# Mechanical Puzzles Addiction

Getting really addicted to mechanical puzzles recently. Here I make a brief review of each type of puzzles I’ve played.

Below is a picture of all puzzles I’ve printed/bought so far.

## Turning Interlocking Cube (TIC)

The objective here is to assembly all pieces into a cube (complete or imcomplete). The tricky part is that the sequence of solving the puzzle involves at least 1 turning.

Based on my limited experience, there are some common patterns solving this kind of puzzle:

- Observe, and try to find the final layout, i.e. how pieces make up the final cube.
- Assembly the largest 2 pieces, make sure they can go to the final state with all possible turning and sliding.
- Try to insert the 3rd biggest piece. This involves lots of trial and error due to the intricate interlocking of the first two pieces. The turnings usually happens here. Once you inserted the 3rd piece, all movements left are often sliding.
- Slide the 3 pieces like a sliding block puzzle, facilitating the insertion of the remaining pieces.

My initiation into TIC with Clutch 1 was a challenging yet immensely satisfying journey that took over three hours to conquer.

## Packing Puzzle (3D) / Sliding Block Puzzle

The goal is to put all pieces into the pacing box, a seemingly straightforward task.

Usually, the solution is a perfect fit with no spare space. This could be a significant clue, because it tells you how the last one or two are put in. Based on that, you can then infer the layout of all the pieces.

That’s just half of the work, the other half involves some tricky moves. You already know where the pieces should go, but moving them to the place require some counter-intuitive sequencing and moving around.

3 very well designed packing puzzles, 4L, TUTU and Hat Trick are very similar in the tricky-move part. You put one piece in, and another. Then inside the box, you slide these pieces around so that the first piece goes nearer to the opening.

The interesting part is that the shape of packing box is both a restriction and a clue. That’s why I don’t really like Takoyaki, because you could do all the puzzle-solving outside the box. Putting pieces in is not difficult at all.

## Tray Packing Puzzle (2D)

In this puzzle variant, the goal is to place all pieces within a tray.

The first thing is to build an intuation about the size of remaining area when all pieces are put in, this helps you eliminate lots of possibility. The symmetry of both tray and pieces could also be a hint.

Then there is not much logic, just inspiration as well as trial and error.

Solving a 4-piece puzzle may not be overly difficult, but the “eureka” moment is genuinely rewarding.

## Symmetry Puzzle

Assembling several pieces into a symmetrical shape, whether in 2D or 3D, presents a deceptively challenging task. Defining the goal merely in terms of symmetry introduces numerous possibilities. To navigate this complexity, consider the following questions:

- Where the symmetry axis could be?
- Are all pieces placed orthogonally in the solution?

Restrictions based on specific shapes assist in eliminating incorrect options, although articulating these constraints verbally can be challenging.

## Other Assembly Puzzle

Puzzles like Quarlet and Slideways Cube, offer a twist where the final layout is easily discernible, but assembling the pieces individually is impossible. The only viable approach is to move all pieces together simultaneously.

## By the Way, Puzzle Video Games:

In addition to mechanical puzzles, I have a keen interest in indie puzzle video games. Compared to mechanical puzzles and logic puzzles (like soduku, slither link, heyawake…), there are something unique about puzzle video games:

- Distinctive mechanism. Which is impossible in the real world.
- Constructive puzzle solving. From some ideas, you build the solution from nothing.
- Meta puzzles. Puzzles within different layers of abstraction of the same theme.

For those unfamiliar with puzzle video games and see this post by chance, I recommend you Paquerette Down the Bunburrows, Baba Is You and PortalSnake, whose core mechanism are unique, creative and interesting. If you prefer more traditional games with mechanism possible in the real world, try Stephen’s Sausage Roll, Snakebird and Puddle Knights.

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