From Karakuri Club (www.karakuri.gr.jp/creation/)
A nice gift from Roland Koch (http://geduldspiele.ch/)
Many thanks for it.
From Mr Puzzle (mrpuzzle.com.au)
Thanks Allard for the nice gift!
From Tom Lensch (http://www.tomlensch.com/)
From Creative Whack Company (http://www.creativewhack.com/)
Ball of Whacks was designed by Roger von Oech. It consists of a set of 30 magnetic pyramid-shaped pieces,
which can be played with alone, as well as in combination with the X-ball, Y-ball or Star-ball.
Roger von Oech had the idea for this puzzle when he examined a rhombic triacontahedron, which looks like a ball.
What is a whack? A whack is a creativity term for something that stimulates you to think differently.
The puzzle consists of 30 (whacks) rhombic pyramids. Inside of the whack are strong earth magnets,
which enable you to construct different figures and shapes.
The puzzle can be played with in different ways. The accompanying booklet contains many examples.
I especially like the following ways of playing:
Similarly to tangram, given figures can be built. This is not very difficult
and therefore also well suited for children.
My favorite way of playing was to build new figures and shapes. The possibilities are unlimited
and the shapes can be already realized with few pieces. Almost every fantasy figure can be constructed
with the figures having an angular touch.
The puzzle is accompanied by a 96-page booklet. The booklet is divided into three parts:
-Play With It
-The Inspiration for the Ball of Whacks and Other Golden Information
The part about the Creativity Workshop is especially interesting. The Creativity Workshop consists of 12 exercises.
Each exercise deals with a special topic and is performed with the help of the Ball of Whacks.
In addition to the exercise itself, there is background information and a questionnaire. The questionnaire aims to
apply the lessons to everyday life.
Creativity is an imaginative activity which cannot be learned overnight. Nevertheless, it is possible to foster the creativity.
In my point of view the book and the puzzle provide good stimulation, especially as the exercises are not difficult.
The puzzle is well suited for everybody who likes to construct figures and patterns and who likes to use his imagination.
In my point of view it is the successful continuation of tangram in 3-D.
The puzzle can be recommended for adults as well as for children over 10. If you are considering
whether to buy a X-Ball, a Y-Ball or a Ball of Whacks, then I would recommend the Ball of Whacks,
as this puzzle offers much more combinations than the others.
The puzzle can be played alone as well as in combination with the X-Ball, Y-Ball
or the Ball of Whacks.
The name is due to the resemblance of the main shape, a skeletal rhombic triacontahedron,
to a star-shaped ball. As the Ball of Whacks can also be formed to rhombic triacontahedron,
both puzzles can be combined with each other in interesting ways.
Star-Ball consists of 32 pieces of which 12 are shaped as fived-legged stars
and 20 as three-legged “Tri“s. On each end of the pieces is a magnet.
As the magnets have different polarities, there are 6 strong fived-legged stars
and 6 weak fived-legged stars. There are as well 10 strong three-legged “Tri”
and 10 weak three-legged “Tri”. For better recognition, one type of magnetic pole is marked
with a point.
The puzzle can be played in different ways:
You can either rebuild the Star-ball shape or construct new figures and shapes.
The puzzle is a typical head and tail puzzle. The head is represented by a magnetic pole
and the tail by its magnetic counterpart. That is why it is not sufficient to simply
rebuild the shape, but also necessary to consider the magnetic polarities.
It is not very difficult to build the Star-ball shape and it takes about one hour.
Star-Ball differs clearly from X-Ball and Y-Ball. It has different parts
and involves also magnetic polarities. If you are looking for a demanding puzzle,
then I would recommend Star-Ball. To enhance the creativity, I would rather recommend
X-Ball, Y-Ball or Ball of Whacks, as these puzzles are accompanied by a Creativity Workshop
in the form of a booklet.
To conclude, Star-Ball is well suited for adults as well as for children.
The problem is easy enough for children and offers them the possibility to enhance their creativity.
But the puzzle is also a challenge for adults, especially the construction of the Star-Ball.
Y-Ball , designed by Roger von Oech, is a set of thirty identical magnetic building pieces.
It is interesting to see how the idea for this puzzle was developed.
Roger von Oech was inspired for this puzzle when he examined a truncated icosahedron,
which had the shape of a ball. In this geometrical form every corner is linked with further
corners by three edges. If you halve the three edges, you obtain a Y-shaped object.
If you connect two of these Y-shaped objects, then you get the pieces, therefore the name
of this puzzle.
This Y-shaped object has a strong magnet on each of its corners. Due to the strong magnets
different figures and shapes can be built.
The puzzle can be played in different ways. Many examples can be found in the accompanying booklet.
X-Ball, designed by Roger von Oech, is a set of thirty identical magnetic building pieces.
The puzzle can be played alone as well as in combination with the Y-Ball, Star-Ball or the Ball of Whacks.
