claude Constantin is a deceptively difficult puzzle where the goal is to remove the rope from the metal frame. Made to look like a simple and easy to solve puzzle, this one is actually quite a difficult challenge, even for the most experienced.

The name Zauberseil means "Cotton Rope" in German - it's a rather fitting name, since the rope used here is made of cotton. As you can see, the rope is also much thicker than the usual string puzzles and less malleable, so it's a little harder to maneuver it. It's also shorter than other puzzles, but here it could be considered a good thing, because it's more difficult to create undesired knots. The frame is made of thick metal, so even if you apply some force it won't easily bend and deform the puzzle.

The Zauberseil is made of three metal parts, a large ring and two identical U-shaped pieces. These pieces are entangled together with the rope to form a devilishly difficult puzzle that will surely put your skills to the test. I believe only the rope can be freed from the puzzle, but it's possible that one of the U-shaped pieces could be removed as well.

The puzzle is, in my opinion, at least a difficulty level 9/10. I couldn't solve it yet, so I believe it's as difficult as they come. Judging by the nature and design of the puzzle, I suspect that the solution is only a couple of steps, but they surely are very well hidden under the apparent simplicity of it. If you like a good and near impossible challenge, then this is a perfect puzzle for you.

Closing Comments:

The Zauberseil by Jean Claude Constantin is not a puzzle for everybody. It can become extremely frustrating to solve if you don't have any previous experience with this type of puzzles. However, if you feel courageous enough, then solving it will provide a truly rewarding experience.

Availability: You can find the Zauberseil at PuzzleMaster for just $10.99 CAD. For more Constantin puzzles, click here.


CubiKo

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CubiKo is another interesting concept from Colombian designer Nelson Robayo. A few months ago I reviewed Nelson's Boli-Loco, which was also a pleasant surprise.

CubiKo, as the name suggests, is a cube with 12 interconnected tubes that move in three directions. Each color group only moves in two directions, but when combined with the others, you can move the small sphere inside in all directions, navigating in a see-through maze. The goal is to go from A (Start) to B (Finish). Sounds simple enough, but there's a lot of planning and strategy involved.

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Each tube has at least one opening, which allows for the sphere to travel across the cube. You can look at the cube as a tall skyscraper, and the tubes as a series of elevators that can get you anywhere around the building. It's a very clever design that you will surely have lots of fun with.

The challenge in itself is a bit difficult. Even though the cube and the tubes are transparent, sometimes it's hard to find a clear path and see where exactly is the entrance to a particular tube. It's not frustrating to the point of giving up, but don't expect an easy ride. The tubes move smoothly, but the ball seems just a bit too large. At times you need to jiggle the puzzle a little to make the ball fall inside.

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Closing Comments:

These puzzles from Colombian designer Nelson Robayo are a real treat. I like his fresh ideas and the puzzles are really fun to play with. CubiKo, in particular, is a puzzle that will appeal to all ages, especially young and curious minds. Highly recommended.

Availability: CubiKo is available to purchase at PuzzleMaster, along with others by the same brand, Mind Matters Toys.


Secret Opening Box - Spring Time

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It's not Spring anymore, but that doesn't mean it's not puzzle time. PuzzleMaster has a new series of six Secret Opening Boxes, and judging from the Spring Time puzzle box, it's certainly something to look forward to.

Each of these boxes have their own design and solution, so you'll probably want to be collecting all of them to have the full experience. The boxes have really good sizes, which means more objects can be hidden inside. The Spring Time box measures 15.1 x 10 x 5.5 cm (5.9" x 3.9" x 2.2").

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The box is really well made with some good finishing touches. Although it's not hardwood, it's still looks sturdy enough and the decoration is very pretty, resembling the patterns you usually find on the Japanese Puzzle Boxes. Inside there are various hidden sections, which I think is a very clever design feature, which means that you can have more than one object hidden.

In total, there are five removable parts, following a sequence in which one part has to be removed before the other. The top lid can move somewhat freely from side to side, but it's not the first part to be removed, so a bit of thinking is necessary to overcome that first challenge.

Overall, it's not very difficult to open this puzzle box. Even though it's rated as a difficulty level 7/10, I believe this is no more than a 6. Or maybe, because I've solved many Japanese Puzzle Boxes already, this one seemed easier. Nevertheless, it's not a frustrating puzzle by a long shot.

