The Cone, from the German manufacturer Philos, is a very nice wooden puzzle, designed by Andrew Snowie, which will show you that appearances can be deceiving. At first, it doesn’t look like it’s difficult at all, because the pieces all have distinct shapes, but as you start to disassemble it you’ll soon discover that it may be harder than you were expecting it to be.
The concept behind the Cone is quite original, but I guess they ran out of originality when it came to name the puzzle as simply Cone. They could have used some puns with the word cone, like Cone-demned – Probably a bit lame, but it’s just a thought… As I was saying, the concept of the puzzle is fantastic, and that’s what really matters.
The puzzle has a striking visual appearance, with some of the pieces in a contrasting color, although they’re random colored and won’t help you in the actual solution. They do make for a nice visual effect, though. I also like how the pieces are cut, as though they’d represent different cross sections in a cone.
The 13 pieces comprising the puzzle are a mixture of rounded shapes and three “special” ones (two tetrominoes and one pentomino). These special pieces are hidden underneath the round-shaped ones and once the puzzle is taken apart, they’re the harder ones to assemble back. In order to make the special pieces fit inside the puzzle without having their corners showing on the outside, some of the corners were truncated to make the outside surface as smooth as possible.
This is a level 8/10 puzzle, according to PuzzleMaster‘s rating system, but even though the special pieces offer a more complex challenge, the puzzle can still be solved quite easily, mainly because of the nature of the rounded pieces, as they provide a clue as to where they must be placed. As mentioned above, the hardest part of assembling back the Cone puzzle is to place the special pieces, but even these ones offer another hint if you careful inspect them. The truncated corners on the special pieces pretty much tell you how they must be placed, which is to have these very corners point to the outside. Two of the round-shaped pieces have a triangular hole in the middle, and as such they fit right into the truncated corners. If you separate the pieces in groups, you should be able to solve it within 10 minutes or so. There’s no downloadable solution, but I reckon you won’t be needing it. Persistence and patience will eventually get you there…
The Cone puzzle is definitely a nice puzzle to play with. Philos makes some really nice puzzles and this one is no exception. Puzzler or not, I believe you’ll enjoy this one, not only as a nice decorative object, but also as a fun challenge. Worth a try.
Availability: The Cone puzzle is available at PuzzleMaster for about $31 CAD.