It is interesting to see how the idea for this puzzle was developed:
Roger von Oech had the inspiration for this puzzle when he looked at a skeletal icosidodecahedron
which had the shape of a ball. In this geometrical form every corner is linked with further corners by four edges.
If you halve the four edges, you obtain a X-shaped object, therefore the name of this puzzle.
This X-shaped object has strong earth magnets on each of its corners. Due to the strong earth magnets
different figures and shapes can be built.
The puzzle can be played with in different ways. Many examples can be found in the accompanying booklet.
From Recent Toys (http://www.recenttoys.com/)
The first time that I got in touch with Equal7 was on the design competition ath the IPP in Berlin.
Krasknoukhov, the designer of the puzzle, introduced it personally to me.
It is a 3-dimensional sliding puzzle and is very similiar to the hungarian 2 x 2 x 2 Varikon Puzzle,
which was very popular in the eighties.
Equal7 consists of seven red dices which are enclosed in a transparent plastic cube of the size 2 x 2 x 2.
All seven dices are identical, but have different orientations.
They are also different from an ordinary dice in regards to their numeration:
Instead of having six points on one side, they have a blank side.
Moreover, the sum of two opposite sides equals always five.
The plastic cube container has a special shape on one corner so that it can stand on this corner.
In this position, the cube container on the top has dice points with either one, three or five points.
If Equal7 is standing on the corner, then the observer gets the impression that it consists out of eight dices.
There are four different tasks to Equal7.
The aims are to shift the dices in such a way that all sides show either 10, 11, 12 or 7 points.
Thereby, the dices are moved by overturning the 2 x 2 x 2 cube container.
The tasks can be easily solved within a half hour.
Before moving the dices to solve the puzzle,
I am thinking about the position in which the dices should be in the final stage.
I like the puzzle design very much in spite of strong similarities to the Varikon Puzzles:
As dice points are used instead of colours, the puzzle presents a packing problem at the beginning.
Before moving the dices, you first think about the position of the dices to each other.
A further advantage is that you can solve four tasks at once instead of one.
Due to the trick with the dice points on one corner, the puzzle looks very aesthetically
and harmonic when standing on its corner.
Equal7 is well suited for adults as well as for children.
The problem is easy enough for children so that they can enhance their analytical skills.
But the puzzle is also a challenge for adults.
Mindjewel, designed by Alexander Polonsky, looks like a big colouring sparkling crystal,
which glows in red, green and blue. If you take a close look at it, then you recognize a five-sided,
transparent, symmetrical pyramid on each side.
The first task is to unfold the Mindjewel. This is relatively easy to achieve
so that within a short amount of time you hold a snake like object in your hands.
The aim is to rebuild the original crystal.
The technique is especially interesting:
Each five-sided pyramid has two slots on its pentagonal base.
The slots vary in their diameter and can pierce up to three edges.
A gum cord passes through the slots. This gum cord is responsible for the cohesion of the puzzle.
The twenty pyramids are linked to each other like on a chain.
The slots of neighbouring pyramids are opposite each other.
If you have a pyramid in front of you, which has three edges pierced by a slot,
then any of the three pierced edges can be placed next to the neighbouring pyramid.
Therefore, the number of the possible paths is:
2 * 2 * 2 * 2 * (2*3) * (2*2) * 2 * (2*2) * (3*2) * 2 = 36864
The number of combinations is relatively high. Nevertheless, the puzzle is not very difficult.
The puzzle can be easily mastered within a half hour, although there is only one path
which leads to the surface of a pentagon dodecahedron.
This puzzle excited me especially by the many twisting and turning of the pieces.
A crystal is relatively fast finished, which has only one or two pieces which do not fit.
This achievement encourages and spurs on to master the puzzle.
In my point of view, it is well suited for children. The puzzle is not very difficult and offers fun without end.
IcoSoKu is designed by Andrea Manini.
The name is a word combination of icosahedron and Sudoku.
Icosahedron refers to the geometrical form of the puzzle.
The puzzle is also a number puzzle similar to Sudoku, hence its name.
The puzzle consists of a blue icosahedron with yellow corners, 12 yellow pegs and 20 triangular, white plates.
The pegs are numbered from 1 to 12. A peg can be inserted on each corner of the icosahedron.
The white plates resemble dominoes, as they have a number between zero and three on each corner.
The white plates can be attached to the triangular sides of the Icosahedron.
The game can be played in two ways:
In the easy mode, the yellow pegs and the white pegs can be placed as desired.
In the difficult variant, first the yellow pegs are distributed by chance on the Icosahedron.
Then the white plates have to be placed.
There is only one rule to consider in both variants:
Each corner of a white plate points to a corner / yellow peg.
Therefore, each yellow peg is surrounded by five white corners.
The sum of these five white corners has to equal the number on the peg.
