Showing posts with label Meffert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Meffert. Show all posts

Saturday, December 22, 2012

3 new toys from Mefferts

Today I'm bringing you the 3 newest puzzles from Mefferts: Jade Chopsticks, Gear Ball and Nautilus.

Each of these puzzles has just been released and are being shipped out these past two weeks.  If you ordered one, you should be able to get it soon if you haven't already.  Ok, enough of the messages from Uwe.

The first is the Jade Chopstics.  I had the joy of playing with this puzzle at least 2 years ago.  Ola has mentioned that it's been in the works for over 3 years, and to be honest, I wondered if it would ever be produced.  Hanayama picked it up a few years back, but to be perfectly honest, they didn't do as good a job as Meffert's did and that's not because we are friends.  There are a few differences, first the Hanayama is a 1x2x5 where as the Meffert's version is a 1x2x9.  Meffert's has curved edges, and it's got some lovely designs running around the outside.  He got the 'jade club' words along the outside designed by John Langdon, and the puzzle was named by yours truly.  I just wish Uwe would have had it done in the painted plastic as he did for the first of the Jade puzzles.  (Bug showed me a new program for taking photos so since it's christmas, I'm playing!)

The second puzzle is the Nautilus.  This one first came out on TP way back in 2009.  Tim Selkirk was the designer and sometime during that year Geert Hellings got his hands on one and showed it to Uwe...or told Uwe about it.  Mid-2010 Uwe started asking for the address or email of Tim.  I couldn't help because he'd been off line for a while and I sadly didn't have a nautilus.  Eventually the two got in touch and we now have a new puzzle.  I said it before, and I'll say it again, it's a great puzzle to add to your collection.  I love the look of it. The rainbow is fantastic!  The color is just the best!  it's such a girly puzzle.  There are 7 colored bits on it and each of the seven segments of the outer layer move.  It's a bandaged puzzle.  The inner layer though has only one place that can turn.  It's like a square one, but it doesn't change positions of the pieces as much as the square 1 does.  It also reminds me of morph.  It's actually a harder puzzle to mess up than to solve.  When you do manage to mess it up, it doesn't take a lot to solve it.  It can be done by intuition.

Last up tonight is the gear ball.  Uwe gives credit to Oskar for the design of it, but Oskar says he only made the gear concept.  :)  funny arguement to have.  "I DIDN'T make it"  usually it's the otherway around.  The gear ball is a dream to turn.  It just spins in your fingers.  Basically it's the gear cube with rounded edges and some little bumps added to help you turn it. I've really nothing much to say about this puzzle except the puzzle in video link has no lube inside it. It's all puzzle!

All of the puzzles above can be purchased on Meffert's.
Enjoy, Thanks for tollerating my Christmasy type photos this week, and don't forget to come back on the 26th for the 12 days of Christmas, Roxanne style.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Another successful puzzling weekend.

As always, it's a sad time when friends go their separate ways.  Sunday was the end of the event and it was doubly sad because it was time to say good bye to friends.  I always hate that part of the puzzle events.  Saying good by is painful even at the best of times.  This weekend it was extra hard because I know it might not be until after the first of the year that I see my friends again.

Because I'm so bored at these things, I first decided to go to my favorite shop and get a few puzzles for Otis.  Every time he comes over he brings me some so I decided to return the favor.  This time I picked him up a few classic puzzles, Make the letter: A, K, M, T.  A Hanayama (or maybe Beverly) soma cube type puzzle and a Lotte Crunky bar game/puzzle/toy.

When I got there, it was just bug and I for a short while, Michael came next and Da Yan.  It was a real treat because I enjoy watching all the kids faces when they realize who they are talking to.  When Uwe showed up, I think they were all in puzzle heaven.  I could give a more vivid description, but all I can think of right now is a tad bit vulgar so I'll pass.

After a while, a chap brought out some dice and showed us how to stack them using cups.  It was good fun and we all had a go.  Me?  I could get 4 to stand up.  Bug managed 3. I'm not sure about the rest of the guys.  Matt came around 7 to pick bug up as it was a school night and I took the opportunity to introduce him to Da Yan.  I've been going and spending weekends with the guys for around 3 years now, and this is the first one Matt has met.  See all you non believers, I'm such a good girl my husband trusts me. All I get up to is good clean fun.  Had to snap a photo with him in it just to make sure he was there.  It might have been a dream otherwise.

After Matt left, I had to take some photos for Uwe.  Turns out he pulled out some of the 4 layer pyraminx's and gave them out to a bunch of kids.  The deal was if they could solve them he would let them keep the puzzle, if not, they paid for it at a slightly reduced cost.  Good deal hey?  This was as close as they got on Sunday, but all were given a weeks grace period and trust to be honest.  Here's hoping one of them solves the puzzle.  

