While most people find classic puzzles to be challenging, the same cannot be said for speedcubers who spend hours honing their skills with puzzles. As cubers, we’re used to solving similar puzzles and practising them. However, life’s no fun without a challenge. This blog contains a list of puzzles that require brainstorming and can help take your cubing skills to the next level.
Magnetic Building Blocks
Magnetic Building blocks are similar to a 3D version of the classic Tetris game. These blocks can be assembled to form various 3D shapes and structures using 7 multicoloured pieces. The main aim is to reassemble the pieces into a cube shape while learning and experimenting with pieces and creating different structures along the way. The puzzle is designed to improve Three-Dimensional Reasoning skills, problem-solving as well as hand-eye coordination.
Being a fairly simple puzzle, it is suitable for ages 4 and above.
Fruit Shaped Puzzles
Fruit-shaped puzzles are colourful twists on regular shape mods, making them even more confusing and complex to solve because of the varied shapes of the pieces. They can be great additions to your puzzle collection and give it a fun touch. The complexity however does lead to greater satisfaction upon completion, as you reap the ‘fruit’ of your hard work.
A klotski is one of the easiest and most interesting puzzles for beginners. It consists of a board and 8 pieces with an empty slot. The rules are very simple: mix the pieces, and move one piece at a time until the numbers are restored in the original numeric order. Klotskis also come in higher orders such as 15 Blocks and 21 Blocks, as well as in pictured versions to make solving more fun.
Higher order puzzles
The most common higher order puzzles range from 8x8-13x13, each increasingly more complex. Each variation is similar to the one preceding it, but the increased number of pieces adds an interesting challenge. Though not officially recognized by the WCA, these higher-order puzzles are the best way to improve and put your cubing skills to the test.
Locking puzzles involve a number of pieces being interlocked together that need to be put apart by observing and tinkering with the puzzle. Simple locking puzzles such as the Luban Sphere and Hero Lock are easy enough for younger children to solve and can help develop key observational skills. Puzzles such as the Big Triple Links Puzzles are easy to take apart but harder to reassemble, and develop a problem-solving approach by making the user solution oriented.
QiYi’s Jigsaw Puzzle adds an interesting twist to the classic Jigsaw Puzzle - the pieces are transparent. This forces the user to look at the bigger picture and is a great tool to build pattern recognition in children. With varying levels of difficulty, the puzzles only get more interesting!
The magic Clock is a two-sided puzzle, with nine clocks on each side. It consists of 4 dials, corresponding to each corner clock and 4 buttons that may be pushed in or out. The objective is to get all the clocks pointing at 12 simultaneously. Because of its different design, it is quite intriguing to solve on your own.
Wooden puzzles are structures that are supposed to be assembled without glue. These creativity boosters start off as a few boards with cuts but can make marvellous structures once completed. The different puzzle options include Aeroplane, Eiffel Tower, Ferris Wheel, etc. They can be used to decorate your home too!
3x3 Shape Mods
Shape mods or shape modifications are unusual twisty puzzles which have mechanisms similar to classic puzzles, similar to the 3x3, pyraminx etc. However, they look entirely different during and after a solve. The most commonly found 3x3 mod is the mirror cube, which is a 3x3 with varying piece sizes and no colours. Some other examples include cuboids, Maple leaf, Polaris, Puppet cubes and more.
Pyraminx Shape Mods
Similar to the 3x3 mods, pyraminx mods are a twist on the pyraminx puzzle. Each puzzle is different from the others, with its own complex mechanism. Though they’re fairly easy to solve, pyraminx mods can serve as a great challenge to the seasoned cuber.
The gear puzzles are 3d puzzles that use complete gear mechanisms. One rotation requires six 180-degree turns. The intricate design of the puzzles gives them a complex look. The objective of the puzzles is to first bring them back to their original 3D configuration and then solve the colours.
Avani Sood from Bengaluru has won 12 female national records overall and has been competing for the past 4 years. She started cubing when she was 11. Her main event is Megaminx. Apart from cubing, she loves to cook and read. She has participated in 10 competitions and won 1 podium.