October 27, 2011

Log Jam

Log Jam is made by Creative Crafthouse and was designed by Vesa Timonen. It was entered in the 2002 Puzzle Design Competition under the name Lox in Box (Logs in Box). The folks at Creative Crafthouse were kind enough to send me a copy to review. Thanks!

It is quite nicely crafted out of hardwood and has a good fit and finish. Creative Crafthouse added a compartment to store one of the pieces, so it can be displayed unsolved without looking too messy, which I liked.

I had seen this puzzle before but never had a chance to give it a try. From seeing pictures, I had a few ideas for how it would probably work, but it turns out that I was way off. Unfortunately, when I was unpacking the puzzle, the solution slipped out and I caught a glimpse of it, which is pretty much all it takes. I should have been more cautious, but I do appreciate it when solutions are folded in such a way as to prevent accidental viewing!

That said, I still tried the approaches I had intended, and of course it didn't do much good. I like to think that I would have figured out the actual solution without too much trouble, but it is hard to tell. As such, I gave to my wife to see how difficult she found it, and she was able to solve it in about 10 minutes with a minor amount of encouragement. Funnily enough, she was very close to solving it, and only had to place two more pieces, and she gave up. I told her how close she was and she went back and solved it moments later. Another friend who is a fairly adept puzzle solver was also able to solve it in about 5-10 minutes, so that gives you a pretty good sense of the difficulty.

The solution itself is quite elegant and pleasing once you find it, which makes this a top rate puzzle in my book. Definitely worth checking out! Log Jam is available from Creative Crafthouse for $14.

There is another version of this puzzle called Lox in Box II that Kevin wrote about, so check that out too. It can be ordered from Sloyd along with Lox in Box if you are keen to try both for €19 each.

ThinkFun also produces a puzzle based on the same design and calls it Aha! Rec-Tangle. It uses square sticks rather than logs, which I don't think would change the puzzle much. It also has the neat feature of being able to store the pieces on one side with a cover, and the other side has the rectangular frame where you're trying to pack the pieces.


  1. I have Rec-tangle and am a bit bummed to find out it is the same as Lox in a Box. I guess Lox in a Box II is different, though.

  2. Hmm, this is hard to comment on without explaining how log jam works, but let me try.

    I have played with a Log Jam type puzzle. Ends were straight cut instead of sliced. On that puzzle I felt the solution was a bit of a cheat. One piece behaved "differently" than all the others if you get my drift. While it taught me to keep an open about solutions, it also made me think that another solution would simply be to trim parts to fit as that seemed equally as fair to me as what the solution was. I guess I just prefer linear solutions...


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