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A Plethora Of Puzzling Puzzles

May 25, 2008
Mechanical puzzles have been around for well over two and a half thousand years, and many traditional formats have remained for a good length of time. Today, with more accurate design and manufacture, including the use of computers to design and model some of the more intriguing puzzles, there is a very wide range of puzzle types, which range from mildly intriguing to downright devastating.

Many of these puzzles are made from quality materials, such as wood or metal, which helps for a number of reasons. Firstly, the metal or wood is relatively inflexible, which means that the puzzle can't be forced, which would be the case if it were made of plastic. Secondly, being strong, if the puzzle is forced, or simply used a great deal, it is unlikely to break or snap. Thirdly, many of these puzzles are very tactile, with beautiful wooden shapes or cold smooth metal objects that weigh a fair bit. The fourth reason is that these puzzles also look very beautiful, and many are used as decorations or ornaments on desks whilst they are not being worked on. Often they are used as conversation pieces, and everyone likes to have a go at a puzzle.

There are different categories of puzzle, and these are: sequential puzzles, take apart puzzles, put together puzzles, disentanglement puzzles, dexterity puzzles and impossible puzzles. Each of these categories has a different style and challenge, and generally people have their favorite types of puzzle, or find that one particular category which seems to suit them best.

Sequential puzzles are those that require a sequence of steps or stages done in the right order to achieve success. Of course, working out the order of the different steps is the hardest thing. The most popular sequential puzzle is the Rubik's cube, although the Tower of Hanoi is another, older example.

Take apart puzzles are, as the name implies, those puzzles which come assembled, and you have to work out how to disassemble the object into its component parts. Often metal examples of this type are more common, involving nuts buried into wood that won't turn, or bolts that are hooked over a key with teeth seemingly too wide to allow it to drop off.

Put together puzzles are very similar, but in this case you are provided with a set of shapes or blocks, and you have to work out how they fit together to form a shape, often a cube.

Disentanglement puzzles are often referred to as Chinese puzzles, and usually involve two lengths of thick wire that have been bent into curvy shapes and linked together. For these puzzles, no force is needed at all, and if you only twist and manoeuvre the loops the right way, they will simply fall apart. But these can be devilishly difficult to do until you know the method, at which point they become easy.

Dexterity puzzles are those which require hours of patience to accomplish a feat, such as assembling a bolt and nut inside a bottle using nothing but a small ball positioned correctly to force the bolt up against the nut and turn it. You need a lot of time and patience to enjoy these!

The final category, impossible puzzles, are those objects constructed to look absolutely impossible, and the puzzle is to try to work out how they were created. Popular examples include things in glass bottles, such as a tennis ball, an egg or a full desk of cards.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about kids toys, dolls, and video games. You will find the best marketplace for kids toys, dolls, and used video games at these sites for kids toys, mechanical puzzles, impossible puzzles, dolls, and used video games.
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