Sunday 18 October 2020

Juno Shows SDBB Master-y of his Craft

Juno's SDBB Master - just a 6 piece burr? Definitely not!
Stunning grain colour on it.
It is NOT a box! It is a Sequential Discovery Burred Box...Master edition.

Juno said:
"This is the most complex sequential discovery puzzle we have ever produced"
Who could possibly resist that?

Previously, I have gushed about Juno's earlier puzzles in the SDBB (sequential discovery burred box) - series (SDBB original here and SDBBB here) and they have appeared in my Top 10ish each year they have come out (No 2 in 2018 & also 2019). Rumour got out that he was making a final one in the series this year and that it was going to be the pinnacle of his crafting career. The hype was amazing and it was being discussed by all and sundry on line. Juno and Yukari had had a real problem with their site going under when they last had a big new release and they had boosted the server several times since then to cope with the strain. They also put out a request that people don't hammer the site and refresh every few seconds to try and purchase one of these new and wonderful puzzles. Needless to say, that request failed as it appeared like the entire world logged on to at 7am Brisbane time a few weeks ago. Yet again the site fell over spectacularly. I really have no idea whether any site could cope with such an onslaught (We all know that Eric had similar problems a few months ago). After an evening of intermittently trying to log on and getting nowhere I gave up and went to bed a little despondent that it probably wasn't going to happen (and I know of several other Brits who did the same). At this point I have to say "Thank Heavens for being a Middle Aged Bloke"! As a man of a certain age who likes to keep his fluids up to protect his kidneys, I suffer from the perennial side-effect of having to get up to release the fluids into an alternative receptacle (loo) at about 3am. Much to the disgust of Mrs S, I padded to the loo with my mobile phone and quickly checked what was happening at Pluredro. Oooh! I got on straight away and there was a clickable buy link. Click, click, PayPal, click and Yeeehaw! I went back to bed a few minutes later with a very large grin on my face and the following morning I was able to inform Mrs S that she had bought me my birthday present for this year. Of course she was totally overjoyed - Whack! Ouch!

The whole set of Sequential Discovery Burred Boxes
They were dispatched very quickly by Juno and Yukari and they arrived at the few in the UK who had been successful in the middle of this last week. I had paid my customs ransom immediately to ParcelFarce and it was due to arrive on Wednesday. I was very excited when I saw that Goetz had received, solved and written about his copy on Thursday and he said straight away that it is the best puzzle of the year - I had very high hopes.

This puzzle is BIG! Quite a bit bigger than its' predecessors at 133mm in each axis and is made of PNG Rosewood, Jarrah and assorted metal pieces. It looks, to all intents and purposes, just like a rather enormous and very beautifully coloured 6 piece burr. This time Juno has finished the ends of the burr sticks in a stepped manner rather like the signature work from Brian Young - to the right you can see the Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other made by Brian.

There is no indication externally that there is anything special about this puzzle. Until you start to play and straight away there is a huge hint that something different is inside. The Jarrah can be seen inside and suddenly you get just a hint of the fun that is about to happen. The second step, just looks you in the face and you feel compelled to do what is obvious and are rewarded with a burr stick removed from the contraption and an obvious compartment in it, which of course won't open despite the obvious handle to pull.

You can see just a hint of what might be in store just there.

First piece has a cavity
No, of course it won't open by pulling!
Ok, that won't open so what next? Go back to the puzzle and drop something on a sleeping cat - he doesn't seem to mind at all and the next step is possible - the cavity is open and inside is a lovely little tool. So far it has not been terribly difficult but a very nice sequence of Aha! moments.

Below is a very slight spoiler so I have put it behind a button - only click if you feel overwhelmingly excited to see a burr stick cavity.

Now I have another interesting tool and wonder what to do with it. Look around and the next step is obvious - the tool is used and another cavity is revealed. I don't want to spoil too much for people here. Gradually more and more tools are found and you need to work out how they have to be used. At one point I exclaim with delight as a particularly lovely movement occurs which was totally unexpected. Juno has put everything into this puzzle. After a little while we have all 6 sticks separated and then the task remains to open the remaining cavity - there is one cavity per stick and each one requires a different mechanism to be opened. Each cavity provides a new tool but as you move through the puzzle it becomes tougher to work out what to do with the tools - sometimes even use more than one at a time. I've been asked to hide these next photos behind a spoiler button. Don't click if you have the puzzle but not solved it yet - there is no real giveaway in the picture but I've been asked.

Interestingly, some cavities can be opened in whatever order you fancy revealing tools that need to be used later. I and a certain other friend definitely opened a few the wrong way and was left at the end with a tool that we had no idea what to do with and, having found the infinity symbol prize, still had an unopened stick. Well that's not very bright - time to think© and retrace my steps before a really big clever Aha! occurred. There is a particularly beautiful way to open one cavity that really hits you when you do it properly.

Finally, when you have worked out the entire correct sequence, the only description can be "GLORIOUS"! You will have found a whole lotta beautifully made tools and a whole lotta clever locking mechanisms and got a nice prize of an infinity symbol which makes a change from a loaf of bread!

The burr can be assembled without all the pieces inside which is a nice little extra challenge if you haven't done the "back and forth" thing like I did which left the assembly indelibly marked in my brain.

4 cavity covers and a burr
The full reset of the puzzle is delightfully doesn't require a full backtrack of every move. Place the various tools in the cavities and close them before the fancy burr reassembly is done and then it is ready to
do again and again and again! I never get bored with doing this one. The sheer complexity of this puzzle is staggering (it is simpler to solve than the Slammed car but much more complex too) and I am amazed that he managed to put so much into such a small space. Mrs S has excelled herself with  my birthday present this year - it will very much make up for the fact that on my birthday I have to Covid swab myself (yuk 🤮) and have blood taken as part of a study

My verdict? I love it! A candidate for puzzle of the year? Most definitely! Will it get to number one this time? You will have to wait until New Year's Day 2021 to find out.

Unfortunately these were all sold out after about 5 or 6 hours and I know that a good few people were disappointed. Juno cannot possibly make enough for everyone and some people will need to look at the auction sites to get a copy. Good luck to all of you who try - I hope it doesn't cost you too much.


  1. Whew! No bread inside? I guess that means I don't need to buy one.

    But wait ... no bread inside means it is NOT a puzzle box, so I DO need to buy one. Uh oh!

    1. For some reason bnotifications of your comments are always flagged as spam in my email despite being published - I will need to look into that and see what I can do.

      I am so glad that you agree, George! There are several cavities but no bread at all so definitely not a box. BUT I do think we need to stipulate that bread needs to be a minimum size to count!

    2. Well I'm not into SDs either so my decision was not difficult. This puzzle is hard to classify as it could fit into many categories: Burr, Box, SD.