If you take a close look at the white plates,
then you notice that certain combinations of the corner numbers are completely missing:
zero, two, three
zero, one, three
three, three, one
two, two, one
three, three, two two, two, three
On the other hand, other combinations are three times present:
zero, one, two
zero, two, one
one, two, three
one, three, two
Other combinations appear only once:
zero, zero, zero
one, one, one
two, two, two
three, three, three
one, zero, zero
two, zero, zero
three, zero, zero
one, one, zero
two, two, zero
three, three, zero
It appears that plate corners with the value three are often used for pegs with high numbers.
Pegs which have a number smaller than five are almost exclusively surrounded by plate corners with a zero or one.
The time for playing this puzzle is about 45 minutes. The difficulty level of the puzzle
is like a moderate or difficult Sudoku challenge. But compared to other puzzles,
I would classify IcoSoKu as easy, as it is not really necessary to develop own ideas to master the puzzle.
I personally like IcoSoKu more than Sudoku.
One reason is that I do not need to worry about a new challenge.
It is simply sufficient to relocate the yellow pegs.
On the other hand, every Sudoku player knows the situation that he chose a wrong number
and has problems to recognize the correct numbers after correction.
By contrast, a wrong number at IcoSoKu can be simply corrected by detaching the wrongly placed plates.
In my point of view, this is the ideal puzzle for Sudoku lovers.
Due to its unusual look, it looks quite interesting and offers a different kind of optical aesthetic.
From Perry Mc Daniel
I do not know, if she ships outside Japan.
Some interesting IPP 32 Exchange Puzzles
From Fourier Idea Inc. (http://fourieridea.com/)
Topola is a spherical twisty puzzle with the movement mechanisms similar to a 2” x 2” x 2” Rubik´s cube.
However, its Sliding Shell mechanism makes it different from all other twisty puzzles.
This modularized puzzle is pieced together so that the user can manipulate into many possible topological orientations
and shapes by a simple twist of the wrist. You’ll notice immediately that it has no colors which are to be sorted.
Instead, you will find a magic globe on which five islands, a lake and an ocean exist. Moreover, you see prominent
symbols and animals are present which is part of a mysterious weave of riddles and stories leading you to the puzzle’ solution.
The big island is called Peaceland.
Six species coexist in the four territories of Peaceland in peace and harmony.
To prevent argument among the animals, the following species may not be neighbors:
In the middle of Peaceland’s lake is a sailboat.
Nearby, two whales are swimming in the ocean.
The first task is to sail into the ocean with the boat and to catch one of the whales.
After you’ve successfully mastered this first task, your next task would be to maneuver
the sailboat back to the lake of Peaceland with the captured whale. In the ocean, landlocked by four islands,
is a compass that is damaged during the capture of the whale.
Therefore, the final task is to free the trapped whale
in a way that will repair the compass, and therefore to restoring the peace between of the species.
The spherical puzzle’s twist action mechanism, invented by Mehdi Yahyavi, is made more fascinating
by its design and storyline as well. Topola is hollow, with twist mechanisms hidden within the coreless shell,
which permits movement most advance to other puzzle types known on the market.
The parts can also be easily taken apart and reassembled again.
Being a huge puzzle enthusiast, I think that Topola is ideal for children of all ages,
guarantee to entertain the little ones. All who comes in contact with the spherical device
will be enticed with the entertaining design and storyline entices all to play with the puzzle
to take the puzzle into the hand and to play with it. Solving the puzzle is not too difficult,
so one can achieve the solution after a short period of time. And if the challenge cannot be met,
simply disassemble the parts and reassemble to start over again.
Topola is original as it is unique. I especially like its originality
and the way it differs from all other twisty puzzles in design, story and mechanism!
From DBOX (http://www.dboxpuzzle.com/)
My DBOX Puzzle had still not arrived. I was eagerly looking into my mail box to see if there was a notice
that it had been delivered. It is one of the few puzzles which I had desired for a long time,
actually since I had started collecting puzzles.
DBOX is a Construction set which was invented by Boaz Leicht. Each package consists of 16 yellow and 16 blue cubes.
The cubes are available in two different versions.
Eight (4 yellow + 4 blue) cubes (receptor units) have a hole on each side.
The other 24 (12 yellow +12 blue) cubes have only a hole on five sides. The sixth side has a pin instead of a hole (connector units).
The pin can be attached to another cube on each side with a hole. Then both cubes can be attached with each other by a quarter turn.
The connection is very stable as it is not plugged together.
The receptor units serve a simple purpose: They hide all pins at an assembled piece.
A cube edge has a length of 2.5 cm, therefore, assembled parts have a handy size.
All puzzles which consist of cube units can be easily built by this technique.
Thus different puzzle types such as 2D Assemble Puzzles, Chess puzzles,
3D Assemble Puzzles, Maze puzzles and Interlocking puzzles are possible.
But 4x4x4 cubes consist of 64 cubes units, likewise the checkerboard puzzles consist of 8 x 8 = 64 cube units.
Therefore, it should be taken into consideration to buy two or three construction sets
(Not all 4x4 x4 Interlocking puzzles can be built with two construction sets as there are too many receptor units.).