After Matt and bug left, the awards ceremony began.  Michael was up first, I followed as did Da Yan and Uwe.  There were a lot of awards and I bet this took over an hour to do. I think The Japanese ruled the day, but I could be wrong.  Remember, I don't take much interest in the competing bit so I take about as much in the awards.  All that won though were lovely kids and they had huge smiles and all wanted to shake hands with us.

When all was said and done, We took the time to snap a photo of the four of us in front of the stage.  And I enjoyed watching all the different countries competitors take photos in front of their flags.  I'm pretty sure they enjoyed it as well. The kid with Michael was the youngest competitor, the girl with me was a pyraminx winner, and the one with Uwe won on one of the Meffert's puzzles.  Gear cube I believe.   

Time to head out to dinner before removing all our puzzles and taking them home. Otis joined us and it was another first.  We had never all had dinner together before.  Michael pointed out that we have never been at the same place before so that makes perfect sense.  The food was good as was the beer. Even Uwe had a Stout with us.  But we did have a slight problem.  The photo on the right shows Otis and Uwe so engaged in conversation that you will notice, the rest of us had empty glasses--Otis was in charge of the pouring.  He got so engrossed in the conversation he forgot his beer duty.

Around 10:30 Otis took Uwe to the train so he could make the border crossing and we all went down stairs to pack up.  30 minutes later and we were in a taxi heading to Michael's shop to store the toys for the night.  As always, we ended up in a bar somewhere playing drinking games.  This time I joined in the fun and learned how to count to six in Mandarin. I still lost quite a lot even after learning because I had to count on my fingers.  A poker player I'll never be.  Otis at the end of the night was looking a bit forlorn at the cube I just stole.  Thank you Michael for talking Mf8 into letting me keep it!  It is just so pretty!  I've lusted after it for around 2 years now and can't wait until the rest of you get a chance to play with it. Brilliant puzzle it is.
As for other puzzles, well, Da Yan was his usual generous self and gave me a crazy pillowed three sided puzzle that he made, and another that I can't tell you about because it isn't out yet.  During dinner I pulled out TomZ's constrained cube (the Shapeway's version) and because we were discussing it, He made me another using the pieces of another cube he has made....And that one I"ll leave alone because it still isn't my place to say.  I gave him a copy of my pionir pyramid along with a bracelet puzzle I've put together and a copy of the square in a bag.  And no, I know he won't copy it!  He's too honest, and quite frankly, too bright to have to do that.  

All in all, it was a great weekend and as always I look forward to the next one. I hope Tom and Leslie and Ming and Aj and.....can all join us!  I'm thinking December when I head over for a conference. Boring English lecturer by day, not so boring puzzler by night.....

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Friends and puzzles

One of the highlights of my year is the GZ meet in October. It usually happens over one of the weekends of the national day holiday. Mainly I guess because everyone can get there and we have time to spend together. This year there is no GZ meet. Instead, friends have come to HK for the Asian championships. Now I'm not a competitor or a speed cyber at all. But if my friends are there I'll go.

I've been busy working but last Sunday I managed lunch with Otis. Always a pleasure. Yesterday after work I ran to the venue and met Michael, Otis, DaYan, and a lad from Shenzhen whose name escapes me. We all had a nice hot pot dinner and some great puzzle and non puzzle chat. During dinner some great (non puzzle) news was delivered and I discovered DaYan and family were off to Disney on Saturday so I was volunteered to be the tour guide. We rode a few rides (Da Yan Managed to solve a puzzle while riding on Autopia!) and then headed for lunch at the Hollywood Hotel.   I was disappointed because there were no characters there. But the food was good and the kids played a bit in the game room. Then it was back to the park for a few more hours of play. Four rides and DaYan and his family went off to play some more. Bug and Miss N. went their separate way and I headed off to the competition to meet Uwe.

Now I'm going to be honest here and say that I find competitions incredibly boring.  I enjoy the company and the cubers though so I go along.  And even thought I say that, I found this year to be quite interesting as I met a bunch of people from different countries along the way. I walked around, snapped a few photos, chatted with Jing and Ulrich for a while and then we went to dinner.  I guess they were so far behind schedule that our disappearing for an hour or two didn't much matter.  We returned to the venue around 8:30 and waited some more....this is the way of competitions, lots and lots of waiting.

Uwe did a little thing with his ball cubes and the treasure chests.  The players were happy, they got free cubes.

Which brings me to question, what about the helpers.  I know they get the t-shirt and a pin, but does anyone ever think to give them cubes?  ha! I just did!  Lucky draw I guess.  This could be interesting.  :)  I'm feeling devilish!

