Bloß Nicht Schwarz Sehen

Posted on by Gabriel | 3 comments
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Bloß Nicht Schwarz Sehen - This is a rather original name for a puzzle, and knowing Jean Claude Constantin, you should expect it quite often. If your German is a little rusty, don't worry: it literally means "Just Don't See Black". At first, this might not make much sense to you, but that's exactly what you're supposed to do with it...

With a very cool design, also to be expected by Constantin, Bloß Nicht Schwarz Sehen will be quick to draw your attention, as its particular geometry and uniquely shaped pieces have a way to mesmerize even the most oblivious. The tray is made with a combination of laser-cut wood and acrylic, and a reflective sheet of special paper makes the mirror effect really stand out. This effect isn't made for merely aesthetic purposes, though. Its use is actually very important for both the goal and solution of the puzzle. The 12 pieces are all identical (each a combination of 9 rhombi) and they're also made with laser-cut wood, but in a different color for a more dramatic effect. The puzzle measures about 13.8cm (5.4"). Note: The puzzle I received has a different color combination than the photo on the website, but it's basically the same puzzle.

(Click to Enlarge)
So, as the name suggests, you are expected not to see black when the puzzle is solved. What does that mean exactly? Well, the puzzle comes in a state that looks solved but that's actually not the main goal. As you can see from the first photo, the pieces are scattered around the tray, but in a way that let's you see some parts of the black circle in the middle. The object here is to rearrange the pieces so that no parts of the circle can be seen.

The solution is also symmetric, but in a different form. When solved, the pieces should not be able to move freely around the tray. The puzzle is somewhat challenging, but not to a point of frustration. The pieces are identical, so that part is a plus. You only need to worry about rotations and flipping them - The solution requires using half the pieces on one side and half on the other. To my knowledge, excluding those rotations and flips, there's only one solution.

Closing Comments:

Bloß Nicht Schwarz Sehen is a great puzzle. Not because its concept is completely new - I've seen some puzzles that use this cover concept - but because its design is absolutely stunning. The presentation of Constantin's puzzles are always perfect and this one's no exception. Definitely recommended for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Availability: You can get a copy of the Bloß Nicht Schwarz Sehen at Brilliant Puzzles for about $30. You can also see here other designs by Constantin.


George said...

I believe this shape tiles the plane. This is probably where the idea for this puzzle originated. I can't seem to find the original source where I have seen this shape before.

Gabriel said...

It's possible, since Constantin usually produces puzzles from other designers. I only knew the concept though, not the design itself.

George said...

I think I have seen this shape before in a math paper as a tiling shape. Constantin apparently turned it into a puzzle. So it is not like he has taken a puzzle from another designer, rather he has made a puzzle out of a tiling shape. Very cool!

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