The booklet which accompanies the DBOX offers many different tasks.
The tasks range from easy to difficult and are well suited for the whole family.
The booklet can be also downloaded from the website. But all tasks are only defined for 32 cube units.
Interesting puzzles such as interlocking problems and 8 x 8 checkerboard puzzles are not covered in the booklet.
Therefore I would additionally recommend the following books:
Jerry Slocum & Jacques Haubrich COMPENDIUM of CHECKERBOARD PUZZLES
This book describes over 400 checkerboard puzzles.
Kevin Holmes / Rik van Grol A Compendium of Cube-Assembly Puzzles using Polycube Shapes
The book can be directly ordered from Rik van Grol (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The book deals with over 157 interlocking puzzles. It contains very many interesting interlocking puzzles
such as Mayer’s Cube, King’s Court and Coffin’s Convolution among others.
It is as well a real treasure box for a puzzle designer.
Instead of building time consuming prototypes out of wood, the forms can be easily put together
and it can be studied how the shapes can be changed.
Not only puzzles can be played with the DBOX, but also strategic games. There are four interesting games on the website.
My favourite game rumis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumis) can be played by two players with two construction sets.
There are only few puzzles which I like on first glance. DBOX belongs to them.
The quality is superb; the connections are very stable and the parts can be easily handled.
As a variety of puzzles can be played with the DBOX, it is well suited for the whole family.
I would recommend buying at least two construction sets, better three sets.
From Zen magnets (http://www.zenmagnets.co.uk/)
I was already excited by magnets as child.
Attraction and repulsion are very fascinating to me.
I destroyed many things in order to get the contained magnets.
Until recently, I believed that I left magnets behind in my childhood
until I got to know magnetic balls made from Neodymium .
At the beginning, I did not pay much attention to these magnets.
They reminded me of Geomag, with the difference that the bars were missing.
My association was that it was a construction set. But far from it!
During my first attempt to put the shapes, I learnt to really appreciate the magnets.
All shapes failed. What had happened? One single misplaced magnet sphere was enough
to destroy the whole shape…. When putting a single magnet sphere, different ends snapped.
Nevertheless, I gained an important insight:
The Neodymium magnets are classical assemble puzzles.
The point is not to think out new shapes,
but rather to achieve given shapes by placing the magnet spheres.
Complicated shapes can be built by simpler shapes. The most useful and easiest shape
is in my point of view the ring. The rings can be combined to linked or coupled cylinders.
In a two-part coupled chain, the magnet spheres are right one below the other.
The polarity of the magnet spheres is in the respective chains opposed.
In a two-part linked chain, the magnet spheres have the same polarity in the respective chains,
therefore the magnet spheres lay shifted. By pressing a coupled cylinder, you obtain a two-layer cubic solid.
The most useful tool is for me a PVC Card. I use it to disconnect a complicated shape at a particular position.
Moreover, it helps me to connect two shapes at the right place.
I built a cube out of several two-layer cubic solids with the help of a PVC Card.
My magnets are from Zen Magnets. The standard set contains 216 5 mm big magnet spheres.
The magnet spheres are covered with a layer of NiCuNi which gives the magnets their metallic appearance.
The magnets are very strong so that two magnet spheres attract each other already from a distance of 5 cm.
The quality of the magnets is top. Even after extensive use, the coating did not go off.
In addition, there are a microfibre cloth, a velvet bag, a PVC card, a stainless steel plate,
a guide and a MDF hard case contained.
For me it was a completely new experience to play with these magnet spheres.
The puzzle is not only creative, but challenging, as you have to think how to achieve the imagined shape.
The puzzle is very absorbing, therefore it is in my point of view the perfect desk toy to distract from problems.
P.S.: There is a cool Bra Video at Zenmagnets, which is worth watching.
From rekubus (http://rekubus.eu/)
rekubus is an interlocking puzzle in the shape of a hollow cube that was invented by Mike Klotzki.
You immediately notice the rather unusual shape of the pieces.
rekubus consists of three different pieces:
8 corner pieces, 12 edge pieces and 6 side parts.
Additionally, there are 12 rails which serve to hold the pieces in place.
To solve the puzzle, it is advisable to build first one side
and then the rails which are only connected by the corner pieces.
and are also hold in position by these two parallel rails.
The edge pieces are respectively pulled over two parallel rails and stay attached like a clip.
The charm of this puzzle is to find out how to attach the rails.
The puzzle has a size of 6.5 cm and lies comfortably in the hand.
Moreover, it is very robust so that it can also bear strong loads.
At first glance, it does not seem to be very difficult to put the puzzle together,
as the position of the pieces can be easily recognized.
Nevertheless, logical and three-dimensional intellectual power is needed to attach the trails
and to build the cube bit by bit.
In my point of view, the puzzle is well suited for older kids as well as for adults.
The three-dimensional complexity of the assembly trains logical and analytical thinking
through playing and is at the same time not to difficult to be overwhelmed by the problem.
