Posted on Jun 7, 2013 by Gabriel | 7 comments
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I'm starting to become a fan of Siebenstein-Spiele. This company makes gorgeous wooden puzzles, besides board games, that somehow resemble Jean Claude Constantin puzzles. You all know how I love JCC's puzzles, so understandably I'm loving Siebenstein-Spiele's too. I don't have many of them right now, as the one you see here, the Safe, is just the second that I'm aware of I currently own. The first one was Auf dem Holzweg.

The Safe, designed by Jürgen Reiche, has got to be one of the most fascinating looking puzzles I've seen in a while. Looking like some ingenious measure instrument straight out of the Discoveries era, the Safe is as hard as it looks. The puzzle is built with a mix of wood and acrylic, and you can actually see some markings on the top acrylic layer, as if to indicate some type of measuring. It really is intended to look like an instrument from past centuries. Something overly complex, too difficult for anyone other than scholars to understand.

The puzzle is presented with a 1 Euro coin at the top layer which is trapped inside a maze. You need to rotate the two middle layers, one acrylic and one wood - very clever, otherwise you wouldn't see the maze when they overlapped - in order to free the coin at the bottom layer. So there are four layers, but only the two middle ones can rotate. Each layer has a hole the size of the coin and each of them has to be aligned with the immediate top layer for the coin to drop. You have the coin free when you finally manage to align the top bottom layers.

To make your stealing from the Safe a tad little harder, there are two pins in the middle that move horizontally and cross the layers from top to bottom. You have to be constantly moving these pins back and forth to be able to align the maze layers. They will block many of your movements, so be prepared for some frustrating moments.

I've seen this puzzle classified in different sites and the conclusion I've got is that it's very difficult to solve. I've seen it being rated as a 10/10, and although it took me several sessions to solve it with a total of 2 hours approximately, I think it's an 8 or maybe a 9 at the most. Why not 10? - Well, because while it might be time consuming, it's just a maze, and you can see all of the steps you're doing at all times. It's not a Revomaze. If you have a little patience, you will eventually solve it. Now, to return the coin to its starting position, that's another problem. I'm still waiting for my patience to be fully restored...

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Closing Comments:

The Safe is easily one of the best puzzles from Siebenstein-Spiele. I only own two at the moment, but I've seen several of them around. They're all great puzzles, but this one has something special. Its design is so original, unlike anything I've ever seen. I'm not sure if this was featured in any of the past IPP Design Competitions, but it truly deserves recognition.

Availability: You can find the Safe at Sloyd.fi for €25.


George said...

I've owned this puzzle for 8 months, and it does appear difficult. But it is easier than it appears, and steady progress can be made toward the clear exit hole. After I solved it, going back to the start seemed daunting because it is not so obvious where the start is (or was).

I put the puzzle down for a few months, but eventually picked it up and at this time it is finally back to the start. Very nice puzzle! Nicely made.

Gabriel said...

I agree. It's more time consuming than difficult. I will eventually return it to its starting position, but have to gather some patience first. I'm all out of it right now ;-)

Unknown said...

I solved this at the Finnish Puzzle Party yesterday but couldn't return the coin to the starting point - got near, half of the way but left it unfixed. Sorry Tomas! So many interesting puzzles to try!

But it is s truly excellent puzzle, beautiful and quite complex.

Gabriel said...

Don't feel bad. Mine is still near the exit point where I left it after solving it. It will be a while before I attempt to do it :P

Unknown said...

Actually, I don't feel bad for myself - I feel sorry for Tomas who brought the puzzle with him to the meeting and left with it. And who has to assemble it now... Whoops.

I got near (quarter to) the start but then the peg on the right came on the way. But I thought solving some incredible puzzle boxes was far more important than returning this to the starting position.

Gabriel said...

Ah, I totally understand. Puzzle boxes are also a passion of mine. I wish I had more, but their price is a bit scary sometimes.

Unknown said...

Not to brag or anything but I got to solve two Miyamoto's famous boxes: The Walk of a Ladybug and A Chance Meeting. Incredible boxes! Absolutely amazing, especially A Chance Meeting which is by far the best box I have encountered in my limited experience.

If you got a chance, try them.

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