In this Section,
24 puzzles / 2 pages:
These are solitaire challenges only, and in a few cases
have only one objective, one solution. The others
are more versatile, offering a whole series of designs
to make, in both two and three dimensions.

Also see on separate pages (not shown to scale):

                 







 


Click for disassembled view

PERPLEXING PYRAMID by Gordon Bros.

This is the hardest of the size-4 pyramids around. Six crystal-clear pieces have a unique solution to form an order-4 tetrahedron on the terraced acrylic base. In 2009, for its 25th anniversary, we gave the base a silver trim. A second shape to build has only 3 solutions. We've also come up with some two-dimensional variations and "pseudo-solutions." Just ask us. Recommended for ages 11 to adult. $21

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Click for disassembled view

GIANT PYRAMID by Gordon Bros.

The nine crystal-clear pieces of this monster fit just one way to make the order-5 tetrahedron of 35 balls on the contemporary-style terraced acrylic base. Solving it has been known to take anywhere from an hour to a year, or more. Solution is not included but is available. For its 25th anniversary in 2009, we added silver trim to the base. For the Maryland Renaissance Festival's 35th Anniversary in 2011, we made a special version on a jade-and-silver inscribed base. The Giant is recommended for determined teens to adults. $29

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Recommended accessory:  Velvet drawstring pouch,  $8

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Larger image of Warp-30

WARP-30TM
...proposed by Len Gordon, developed by Kate Jones

Pack the 8 all-different crystal-like pieces (30 balls) into four different spaces: 2 sizes of box, 2 shapes of pyramid. These present four levels of difficulty. The square pyramid has over a thousand solutions. In fact, any one of the eight pieces can form its top, as we learned from our friend John Blasdale, who classified, without computer, 935 (to date) solutions by how certain pieces occupy the various levels. The rectangular pyramid is the most difficult—for years it was believed to have just two solutions, until June 2007, when Gordon Collins supplied three, computer-derived. David Kausch separately confirmed this result in September 2007. Each has the same piece on top. Gordon Collins also worked out the distinct solutions for the other three spaces: Square Pyramid — 1120. Box 1 — 2370. Box 2 — 189. Thanks, Gordon! Warp-30 is painstakingly handcrafted with a handsome 8"x8" wood base, clear acrylic box compartments and a brass-like plaque. For ages 12 to adult. $85

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Image of linked
Oskar's Disks


OSKAR'S DISKSTM
...invented by Oskar van Deventer

Two nicely finished, 4" lasercut wood disks fit and move through each other's slots like a 3-D maze. It's not too difficult to solve but pleasant to do again and again. Best solution takes just 9 moves. We know of a prestidigitator who can solve it with just one hand. The linked position looks like a modern art sculpture. Cloth storage pouch is included. Oskar lives in the Netherlands and creates maze puzzles in his spare time. (Shipping discount) $25

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Guest Appearance!
INSTANT INSANITYTM
... by Frank Armbruster

This is the one! This classic cube puzzle has been a mind boggler since the early 1900s. It was popularized in the 1960s by Parker Brothers and was brought back by its original maker, Frank Armbruster, thirty years later. We now have his latest edition—all of them, the world's entire inventory— in well-made plastic in a slotted tray that lets you view all four sides while you're solving. The object? Arrange the four cubes in the tray so that all four sides display four different colors. This picture is not a solution. Infuriating. Each cube has all four colors, but in different arrangements, and it's extremely tricky to deduce which side should be up! If you're not familiar with this puzzle, here's your chance to experience what generations of puzzlers have struggled with. Additional challenges included, plus a poker-like game. Inquire about volume discount. (Shipping discount) $16

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How cool is this? This solution can easily transform into any tetromino (the 5 shapes made of four squares), also known as Tetris pieces. If old Archie only knew!

ARCHIMEDES' SQUARE
...described by Archimedes (circa 260 B.C.)

This 14-tile dissection is the oldest documented puzzle in the world, and the decipherment of Archimedes' rediscovered manuscript is a hot topic among historical scholars and mathematicians. Also known as the Stomachion, it even made the front page of the New York Times, December 14, 2003. We are proud to offer a playable edition of this puzzle, perhaps the first publicly available in two millennia. Luminous transparent colors in a sculpted 7" tray. Long unanswered:  Just how many ways can this square be solved? On October 31, 2003, Bill Cutler's program found the full answer of 536 distinct solutions. That means rotations, reflections, and switching of identical pieces are not counted as different. (Read the full story.) How many other convex shapes can the 14 tiles make? Bernd Rennhak in Germany found all 637 solutions. He also found that the set can solve 13 of the 14 tetratan shapes. The permutations are staggering. An amazing fact is that each tile's area is a whole number, based on the square as a 12x12 matrix. That allows each color to have an equal share of the total area. Here truly is ancient genius made visible. Some of the tiles' angles have sharp points, so we recommend ages careful 10 to adult.$39

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Challenge open to the world: Find a convex or symmetrical figure not yet discovered, and we'll send you a little prize.
TANGRAMIONTM
...designed by Serhiy Grabarchuk, extended by Kate Jones

This 7-tile square was inspired by the dissection patterns of Stomachion (see Archimedes' Square, above), the Diamond Puzzle of T. A. Snider, and the classical Tangrams. Tangramion has amazing properties of its own. One big surprise was that the square has only 10 solutions, compared to Stomachion's 536. To date, 93 convex shapes have been identified and solved. Only 33 mirror-symmetrical and 36 rotationally symmetrical shapes have turned up so far—partly due to the fact that none of the 7 tiles themselves is symmetrical. See these and many other clever and creative designs in the Tangramion booklet (.pdf file, 303KB). In warm Lucite colors of ruby, amber, topaz, in sculpted 7x7" tray. Color mix may vary. Endlessly entertaining and challenging for one player, ages 8 to adult.$39

Tangramion is a trademark of Serhiy Grabarchuk.

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