The speciality and the next challenge of recubus cubes is that any desired number of these cubes
can be linked with each other and put together to three-dimensional figures.
Thereby all parts of the cubes are used. recubus cubes are available in different difficulty levels,
whereby the building principle always is the same. You can choose between different colouring cubes
or six printed cubes whereby the task of the colouring cubes is to rebuilt the design of the cube.
The printed cubes have the further challenge to find the solution for the correct order of the pieces.
In my point of view rekubus is ideal for children from the age of 10 years on as well as for adults.
It is interesting that the cube is hollow. Therefore, it can also be regarded as an interlocking box.
rekubus Devil's Cube shall have 3 x 3 magical squares on all 6 sides.
This means that the sum on each cube side is always the same in the vertical, horizontal and diagonal direction.
The combination of the possible numbers is quite high and seems to be difficult on first glance.
If you look closer at a magical square of the 3 x 3 size,
then you see that the sum along a row/column or diagonal always equals the three time value of the number in the center.
As the six different side parts have different numbers, each magical square has also a different sum per row:
My solution strategy was simply to find a magical square for one side
so that the sum of the numbers on the side edges correspond to the sums of other magical squares.
Under this condition, only two to three magical squares stay in consideration.
As all numbers on the remaining four neighboured sides are known, the non-suited magical squares can be easily excluded.
I would recommend to purchase the rekubus Devil's Cube, as therewith you get two good puzzles at the same time
because of the combination of two tasks: an interlocking puzzle and a magical square.
Concerning the age, I would suggest a lower age limit of 12 years,
as from this age on children are familiar with algebra and thus can solve the puzzle.
Nevertheless, the both more difficult number cubes Devil's Cube and Champion are also interesting for grown-ups.
From W.G.H. Strijbos
From www.puzzle-shop.de (http://puzzle-shop.de/)
From Hans van der Zon (http://www.laserexact.nl)
From MO MATH MUSEUM OF MATHEMATICS (http://momath.org/shop/) or Artifacture (http://store.artifacturestudios.com/)
Frabjous, designed by George W. Hart, is a highly symmetrical geometric sculpture
and interlocking puzzle. The name Frabjous is borrowed from Jabberwocky
by Lewis Carroll: “O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
The puzzle has a perfect regularly form, as the corners form a (pentagon) dodecahedron,
although they are not connected. The thirty identical S-shaped pieces interfere with each other
in the inside without touching each other.
Three S-shaped pieces always build a corner.
In order to get a short imagination which corners connect the S-shaped piece,
you should look at two pentagons which share an edge.
The two corners which are farthest away are connected with each other by the S-shaped piece.
The symmetry corresponds to a (pentagon) dodecahedron. In addition, Frabjous has a chirality.
How to solve the puzzle:
At the beginning, you should assemble three pieces to a three-cycle corner.
Two further s-shaped pieces have to be joined on each free end in order to make a three-cycle corner.
It gets more difficult to connect further corners with a S-shaped part after having 12 pieces together.
The reason is that the pieces are in the way when the next part is inserted. On each intersection,
you have to decide to weave over or under the piece. It facilitates the decision to look closer at the symmetry.
Solving the puzzle takes about two to four hours.
I was astonished by Frabjous. The puzzle is completely different to other interlocking puzzles.
It has neither complicated notches, nor are there any pieces meeting in the center.
Instead Frabjous possess an elegant inner structure which is achieved by assembling simple pieces.
It is fascinating how the apparance of the puzzle changes by taking another point of view.
Viewed along the threefold rotation axis, it has a completely different appearance.
Frabjous is available in two different versions: blue acryl and Acrylite Radiant Acrylic.
I would recommend the puzzle in Radiant Acrylic, as it glistens in different rainbow colours according to its angle.
In my point of view, it is a mental challenge as well as a beautiful art object.
From Sonic Games (http://sonicgames-uk.com/)
Iball3 remembers of a traditional electronical puzzle from the eighties.
It has the shape of a small blue transparent ball.
On the ball are six buttons and a one-digit LED display.
A button will flash as soon as it is pressed in one of the possible colours red, blue or green.
If it is pressed another time, then it will flash in a different colour.
The following rule applies:
If a button is pushed and the colour is identical to the colour before,
then the lights will stay switched on, otherwise all lights will switch off.
The task is to press the buttons in the right order in a short time intervall (90 sec)
so that all six buttons have the same colour.
The puzzle has two levels. In the first level, there are only three colours (red, blue, green),
whereas in the second level there is additionally purple as colour.
The game is completely different compared to other electronical gadget games.
Traditional electronic gadget games are similiar to Simon or Lights out.
Simon's challenge is to repeat a given sequence which keeps on getting longer.
Lights out has lights which switch on or of if a button is pressed.
The rules which controll the lights are known.
Iball3 is different, as the colour which will flash is unknown.
I try empirically by try and error to get an overview.
