300th Post - Top 10 From Last 100

Posted on Feb 21, 2013 by Gabriel | 6 comments

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Looks like I've reached yet another milestone with my blog, this time for the 300th post, almost three years after I started. It could've been reached a lot sooner, although it's hard to maintain a steady pacing of five reviews a week, like I did to get to post 200. I did manage to keep an average of two reviews a week, sometimes three, mostly thanks to Tomas Lindén from Sloyd (Oy Sloyd Ab) and Leon Stein from PuzzleMaster, who have been the two biggest sponsors of the blog.

The following is a top 10, chosen by me, of the greatest puzzles reviewed from the last 100 posts. For more extensive reviews, pricing and availability, click on their names. Most of them are quite affordable, mainly as a personal choice. I always felt, when looking at expensive puzzles, that I could get a few more for the price of one. Not that I value quantity over quality. You can see in my collection many quality puzzles that you can find at reasonable prices. It's just that I value variety more, and my collection would be a fraction of what it is today if I'd stuck with expensive puzzles only. The downside is that I have less space now with all these puzzles (puzzle 1000 is fast approaching).

Probably the most reviewed puzzle designer in my blog, Jean Claude Constantin is an example of the variety I was talking about. I have so many of his puzzles reviewed, I should make a separate top 10 just for his puzzles soon. His designs use lots of different materials, the concepts are very original, and what's best is that his puzzles are, for the most part, quite affordable. The Schieblehre is one of such examples. The design is gorgeous and the concept was a novelty for me.

The Interlace Diamond is part of a larger collection of puzzles designed by William Waite, all of which have these beautiful intricate patterns based on cultural backgrounds like Arabic and Celtic. The one listed here, in particular, is based on Arabic patterns and is comprised of 12 different pieces. It's a challenging puzzle at first. The hard part is to visualize the whole image when you have all the pieces scattered around, but as soon as you place a few pieces on the tray it becomes progressively easier.

A few months ago I reviewed a series of new puzzles invented by Ivan Moscovich, and the one I liked most was Reflection. It's not a puzzle in the traditional sense, like the others on this top, because it's mainly a board game. However, the logic and skill needed to win is the same applied to other puzzles. The object is to be able to visualize the mirror effect needed to get the most spheres out of the chosen game card and score more points than your opponents. The concept is brilliant and one of the most original board games I've played. Even if you're not a big fan of board games you should try this one.

Probably more known for his IPP award-winning 4 Steps Visible Lock in 2011, Robrecht Louage is responsable for my association of coin puzzles with his name. I'm not sure if he's the one who "coined" this concept, but if not, he's perfected it. The 1€ Labyrinth Puzzle is a worthy successor and takes the concept of coin puzzles with a different approach. I see it as something in between the Visible Lock (visible maze) and the Remove the Yolk (hidden maze). Here, you only see part of the maze and have to work with that knowledge to uncover the rest of it. As usual, the solution is far from obvious, but if you know Robrecht's puzzles, you'll get there... Eventually.

How many puzzles can you name that combine logic with booze? The Tipaton Vodkabox, manufactured in Finland by Tomas Lindén, is one of such rare examples. Essentially a Puzzle Box, the idea is to put a bottle of vodka inside and offer it to someone to have a drink. This could prove to be a very frustrating proposition, though, as the puzzle is rather tricky to open. There are only 5 steps needed to open it, so it's far from the number of steps you see in the Japanese Puzzle Boxes. However, it can be harder than a few of those boxes with more steps, because they're not so linear.

Over a month ago, I had the pleasure and privilege of playing with a new type of puzzles designed by Splinter Spierenburgh from The Netherlands. The first of these was the MazeRoll. The design, reminiscent of Egyptian patterns, is comprised of four detachable disks that can be rearranged into a few hundred combinations, creating mazes of different difficulties. It's a puzzle you can always return to, due to its large number of possible mazes.

The Cast Series is another type of puzzles that should have its own top, but since I can't include every one of them here, I'll highlight one of my favorites, the Cast Radix by Akio Yamamoto. This is more than a puzzle, and its proper place would be in a museum, not just for its glorious shape, but for what it represents. Puzzle design is art in itself, and that's why I fell in love with this hobby. Hanayama is synonym of excellence and most of their puzzles deserve a place in every collection. If you can't have them all, the Cast Radix would be an obvious choice.

To avoid repeating myself, I decided to join together the third and second place for the Moeraki 4 and Moeraki 3, respectively. These two puzzles by Casland Games had a troubled start, due to patents and licencing issues, but I'm glad that's all resolved now, because the Moeraki Puzzles are just stunning and some of my favorite puzzles. The design and packaging of the puzzles would make you think that these are extremely expensive for the quality presented, but in reality they cost about €15 each. The concept may not be the most original you have ever seen, but it definitely refined it. The movement of the beads is super smooth, which makes playing with them a pleasure. My only complaint is that they only have these two plastic versions, but have another three different virtual ones. Maybe with enough sales they will think about manufacturing the other versions. Here's hoping for a near future release.

If you ever visited the Gamepuzzles' website by Kadon Enterprises, then you'd know how hard it is to leave without ordering something. The only reason why I don't have this top 10 full with their puzzles is because they can be a bit expensive. However, that didn't stop me from getting the updated version of Cubits (thanks to the goddess of puzzles, Kate Jones), first produced by the now defunct Binary Arts (known today as ThinkFun). This is a puzzler's dream. Dozens of challenges to solve with a cool 3D visual effect, and high-quality manufacturing, which is always present in every Kadon Puzzle. If you don't have one of these already, or any Kadon puzzle for that matter, do yourself and your collection a favor and acquire one of these marvels. You won't regret it.

Closing Comments:

It's always a pleasure going back and chose 10 puzzles from past reviews. I have to thank all the designers and manufacturers that made these puzzles a reality, and who made me happier by playing with their creations. I also have to thank all the readers of the blog, whom without this page wouldn't be what it is today. If I ever helped you choose any puzzle in the past or guided you in the right direction to get them, then my job was fulfilled. Hope to see you all again when I reach the 400th post.


allard said...

Congratulations on a HUGE milestone Gabriel!! Carry on Puzzling! :-)


Gabriel said...

Thanks Allard! Indeed, It's hard to believe I have written so much. I wonder how many words I wrote. Now, let's see if I can make space for another 300 puzzles in my collection...

Kevin said...

Congratulations Gabriel! As a fellow blogger I know just what an achievement it is to reach 300 posts! Keeping going is really tough and you show no sign of fading! Even more amazing is the consistent high quality of your writing - it's always a joy to read your reviews! Looking forward to the next 100!


Gabriel said...

Thank you so much, Kevin! That means a lot coming from an English native. Since English is not my first language, I try my best not to write many blunders.

Puzzle Regards ;-)

Jerry said...

Congrats Gabriel. This is really a fantastic achievement. To be able to do 2-5 reviews per week is really amazing. I sometimes even struggle with just one review per week or fortnight. Keep up the good work! Maybe you like to try your hand at puzzle designing soon?

Gabriel said...

Thank you very much Jerry! I thought about designing, but I've got no solid idea yet.

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