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Closing Comments:

The new PuzzleMaster series of Secret Opening Boxes really surprised me. From the first impression I got with the Spring Time box, I can certainly recommend them, not only for their puzzle factor, but also as a beautiful decorative object.

Availability: You can find the Spring Time box and the others from the Secret Opening Box series at PuzzleMaster.


Siebenstein-Spiele

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Which company/craftsman makes the most beautiful puzzles?

Another article, another contender for the coveted title. This time I return to the theme of wooden puzzles by the hand of one of German's leading manufacturers, Siebenstein-Spiele. The company started out as a board game developer and manufacturer over 20 years ago, and in the recent years branched out to the design and crafting of quality wooden mechanical puzzles that are both interesting items of exquisite craftsmanship as well as beautiful decorating objects.

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The company founder, Jürgen Reiche, is a jack of all trades, designing, manufacturing and distributing his work all around the world, at the same time competing in an ever-growing market full of great choices. To do that, he needs a constant stream of new ideas and fresh concepts in order to attract new customers, puzzlers that are always hungry for unique and fascinating new challenges.

Siebenstein-Spiele's puzzles are easily recognized by their laser-cut wooden pieces and natural colors. Their designs often combine various types of wood with acrylic and metal parts, giving different contrasts and textures to an otherwise bland and banal puzzle. Reiche cares a lot about presentation and that is clearly witnessed in all his creations, no matter how simple or complex a design is.

I usually say that Jürgen's designs have some resemblance with Jean Claude Constantin's, but I don't mean it in a derogatory or mean way. Quite the contrary. Jean Claude Constantin is my favorite puzzle designer, and despite the similarities between the two craftsmen's work, I always welcome Constantin-like puzzles. The two designers are German and have been working with puzzles for many years, so it's quite possibly they've known each other for a long time and took inspiration from each other's work. Whatever the reason, puzzle fans all over the world are the ones who benefit from both craftsmen's creativity and ingenuity.

Even though Siebenstein's puzzles have this high quality, their price is anything but expensive. Yes, you may find some of their puzzles with a high price tag, but the majority of them have rather reasonable prices, considering what they offer in terms of challenge, appearance, and of course, a rewarding and satisfying experience. That's quite an impressive feat when you compare their puzzles with other, more expensive brands.

Like any good puzzle manufacturer, Siebenstein-Spiele has a wide variety of designs and puzzle types that are certain to fascinate any puzzle enthusiast. If you're a true puzzle fan, chances are you're going to find something to like from Siebenstein-Spiele, whether it's sliding puzzles, packing puzzles, entanglement puzzles, or even the most uncommon and unique designs you can think of.

Packing puzzles are my favorite type of puzzles, and Siebenstein-Spiele has some very nice examples with superb designs. Take the Bermuda puzzle, or the Mephisto puzzle, for example. So different from one another, and yet both are equally remarkable, each with its own unique characteristics that make them fascinating:

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  • The Bermuda puzzle takes a simple concept (pack the extra piece), but is complemented with a gorgeous and functional design, made in the shape of seven sea creatures. Your task is to take advantage of its curves and recesses so that extra space is freed for the seventh piece.
  • The Mephisto puzzle, on the other hand, making clever use of wood and acrylic parts, gives you a totally different challenge by combining the 10 acrylic stripes in such a way that you should see four identical shapes within each of the 25 squares in the frame.
As you can see, even within the same puzzle type, the designer managed to create two completely distinct puzzles made with different materials.

Other than packing puzzles, sliding puzzles are among my favorites, and here Jürgen Reiche almost reinvented the genre by creating very unique and unorthodox designs unlike anything you've seen before. Below are two examples of this unique approach to the sliding puzzle category, the Colour Match and the Up & Down:

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  • The Colour Match mechanism works by sliding two handles horizontally. Eight discs in four different colors comprise this intriguing puzzle, although the goal is pretty simple. All you have to do is get each disc on the top row to match the same color of its counterpart in the bottom row. Also, each disc has one of two symbols, a star or a circle. For a tougher challenge, you need to get all discs with the stars on the bottom row. You can try and create your own challenges as well, by combining different colors and symbols.
  • Up & Down is yet another completely different concept, a twist on the classic sliding piece puzzle. With numbers from 1 through 8, the goal is to rearrange them in order from the left column down and to the right. The movement is quite unusual, since the frame moves up and down. As you push it to one of its two positions, you can move one tile at a time to the available free slot at the edges of the frame. You can also attempt other number arrangements.
Fortunately for any puzzle lover, though, Siebenstein-Spiele is not just packing or sliding puzzles. The designer creates a wide variety of puzzles, many of which are sometimes hard to even put in a single category. He also ventured into other popular puzzle categories such as n-ary puzzles (sequential movement), like the Auf dem Holzweg, seen below.