I will explain this principle with two examples:
If I press two buttons, let's say A and B,
so the buttons will always flash in different colours.
Is there a certain pattern? Does the frequence repeat itself or does it happen by chance?
I press A and B 12 times in succession:
You can see that the sequence repeats itself after three moves.
Does the order of pressing the buttons matter?
Does the colour combination differ, if A is pressed first
and then B or if B is pressed first and A second?
I press A -> B three times in a row:
I press B -> A three times in a row:
=> The order does not matter.
Although this puzzle looks simple, it is a mental challenge and has an addictive character,
so that you don't like to put it away. It is therefore ideal for people
who like to crack a code such as scientists and computer freaks.
Nevertheless, other people will also enjoy its easy handling and fun factor.
Many thanks for the two gifts Ivan!!
MIRRORKAL / ESCHER
The Escher puzzle is a variation of the picture cube puzzle.
Many people know such a puzzle from their childhood.
Nine different cubes with picture fragments on each side have to be put together
to form six different pictures.
The idea behind this puzzle is relatively simple:
The puzzle consists of a frame and nine cubes. The frame has the same height as the cubes.
On each side of the frame are three picture fragments visible.
Each of the cube has a mirror which passes from the upper edge to the opposite bottom edge (along the diagonals)
and divides the cube into two parts. All nine cubes are transparent on two neighbouring sides.
The other four sides are with picture fragments. If a side with a picture fragment is next to a transparent side,
then you can see the picture from above. The reason is that the picture got reflected by the mirror.
It has a special charme to solve this puzzle:
At the beginning you only search for mirror-inverted picture fragments.
Some of the picture fragments are very similar to each other, as Escher's drawings were used as motives.
After finding all nine picture fragments, the cubes have to be put back into the frame.
This is not very easy, as the mirror-inverted picture gets reflected.
Thus, for each picture side, there are two to four possibilities.
Nevertheless each of the five tasks can be solved by analytical thinking.
The pictures have different difficulty levels.
Drawing Hands and Print Gallery are easiest to solve, Sky and Water 1 is most difficult.
Mirrorkal Escher is a bit similar to Mirrorkal Mona Lisa, but differs clearly from it.
The Mirrorkal Mona Lisa reveals through each sliding new picture fragments and lets others disappear.
To solve the Mirrorkal Escher, I search for mirror-inverted picture fragments
and think about the place and the direction of the cubes.
Moscovich succeeded in transforming a simple picture cube puzzle into a difficult puzzle.
I like especially the combination of picture search and logical conclusions.
Eschers motives match very well to this puzzle.
The puzzle is not only a mental challenge, but also an artistic pleasure.
It is a combination of puzzle and art.
MIRRORKAL / YOU AND Mona Lisa
There are very few puzzles which make me think of nice memomories from my past.
This puzzle reminds me of two things:
When I was small, I played with a picture cube puzzle and assembled different pictures.
It remembers me also of my first simple sliding puzzle with which I played during my schooltime.
There are various developments of the 3 x 3 sliding puzzle by well-known puzzle designers.
But almost all ideas focus on the restriction of the movement of the pieces.
Moscovich accomplished a feat with this puzzle. He combined a picture search,
whereby new pictures appear and different pictures vanish, with a sliding puzzle.
The sliding principle of the puzzle corresponds to the principle of an ordinary Nine Sliding Piece Puzzle:
The puzzle consists of a frame and 9 cubes which lie in a 3 x 3 grid and an additional field.
Eight of the nine cubes can be slided everywhere in the 3 x 3 grid.
The ninth cube can only be slided between the extra field and the neighbouring field in the grid.
The ninth cube serves rather as closure so that all fields in the grid can be placed with a cube.
The mechanics of the cubes is tricky. Each of the cube has a mirror which passes from the upper edge
to the opposite bottom edge (along the diagonals) and divides the cube into two parts.
To each of the four sliding directions (up, right, down and left),
there are at least two cubes of which the mirros have the same direction.
All nine cubes are transparent from above, the bottom side does not matter.
Three of the remaining four sides have pictures on the outside and the other one is transparent.
There are also pictures on the sides of the frame in the size of a cube side.
If a side with a picture is next to a transparent side, then you can see the side with the picture from above.
That is because the side with the picture was reflected by the mirror.
If you slide a cube, then the pictures of the neighbouring cubes or the picture of the cube which was moved may change.
There are two tasks:
The aim of the warmup challenge is to make the small Mona Lisa visible in the center and the remaining eight cubes shall work as mirrors.
No single cube picture other then the Mona Lisa shall be recognizable.
The problem is relatively easy to solve. The first step is to find the small Mona Lisa
which is depicted at one side of a cube. Then you have to think how the mirrors of two cubes have to be arranged.
Moscovich succeeded in designing a puzzle which is a lot of fun for young and old.
Pictures disappear and reappear in a magical way.
It is one of the few puzzles which enchant from the beginning.
