Sunday, 20 October 2013

First Guest Post! Let's Learn About Packing Puzzles

OMG! A packing puzzle!!
So, many months ago, I mentioned in a post that if anyone had anything puzzle related that they thought would be of interest to my readers and if they would write something for my blog then I would be delighted to offer a guest spot! I had very few responses. I did have someone offer to write an article on why all of us puzzlers were crackers! We all know that anyway and when I asked for an expansion on his ideas it never went any further. I then had a couple of others reply and the posts they sent ended up as nothing more than an advert for cheap wooden jigsaw type puzzles that they were selling online. I am happy to provide a sort of sales opportunity for people if they genuinely have something that might interest me and especially you but it needs to be a quality product and something more than an advert - you all want information!

Back in August I was contacted by Matthew Yeoman who was the PR manager for a new company called Puzumi who were about to bring out some new puzzles. Since then it would appear that he is now working as a freelance writer but despite that, he still produced an article about the Puzumi puzzles that I think is worth a read. I was even more reassured when Gabriel produced a glowing review of one of their puzzles. Matthew, as do quite a few of you, loves packing puzzles but for me it is a love hate relationship because I am awful at them and don't really feel qualified to write about them. So please read on....

Hello you Puzzle Mad folks, my name is Matthew and I’m a packing puzzle enthusiast. Whoa, this sounds like AA for puzzle people! Kevin has been kind enough to let me write about packing puzzles for his blog. I’m going to give a rundown on puzzles in this style so that you have a jumping off point where you can learn about each type see what interests you and links will be provided (both internally and externally) so that you can learn more.

Kevin covers a wide variety of puzzles on this site that get into the worlds of wire puzzles, disentanglement puzzles, his favoured wooden burr puzzles and even new variations on the Rubik’s cube.


Packing puzzles, one of which can be seen at the top of the post, are a type of puzzle that offer users the chance to construct a puzzle that is far beyond the typical ‘cardboard with an image’ style that so many are used to seeing when they think of the word ‘puzzle,’ but with some shared characteristics that help sucker, er, introduce them into our wider world!



Four Piece Packing Puzzles

A common introduction to the packing puzzle world is through a four piece puzzle. These are made by a wide variety of manufacturers and explain themselves. One finite area, 4 puzzle pieces to assemble. Simple, right? At first glance, many new users think it’ll be a breeze to solve it - until an hour later when they’re still struggling with it!

These puzzles are commonly made of wood, such as those from Four Fit, or the Blockhead from Wood Wonders, and offer a good challenge on the first go. Solving it a second time tends to be much easier than the first and it’s value may decrease at this point as it’s about the challenge, right? Ok, for some people it’s also about the display value! Ed's note - I don't see a problem with that display! It looks quite neat to me. Plus I can find anything instantly!



Cube or Box Packing Puzzles

Make Room
A cube style packing puzzle is a box with objects that you must fit inside it to solve the puzzle. Various shapes of objects are used, but the basic goal is to get some seemingly identical objects into the box or on a tray, with puzzle pieces that stack upwards in a more 3D style - no glasses required. Commonly, various challenges are presented with each puzzle by using different configurations of the box itself, or by stacking the pieces outside the box in particular shapes.

These puzzles are less popular as they are not immediately recognised by outsiders as puzzles. We left one around the office here once and no one ever touched it. How can we madden and enrage our co-workers if they don’t want to pick it up?!?



Multi-solution Packing Puzzles

These puzzles cover a wide variety of different packing puzzle varieties. The type that I’ll be focusing on are the acrylic puzzles from Puzumi. This is the new company that has sparked my interest in packing puzzles. Yes, to be real with you it’s partly because I work for them, but also because they’re fun to use and beautiful to look at!


Hexnut Jr
This style of puzzle is well known for their range of difficulty levels - from simple puzzles such as the Pocket StarPuzzle, to more intermediate level puzzles like the Hexnut Jr (seen to the above) and concluding with a thousand possible solutions puzzle like the SuperRoundominoes (seen way at the top). Not only do these puzzles feature the standard challenge of putting together a puzzle, they also have two few other benefits. For starters, no insult intended to Kevin’s love of wood, the acrylic construction offers an astonishing variety of colours that turn your puzzle into eye-catching pieces of modern art. With the multiple solutions for each, you can think of them as changeable pieces of art that you can use your own creativity on, try doing that with the Jackson Pollock on your wall!

A unique feature of these puzzles is that of a strategy game which is included with each puzzle. You can have a quick game of strategy using your puzzle as you square off in a new style of game that brings together the fun of chess and puzzles! This is a chance for hard core puzzlers to get their kids in on using their puzzles with them so it isn’t just you sitting alone cursing at a puzzle by yourself!


Back to me again - thanks very much Matthew.
Since Gabriel seemed to enjoy his puzzle so much, I thought that all my readers should get to hear more about them - I have not personally tried any but am very attracted to the Roundominoes or the Super version on their site. The idea that there are multiple challenges as well as a strategy game all in one puzzle is of great interest to me. If you get to try it then let me know how it goes? At the moment I have completely blown my budget for a while and need to hold off!
Maybe I need to try packing puzzles again? Hmmmm!

New puzzle availability alert!!!

Breadbox by Dave Litwin
Many of you packing puzzle fans will remember when I managed to get hold of more or less the last one of Dave Litwin's Breadbox puzzles and gave it a rave review. Well, he has contacted me again to tell me that he has made a new batch ($40 each +P&P) and that they are available again in 6 different colour combinations. Pictures of the colours and the method of purchase can be found on his site here. I don't get anything for sending you there but do let him know if you go because of me.


4 comments:

  1. Interesting post, Matthew! I'm curious why you single out four piece packing puzzles? I think more in terms of the broader categories "2D packing puzzle" and "3D packing puzzle".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. George,

      Your broader categories are not wrong at all. I felt that to speak to the entire range of packing puzzles out there that I would break it down into 'really simple looking' packing puzzles and 'really complex looking packing puzzles.' Those headings are not quite as fun, in my mind, as the ones which I chose. The four piece puzzles are the ones I find most often as the simplest example of a packing puzzle, hence why I went with them.

      In addition, I would like to comment here on something Kevin wrote at the beginning. I do still work for Puzumi.com. We began speaking over my business email with my Puzumi signature, but then transferred over to my private email where I do some freelance writing and have a freelance writing signature. I'm not here to pull the wool over anyone's eyes. I do still work for them. But, as you can see from the above article, I'm interested in discussing the packing puzzle industry and not just the company I work for.

      I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

      Delete
    2. Hi Matthew

      I`m also a fan of packing Problems, but more and more the 3 D designs, but I saw the hexnuts and can Show you a very very similar design which was designed here in Germany years ago and produced from our Workshop Pelikan in CZ; send me a private email via www.puzzlewood.de and so I can send you some pics of that design

      happy packing
      Bernhard

      Delete
    3. Bernhard,

      Will do, always interested in seeing other designs.

      Delete

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