September 9, 2011

Wunder Puzzle Series

Jeff Chiou of recently loaned me this interesting-looking set of puzzles by Eric Fuller.They are called the Wunder Puzzle Series and there are three different mechanisms, each in a different wood. Check out Jeff's review here. I love the idea of puzzles that look the same and have different opening mechanisms, so I was looking forward to giving this set a try! The photos below are from Eric's site, Cubic Dissection.

The first in the series, made out of Bubinga, is a copy of an old design that Eric came across through Peter Wiltshire. The angles of the joint are quite unusual, making you wonder how the puzzle could possibly come apart. In addition to being a tricky joint, there is a locking mechanism that most experienced puzzlers will be familiar with. Folks who haven't done much puzzling could be stumped for a while though!

The next in the series is made out of Walnut, and has the same exterior appearance as the original. However, the mechanism is completely different! While it is pretty unusual, it is probably the easiest of the bunch since the solution reveals itself pretty quickly as you fiddle with the puzzle. Still, it has an enjoyable little A-ha! moment when you realize what is going on.

Finally, we have the Paduak version which takes the original design to the next level, requiring a number of moves to unlock the joint. I had a good early guess as to how this one would work, so it only took me a few minutes to open. However, there was one additional trick that I did not expect right at the end that slowed me down a bit. I think most will find this moderately difficult, though it definitely has the potential to stump somebody for a while! This one is my favorite of the series since it is a bit more complex than the others.

The craftsmanship of all three is superb, with an excellent fit and finish. I like the woods Eric chose, and particularly like the bright redness of the Paduak. Overall, very nice puzzles that were available for quite a reasonable price (around $50), though now they're all sold out. I'm a bit sorry to have missed them, but if I remember correctly I had just purchased some  particularly pricey puzzles when these came out, so I decided to hold off. Thanks again to Jeff for the opportunity to try them!

Check out MagicPuzles.orgAllard's Puzzling Times, Neil's Puzzle Building Blog, and Jerry's Small Puzzle Collection to read plenty more about this set of puzzles.

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