From Quadratum Cubicum (http://qucub.com/)
Quadratum Cubicum is a dissection puzzle.
A geometric dissection means that one or more figures are cut into parts
so that the pieces can be used to build other figures.
Thereby the emphasis is to use as few pieces as possible.
The two most famous dissection puzzles you should already know are:
* the Tangram:
two squares have to be rearranged to form one bigger square
* The Five Square Puzzle:
five squares of the same size have to be rearranged to build one big square.
The Quadratum Cubicum dealt extensively with square trisection:
thereby a square has to be cut into pieces in such a way
that they can be rearranged to form three identical squares.
One of the trisection used in the Quadratum Cubicum is well known in geometry,
because it has been used to illustrate the Pythagorean theorem, more than one thousand years ago.
Mathematicians continue to search for new solutions nowadays.
Christian Blanvillain and Janos Pach found one dissection in 2010 using only 6 = 2 * (3 different) parts.
It is worth mentioning that each part has the same area.
The Quadratum Cubicum provides a set of the nine historical most important solutions
founded for square trisection problem. The puzzle consist to check that those solution are correct,
thus to assemble three small squares in a bigger one!
This Quadratum Cubicum has one rare feature: it can be played at different level.
That makes this puzzle affordable for young children, and also be be really challenging for puzzle guy.
If you merge all the pieces of the nine puzzle, then you have a really challenging 68 pieces puzzle to solve!
With all the pieces you can create a huge 42cm square, that can be divided in three medium 24.2cm squares,
that can be again divided in three 14cm squares, that can finally be divided in three small 8.1cm squares!
The advantage is that every body in the house can play with this puzzle.
The three 24.2cm square and the twenty seven 8.1cm squares are easy to find.
The big 42cm square is really tricky and the nine 14cm squares have very different levels of difficulty :
Easy (for children):
Henry Perigal - 6 pieces - 1891
Abu Bakr Al-Khalil - 8 pieces - 14th
Christian Blanvillain - 6 pieces - 2010
Medium (for every body):
Greg N. Frederickson - 7 pieces - 2002
Colonel De Coatpont - 7 pieces - 1877
Abu Bakr Al-Khalil - 9 pieces - 14th
Abul Wafa - 9 pieces - 10th
Difficult (for puzzle guy):
Nobuyuki Yoshigahara - 9 pieces - 2004
Edouard Lucas - 7 pieces - 1883
I chose a mini QuCub with Christian Blanvillain trisection.
The puzzle looks very elegant and is relatively big (14 cm). From one side the puzzle is shining a bit.
This effect is due to satined plexiglas. I like the composition which is related to the logo very much.
You can recognize on first glance that a bigger square shall be arranged. As already mentioned,
the puzzle from Christian Blanvillain is easy and can be solved quickly (‹ 5 minutes).
For a puzzler who only wants to have only one puzzle in his collection,
I would recommend the more difficult puzzle by Edouard Lucas.
The online shop (see http://qucub.com) offers the puzzles in different sets.
Thus it is possible to purchase all nine puzzles, a set consisting of three puzzles or only a single puzzle.
To conclude, Quadratum Cubicum is well suited for adults as well as for children.
The problem is easy enough for children so that they can enhance their analytical skills.
But the puzzle is also a challenge for adults, especially if trying to build a big square of 68 single parts.
From Eric Fuller (http://cubicdissection.com/)
From Karakuri Club (www.karakuri.gr.jp/creation/)
From TAQUINZE (http://taquinze.nl/)
Many thanks for the gifts Hans!!
From Amazon (http://www.amazon.com)
From CULICA (http://culica.com/)
Culica was invented by James Eadon. You can play a variety of
different games and puzzles with Culica. This is very unusual, as most
puzzles have only a limited number of problems.
With Culica you can play many types of puzzle, including matching
puzzles, assemble puzzles and different sequential movement puzzles.
Culica consists of a black, hollow cube which has 3 x 3 Slots on each
face. In addition to the cube, there are coloured pegs (28 yellow
pegs, 28 red pegs, 14 blue pegs and 14 green pegs). The pegs are
pushed into the slots on the Culica cube while playing. Different
coloured pegs can be recognized very easily, even in the dark.
Moreover they are big and can be well taken into the hand by children
The pegs are delivered in a bag. Additionally there are four
instruction cards with which you can play five different games and
The website is very pretty. Thus there is a forum, a blog and a FAQ.
There is a page with further rules for puzzles and games. The rules
are ordered according to difficulty levels.
Currently, there are 16 puzzles and 17 games on the site, which will
be added to with more rules in the future.
The game rules are well illustrated with many pictures. A few puzzles
are based on classical problems, but most of them are new. Contrary to
traditional puzzles, where a problem is to be solved, Eadon often uses
a score-based system. This motivates the user for continual
As there are so many puzzles, I will introduce only two examples:
The aim is to fill the whole Culica with pegs. Thereby the colour of
the pegs does not matter. The pegs are put with a Cube Hop, which
means that each peg which is newly placed has to leave a space
or a peg in relation to the last peg which was placed. Cube Hops are
only straight, not diagonal.
