Paradigm Puzzles are a series of six packing puzzles designed by William Waite and produced by Family Games America. I’ve been reviewing this series for a while, with already four of them reviewed, and today, it’s time for the Tetrascales.
The Tetrascales is, like all of the puzzles in the Paradigm series, visually stunning with a beautiful symmetrical pattern. The effect is created by 9 pieces with different arrangements, but always with four segments, hence the name “Tetra”. The board and pieces are made from laser-cut wood, with measurements of only 11.1 x 10.2cm (4.3″ x 4″) – This makes the puzzle very light to handle. I would’ve liked to see different wood colors for the frame and pieces to create a nice contrast, but it’s still well made.
There are hundreds of possible solutions with the empty space in various positions, 354 of them to be more exact. However, only a fraction of them are possible with the hole in the middle. Can you find one? – This is actually quite a difficult puzzle to solve. Getting the hole anywhere on the frame is easy enough, but being able to get it in the center has proved to be an arduous task. The pieces are double-sided, unlike some of the other ones in the series, so you can choose which side fits with your arrangement.
Usually, when solving a packing puzzle you start by one of the edges and work your way to the opposite one. With this puzzle, however, the strategy to solve it is a little different. After several unsuccessful attempts, I had to come up with a different approach, and started to place the pieces around the center towards the edges. Starting from the edges and hoping for the best as you approach the center is definitely not the best way to go about it, so after a while I was finally able to succeed.
This is a level 8/10 puzzle, and judging by the number of unsuccessful attempts, I’d say it’s about right. You can start by getting the hole in different places around the frame to better understand how the pieces interact, and when you feel ready to tackle a more challenging objective, go for it. The puzzle comes packaged in a different solution other than the hole in the middle, and without providing you with a solution, you really need to solve it if you want to see it in its intended state.
The Tetrascales is yet another fascinating puzzle by William Waite and a deserved member of the Paradigm Puzzles family. The high number of possible solutions ensures you can keep playing with it for a long while, even after you find the solution for the hole in the middle. A must-have for packing puzzle fans.
Availability: You can find the Tetrascales at PuzzleMaster as well as the rest in the Paradigm Puzzles family.