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Final Thoughts:

If Jean Claude Constantin is my favorite puzzle designer, Jürgen Reiche is probably a close second, for sharing the same philosophies of puzzle design and craftsmanship. His new creations always amaze me, for his unending ability to come up with something new and bold. As a puzzle collector and enthusiast, I can only look forward with high expectations for Siebenstein-Spiele's upcoming ideas.

Availability: You can find these and many other Siebenstein-Spiele puzzles at PuzzleMaster.


The Harbour Puzzle

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It's been a while since I reviewed a Framed Picture Puzzle. I always loved these, though. It's a packing puzzle, but the pieces don't get to be all neatly packed with straight angles. Since there are empty spaces in between, you also need to carefully plan where every piece should go.

Jean Claude Constantin has a new series with Transport Arrangements as the main theme, with four puzzles like this, all distributed by Recent Toys. Each puzzle has its own theme and the one featured in this review is all about vessels you can dock at a harbour. The Harbour Puzzle has nine pieces, each with a different shape and color.

One negative side about this puzzle is that it comes in its solved state, which I completely disagree. What were they thinking? The moment you see the puzzle, you can't avoid not seeing it completed, which will surely affect the way you solve it later, since you will probably remember how some pieces were packed. You can ask someone to unpack it for you, though, which I highly recommend.

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The puzzle itself, however, is well built and despite being made from laser-cut wood, its quality is really good. The different wood colors give it a sophisticated look and elegance you can't get from using the same wood color. Compared to other Picture Frame Puzzles I have, the size is on the small side, but still quite enjoyable to play with.

As for difficulty, it's exactly how you would expect it with a puzzle of this type - quite challenging. You can't avoid being at the mercy of trial and error, but not as much as a convencional packing puzzle, since you do need to carefully think how each piece can be packed without wasting too much space inside the frame. The frame itself is irregular which will make it even more difficult.

Closing Comments:

Solving these puzzles is a quite enjoyable and rewarding. The replay value is low, since there's usually only one solution, but for less than $20, you get quite good value for your money, because it's still a rather challenging puzzle. There are four different puzzles in this series.

Availability: You can find the new Constantin puzzles and The Harbour Puzzle at PuzzleMaster for just $17.99 CAD. Check out dozens of other interesting puzzles from the German designer.


Slide Elox

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Jean Claude Constantin has spoiled us over the years with his creations, with high quality puzzles and beautiful designs. As if all this wasn't already good enough, it seems this time he outdid himself. His new line of puzzles goes a step further in the quality department and the result pops out right in front of your eyes.

The Slide Elox is one of three puzzles currently being made with anodized metal. The other being the Nur 8 and the Farbenspiel 6x6. This material in contrast with the black frame makes an exquisite and unmatched striking colorful effect. Acrylic is also used for the sliding pieces, creating a perfect harmony with the metal and the laser-cut wood. The movement of the pieces is quite smooth against the wooden frame, providing a rather satisfying experience.

There are 16 small cylinders neatly placed around the perimeter of the frame, while inside, eight acrylic pieces have to be arranged so that the larger cylinders match with the same colors on the frame. With only a small gap in the frame to slide the pieces around, this will prove to be quite a challenge.

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Speaking of a challenge. There are actually eight of them for you to solve. Each challenge has a different starting position, meaning more moves as the level of difficulty increases, but they all share the same solution. This has been such an incredibly difficult puzzle that I only managed to solve one out of eight so far. I solved the level 2, while the level 1 has me stumped with only the two small squares being in a parity problem, where their positions are opposite one another.

Not surprisingly, this is rated as a difficulty level 9/10, as this is not your average sliding puzzle. One of the reasons is that the pieces have different orientations, where some move horizontally and others move vertically. The two small squares move more freely, but they still have their limitations when moving around the frame. It's truly a great challenge.

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Closing Comments:

I'm a big fan of sliding puzzles. And when you combine one of my favorite puzzle designers and a beautiful, close to perfect, presentation it all clicks together in a one of a kind puzzle. The Slide Elox is now one of my favorite Constantin puzzles.

Availability: The Slide Elox is available from PuzzleMaster for $54.99 CAD. Check out also other great puzzles by Constantin.


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