The CuFrog is relatively easy to play and I managed at first trial to
fill all slots except two with pegs.
It takes about 15 minutes to play the puzzle.
The constraint of CuRing is that pegs of the same colour have to keep
a minimum separation distance of four. This means that no two pegs of
the same colour can be closer than four spaces in straight lines,
however the spaces on the diagonal axis don't matter. I managed to
fill the CuRing up to 14 open slots.
Here is my solution:
It shall be possible to place 48 pegs on the Cube
so that only 6 slots stay open. This means that 12 pegs of each colour
have to be placed. This problem is already interesting as I did not
manage to place more than 10 pegs of the same colour. The game lasts
about 45 minutes.
I was surprised that it is possible to play so many games and puzzles
with a cube and some pegs.
With this puzzle kids can learn logical and analytical abilities by
playing. In my point of view Culica is ideal for school breaks - the
games are short and you can play alone or together with several
For adults, especially the harder puzzles such as CuRing are
interesting. (As well as competitive games like CuCombat).
From BALL.B (http://ballb.pl/)
BALL.B is invented by Andrzej Burkiet.
He registered his invention for a patent(A63F9 / 08 P 383002) in 2006
which he got in the following year.
It is one of the few puzzles which were invented in Poland.
BALL.B is a twisty puzzle, to be more precise a Megaminx, in the shape of a sphere.
Ball.B belongs to the group of Dodecahedral puzzles, i.e. it has 12 axes.
Neighbouring rotary axes have the same angle.
The puzzle has on the surface 12 rotary discs, whereby each rotary disc intersects with five others.
The rotary disc can be moved five times around in order to reach the initial point.
This means that each axis can be turned by 72 degrees.
Each rotary disc has a different colour.
To summarize the aim of this puzzle in very easy words,
you turn its discs until you restore the initial state.
BALL.B is available in different versions, whereby each version has a different difficulty level.
Nevertheless the mechanism is always the same.
One of the easier versions is BALL.B kropki.
BALL.B kropki has only the connection lines to the axes marked.
The puzzle can be solved straight forward within one hour without thinking a lot.
My approach was to solve first a rotary disc completely.
Afterwards I solved the neighbouring rotary discs.
BALL.B reminded me immediately of a basket ball due to its colour and shape.
The surface is covered with pentagons and the both different plastic colours make the puzzle look optically interesting.
The surface is rough which gives a nice grip.
The puzzle is relatively big (98mm) and has a weight of approximately 250 gramm.
Therefore it is well suited for men's hands.
I was a bit disappointed that the points are only printed instead of using different coloured plastic parts.
But I was surprised that the points are scratch resistant.
I am fond of the sphere form, as contrary to Megaminx it enables different difficulty levels.
I like especially the smooth turning, which I did not know from other sphere Puzzles.
It is well suited for children as well for adults.
From Jolie Spellen.nl (http://www.jolie-spellen.nl/) or CubeArt (http://cube-art.com/)
Cube Art is invented and designed by Durandus Dijken, who lives in Eindhoven (Netherlands).
I was surprised a bit by the name CubeArt, as this is a term from the art.
Cube Art refers to pixel like pictures which are created by piling up many rubik's cubes.
Nevertheless this design is inspired by the work of the Dutch painter Piet Mondriaan.
Piet Mondriaan is one of the founders of abstract painting and famous for its black grids
which are filled with black rectangular spaces in basic colours.
CubeArt is delivered in a plastic hard case box.
Inside are 8 cubic magnetic blocks and a thin magnetic board.
The eight black rectangular blocks have stickers on the sides and are hollow inside.
The blocks have different sizes, for example there is a cube with 1x1x1 and another cube with 2 x 2 x 2 units.
Of the remaining six cubes half have the size 2x1x1 and the other half 2x2x1.
The stickers have the colours: green, yellow, red, blue, orange and white.
The goal is to order the cube in such a way that each face has the same four-colour-combination.
There are altogether four solutions for the puzzle.
The puzzle is a classical 3-dimensional pattern puzzle in the shape of a cube.
Popular examples of this kind are Instant Insanity or Kolor Kraze.
Puzzles of this style are not very difficult, as you can find the solution by a systematical search.
To find a solution for CubeArt, I started with the biggest cube.
The combination is very high although there are only a few cubes to order.
Thus I needed about 3 to 4 hours to find a solution.
The magnetic board shows for three solutions the according colour combination.
If you use this hint and consider that the magnetic board is a border in the middle
which limits the combination possibilities, then the puzzle can be solved within 90 minutes.
While playing the puzzle, I was fascinated by the clicking sounds created by the magnets and its design.
Thus the puzzle is not only a mental challenge, but also an audible and visual pleasure.
It is a combination of puzzle, art and magnets.
It is well suited for all age classes.