By the Way

Posted on Jan 3, 2014 by Gabriel | 2 comments
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(Click to Enlarge)
No, what you're seeing is not a Tangram set, although it closely resembles one. It has seven pieces, like a Tangram set, and you can also build countless shapes with the pieces, but it's not a Tangram set. The similarities don't stop here, though. Just like on a Tangram, the pieces are grouped in two pairs of identical pieces and three unique ones. Most of the pieces on the two puzzles share the same shapes as well, like a square, a rhombus, even a small and a big triangle are present. The BIG difference, and I mean to emphasize big, is the irregular quadrilateral shape that'll sure get you some headaches. Meet 'By the Way', a Tangram variation designed by Jürgen Reiche and produced by Siebenstein-Spiele.

By the Way comes in a nice rectangular tray with several shapes engraved on it to get you started. If that's not enough for you, the included instructions have several more. In total there are over 20 shapes to solve, and although it doesn't seem much, believe me they're more than enough given the high difficulty on some of those shapes. The presentation of the puzzle is complemented by a pallette of colorful pieces, as each one is nicely done in a different wood color. It's a relatively small puzzle, but still pretty good to handle, measuring 15.2cm x 7.4cm (about 6" x 3").

(Click to Enlarge)

If you love to build shapes with a Tangram set, then 'By the Way' is the right puzzle for you. I should warn you though, this is a much harder puzzle than the Tangram. I also have a Tangram set and have solved many of its countless puzzles, and even though some are quite harder to solve, they can't be a match for the ones you'll face with Siebenstein's fiendish variation. 

I haven't solved all shapes included with the puzzle, mainly because it would take a lot of time and patience. I did solve a few of them, but I've encountered an issue that I'm not certain if it's supposed to be that way or I just wasn't very good at solving them. Some of the shapes appear to be solvable without using all the pieces. I've tried to solve these shapes using all seven pieces, but to no avail. Below are two of such examples.

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What do you think? My guess is that I should try harder, because if the Tangram is any indication you must use all pieces to solve any of the shapes. More over, if you take into account the relative scale of the example shapes the solutions don't appear 100% correct. The provided instructions aren't clear on this subject, so until proven wrong, I have to assume that some shapes can indeed be solved without the full set. Nevertheless, this is quite a challenging puzzle and I like its high replay value. Also, just like the traditional Tangram puzzles, there are multiple solutions for each shape.

(Click to Enlarge) - Alternate Solution
Closing Comments:

By the Way may be too similar with the Tangram to add any significant value as an original puzzle, but if you're a sucker for dissection puzzles and you like a challenge, then I highly recommend it. If you've solved all the included shapes, you still have plenty to do, as you can always create your own shapes.

Availability: By the Way is available at Sloyd for just €13.


Some interesting facts about the origins of this puzzle (Thanks Jared!)


Kevin said...

Happy New Year Gabriel!
Here's to another great year of puzzling.

All the best,


Gabriel said...

Thanks Kevin! Happy New Year!
Can't wait to find out what new puzzles will be released this year ;-)

Puzzle Regards

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