Today is the finals and the presenting of awards and such.  The end of the competition and the end of the exhibition.  Time to bring my toys back home where they belong.  It was great to see others enjoy them, but it will be nice to see them back on their shelves.

Ok, me?  I'm off to go pick up a few toys for Otis and then head over to bore myself to tears yet again.....

Thursday, September 27, 2012


This isn't the first I've done and it won't be the last. I enjoy them. But it's a bit of work.
Getting the information on the puzzles. Finding the puzzles. (in my house that's hard.) Setting up the cases. Leaving work early. Ouch! That's a hard one.

I sit here waiting for the people to arrive so we can set up. A nice young lad came over and introduced himself to me. Poor guy. He now has to put up with my security issues. See the puzzles they want me to put out are:
a) expensive
b) irreplaceable and
c) favorites and/or special in some way

No locks on the cabinets?!? HELLO!!! I've demanded that since day one. The boxes are plexiglass for heavens sake. Did they think I would just leave more than double my annual salary there for the taking? I guess when all you do is play with a 3x3x3 you don't care. Me? I care.

Let's see what happens. In the mean time I sit here and stew. It's a shame because unless something is fixed. I'll walk away. They didn't ask for your everyday puzzles. They want my grandfathers whiskey bottle, they want Gundam, they want the heads, they want Jumbo and my think like a man, they want Uwe's balls for crying out loud. In other words they want the best. Dilemma. What to do? Mark some papers and calm down. Then think.

Well that worked, and Michael did to. He's very calming. Maybe his voice is soothing, or maybe he just knows how to reassure me all will be ok. Or maybe it just goes to a long standing friendship and having resisted him on more than one occasion. Whatever the reason his heart or his shoes...(insert melodramatic cartoon screech) wrong movie! By eight o'clock we set about setting up. (I'll jump to the end here.). By midnight we finished. And you thought I was joking when I said it took a long time.

There was the usual in solved puzzle that needed to be fixed. There was the usual panic when we thought a piece was missing. The standard changing of the cabinets. In the end it all looks pretty and fits together nicely but to begin with it sure doesn't.

Michael finished his cabinets early. He had two and I'm guessing because they were his own design he was able to sort the order in his head nice and early. Me? I've had other (work!) things on my mind and thought I was doing good to find all but three of the puzzles they wanted to display. That only took Miss N and I an afternoon. Another four hours to be exact. Luckily for me the organizers had an idea. Not a great one, but all I needed was a start and I was off and running. It all worked for me after that.

In the end I put together five cabinets. Michael had two. And AJ and judochen had one. When I left there were 190 puzzles on display.

If you have nothing better to spend your time on and you happen to be in Hong Kong from 28 September through 7 October, come over to Plaza Hollywood in Diamond Hill and take a look at what  we put on display. Who knows, you might see something you've never seen before.

You can see a video of the puzzles on display on my YouTube channel.
More photos are available on Facebook.

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Oskar? Treasure Chests

Yeah, why not. I have been holding on to this puzzle (secret) for quite some time now. A few lucky fellows got to see it at IPP in August. Oskar for one. I know there is a story on his Shapeways page about this one. Any way, it's a nice little puzzle. A bit of a lark though as far as solving and such is concerned. It's a standard 'Rubik's cube', but with a twist.

You see those little teeth looking things in there? They are locks. The little locks have to be lined up just right, or the puzzle will not open. See this puzzle doesn't have a core, it's got a big gaping hole in the middle of it, but don't let that fool you. It's a good puzzle. A great Design by Oskar, a good product by Meffert's. You simply can't go wrong with that combination. (And don't even think of asking me for the 'simple' solution)

What? You thought you would get the one with the standard Meffert's colors on it? No such luck. For this one they have gone with bubbled up stickers. Yes, they are special. It's a material called "oxygen" But I don't think it is good to breath in. I've seen the factory workers using masks around it. (yes, you can boo) The stickiness seems to be pretty good. I have a pyraminx on my shelf using it, and it is a far cry different from those puffy-stickered-made-in-China cubes that we have all tossed in the bin. There's a goofy story at the end of my 30th anniversary pyraminx video about the stickiness.

So I know that you are all wondering what's up with that USB thing there and I'll tell you. It's a surprise! :-) Uwe has put a bit of puzzle information on that little USB that I think you all will find entertaining, if not enjoyable. And no complaints about duplication...some people just don't have all the time in the world. To quote Jerry Loo: (PS - there are other equally or more important things in my life apart from puzzling!)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Have pyramids?

