September 28, 2009

Lonpos 303

I was down at Eureka with my girlfriend and while I was browsing she started playing around with a plastic packing puzzle named Lonpos 303 that they had on display. She doesn't generally care much for the puzzles that I had been buying, so I was happy to see her enjoying this.

After I had finished browsing, I walked back over and saw that she was still working on it. At first, we thought that the idea was just to get the pieces into the rectangular box, and of course you can do that, but it is quite challenging.

After playing around a bit, we found out that the little booklet that we had been ignoring contained a number of preset 'problems' where a number of pieces were already laid out and your task was to find the positions for the remainder of the pieces.

The problems were ranked in order of difficulty, which was equal to the number of pieces you needed to place. This was cool because you could make the puzzle as easy or as hard as you want, depending on your skill level. I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with this concept, but at the time I was quite excited that this kind graduated difficulty puzzle existed. Here I had been spending $12 on a puzzle, but this $20 puzzle was 300+ puzzles in one!

Another cool thing is that you aren't just limited to the flat rectangular packing problem: if you flip the case over, there is a 5x5 grid of holes that you can use to build a pyramid! Again, the book had a number of pyramid problems laid out. So the puzzle was both a 2d and 3d packing puzzle with lots of different problems to solve. We both thought this was great and ended up buying the puzzle.

We've had a good time with it: the fact that it has a carrying case and such makes it quite easy to take on trips and such. The round colorful pieces are nice as well. The only gripe I have is that it isn't the sort of thing you would want to be fiddling with when you might need to pack up and leave quickly, like if you are waiting for your airplane to board. The box won't close until you solve the problem at hand, so you either need to figure it out or use the picture on the front of the booklet to place the pieces. That said, I like how everything packs away neatly and compactly, so I don't think I would change this to make it easier to put away quickly.

This puzzle has won a number of awards (source):
  • Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal 2007
  • Dr.Toy's 10 Best Games 2006 Award
  • Creative Child Magazine's Top Toy of the Year Award (Brainteaser games category) 2006
  • Parents' Choice Foundation's Gold Award 2006
  • Mr. Dad's Seal of Approval 2006
  • Toy Tips Mark of Excellence 2007
  • iParenting Media Award Winner 2007
  • The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval 2007
  • Major Fun Award 2007 (Thinking Games)
  • The Toy Man Seal of Approval and Award of Excellence and Editor's Choice awards 2007  
Another similar puzzle that I don't have yet is Lonpos 84T: it is a big puzzle that is similar to Lonpos 303, except that it is more of a coffee table puzzle than something you would want to tote around with you. This thing is big! They have it on display at Eureka, but since it costs $80, I don't think I'll be purchasing it any time soon. $50 I could do, but $80 seems like a lot for what it is.

ThinkFun makes a lot of these types of graduated puzzles, such as Rush Hour and River Crossing, which are also cool. I don't own either of these (yet), but I've played around with them a bit and they are entertaining.

Tomorrow, I'll write about some handmade wire puzzles that I bought from a street vendor in Costa Rica.


  1. There is a set very similar (identical?) to Lonpos 303 called "Kanoodle". Amazon sells these for under $7. The Lonpos 84T is equivalent to stacking spheres to form a tetrahedron, I think. I agree, the 2D plus 3D nature of these puzzles is very cool!

    River crossing is addictive. I haven't found Rush Hour so addicting, but I haven't played with it as much.

  2. Ah I hadn't heard of Kanoodle and looked it up. It looks like it is the same as Lonpos 101 which has 101 puzzles in the booklet. Lonpos 303 comes with a 2nd booklet with another 202 puzzles. Originally I got the 101 thinking I could get additional challenges for free online, as it says on the box, but the site only has one challenge per day. So I ended up exchanging it and getting Lonpos 303 since it was only a few bucks more.

    It would be great if somebody wrote an online generator for these so that you aren't limited by the booklet.


    Lonpos 2010 new item, we will select the fans who sign on in the activity period to send free one.

  4. So glad I found this post. I think Lonpos 505 will make a good Hanukkah gift for my brother.




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