|I couldn't resist these three!|
The only downside to buying from the New Pelikan workshop was that their website was really useless and impossible to tell what was available and how much anything cost. I advised Jakub about it repeatedly and the answer was that it was a work in progress. Now finally you all can see their wares easily and order from them with ease. Due to the vagaries of international postage you still need to order by email rather than a shopping cart but this, for me, actually makes for a much more personal service.
The new website:
is absolutely stunning and shows off the available puzzles in all their glory with detailed information and prices. The one thing you will all see immediately is that the prices are VERY reasonable indeed! This does not mean that the puzzles are made cheaply! Absolutely not! The workmanship is definitely first rate - the finish is wonderful and the fit of the pieces is as perfect as it is possible to be! One new feature with the current batch of puzzles is that the name of the puzzles is deeply engraved into the wood. I don’t think it is laser engraved either because there is none of the characteristic burning or smell of laser work. I assume it is done on a computer controlled mill.
|Engraving on the puzzles|
|Delight - a great description!|
|5 beautiful boards|
|Optiborn - currently sold out|
There are again a few blind ends during the solve but there is definitely a rather nice pathway during the solution which seems really quite intuitive. Of course, it is not simple! I got about 15 moves in and got stuck - no matter what I tried I couldn't progress and had to put it down for a while. The following day I struggled again until I turned it upside down and for no good reason other than a fresh viewpoint, I could suddenly see the move I was missing. This occurred a second time towards the end! I failed to find the penultimate move for several days making me think I had gone down a really really long blind end before finally I could just see it and out the first piece popped. This provided a really satisfying aha! moment which is what we all crave.
|It looks so simple but has a pretty high level|
|Castle - just fabulous!|
Needless to say, I had absolutely no recollection of the solution and had to start all over again. I did quickly find the rotational cheating move that Jerry found but shied away as this is not allowed. Despite having solved it before, this puzzle took me several hours of going round and round in circles before I could make enough room to move a piece to an exit point. The actual solution level is not particularly high at just 220.127.116.11. But because of all the movement it is much harder than you would expect! The design of this puzzle is pretty much as perfect as one can get with so few pieces - there is a lot of room to explore where pieces can go and many moves are not at all helpful in your progression but in moving about you get to gain an image of the interior paths within the frame. What is actually required (even more than with Optiborn) is to plan your route once you have gained that knowledge - it is an absolutely beautiful dance of 4 pieces within a very limited space.
|Simple pieces but a very complex frame!|
On Facebook, I was asked by a twisty puzzler where he should start with burr puzzles. He had been entranced by the shear beauty of the puzzles that a few of us had posted and wanted to try them out. Without hesitation, I suggested buying these three from Jakub. They are complex enough to challenge even an experienced puzzler without being so hard as to put off a newbie and are all beautifully made yet still affordable. If these manage to snare him then of course the next step is to start ordering puzzles from Alfons and Stephan who make some seriously beautiful yet incredibly difficult puzzles. Their puzzles have prices to match that complexity - they are NOT expensive for what you get but are not really suitable for a beginner. I think he will be ensnared!!!
The shithole gets cleaned!
Some time ago I bemoaned that I couldn't give you photos of the current state of my collection because my study was in a state of disarray - Yep! It was a shithole! Yesterday the present Mrs S had had enough and she finally forced me to spend a day reorganising, cleaning and dusting everything. The pictures of the result are on my New Additions page here and they reveal that I have a bit of a bad habit!
But at least I still have room for more!