I do. More than one as it happens. To be honest, I have too many to count so I've decided yet again to write about those that I have on hand. (can we see a theme developing here? When Rox runs out of puzzles on her shelves....the blog may end. Just kidding)

Ok, so what have we got here? Well It looks to me like 9 different puzzles. All pyramids and essentially the same. There. Done with post. Nah! I wouldn't do that. That would be just mean. Ok, back row in that photo are a prototype of a Meffert's Vulcano, a Rasta pyramid that I made with stick on jewels, and a Professor Pyraminx.
Middle row: 1980's sphinx puzzle (The KO of the Meffert's with the gold stickers), a 30th anniversary, 25th anniversary, and Jean-Marc's pyraminx (bacon is it?)
Bottom row: Eastern Bloc 3/4 size complete with missing tiles and a SmaZ edge turning pyraminx.

So what if anything is different about these? Well, The Vulcano besides having an odd spelling is an odd sort of puzzle. Those edge bits-they get mixed up. so instead of having just the pyramid shapes to worry about during solving, there are now extra bottoms or sides to fix. A headache to say the least. This one was made by Timur who seems to be making a lot for Uwe as of late-with more to come I'm sure (meow!) The Professor pyraminx is also made by Timur, and it is huge! Well no, not really, see Uwe has this thing about volume. He's making all his pyramids have the same volume. I don't really understand that, but I'm sure there's a math geek out there somewhere that can explain it to you if you really are interested. The professor Pyraminx isn't that much harder to solve than a normal one. Ok, there are two more layers, but really that just means 2 more bits to think about.

The real fun comes in the middle row. The 25th anniversary pyraminx has metalicized tiles on it. We've seen those around for at least 5 years. The 30th anniversary ones have a spongy type time on them, and the logos are embedded in the plastic itself so they won't rub off. I like that bit of it. That gold stickered KO from Taiwan...I searched up and down for one of those. It only took me about 20 years to find one. Now I know you're thinking WHAT??? But seriously, I kept getting outbid on them-I mean, I do have my price point, and for a KO I won't go over that. So there we have 3 bog standard pyraminx's.

Why do I like these? Well they talk to me. This has got to be the first puzzle I have ever had that talks to me. And it doesn't matter which pyraminx it is, or who made it. That puzzle just loves to chatter. Now I know you all think I've gone round the bend now, but that's not the case. It's a simple matter of I have never learned how to solve the puzzle. Or should I say I've never memorized a solution to the puzzle. I guess anyone can do that and once you solve it, the fun is over because with a memorized solution you can do it again and again and again. with this one? I can't. Or should I say I won't. I did that with the helicopter cube-was chatting with a friend and as I was talking him through some moves, I realized I stumbled upon a memorized solution. That was about a year ago and I haven't picked up the helicopter since.

oh, back to talking puzzles. Right. I don't know how to explain it,but they just kind of let me know what needs to move where next. And yes, it takes me 10 minutes or so to solve one. But back to these puzzles. The last one in that middle row was a gift from a friend. It's not super difficult. He's bandaged a few bits here and there. It's more difficult trying to work out how to mess the puzzle up to be honest. But this one sits front and center on my shelf because he made it for me. And it's one of a kind. It doesn't get any better than that.

This one has a completely bandaged row, and some bandaged corners on it. A nice fun little puzzle filled with Love!

On to the bottom row. The Eastern Bloc puzzle I won on eBay. Where else? But the seller very conveniently left off the missing 3 tiles. I wanted the puzzle and couldn't get my money back on that one. Live and learn. I've never bought from that country again.

Ok, last one. SmaZ's edge turning pyraminx. Actually, it really isn't his. It's Aj's and DDR's. But who's going to tell on me. I played with theirs in GZ October 2010 and wanted one. I asked SmaZ, he asked AJ, and I got my puzzle. Nice ha? So how does this one work. It's a mess. But fun. Very hard to solve really. I know SmaZ used 3 floppy cubes to make it. As with all their work, this one is hand made. Other than that? I can't tell you anything. Will he make more? I doubt it, he said it was a pain. But then that is what I am so I know he didn't mind too much. He's used to my odd requests.

Have I given you enough pyramid power for one night? Ok then, I move on. It's Christmas! I want to point your attention to a great website that has an annual free puzzle advent calendar. (You might even wonder what those others are all about, and if you like what you see, well the subscription isn't all that bad) You won't be disappointed if you head over to PuzzleBrains I've been getting the magazines since they started and have enjoyed every second of them. (even the bits I didn't finish) Don't tell Scurra, but I think he's not such a bad bloke after all. I mean, he entertains me for hours on end so he can't be all that bad. Loony maybe, but bad? Nope!

And for those of you who are dying to find out, I managed to find some glue! Thank goodness for a bug and a husband who understand Roxese. The broken puzzle is now on the mend. In the morning I should be able to try and solve it again.