It’s never too late to show some Christmas spirit… Or is it? Tannen Girlande is Constantin‘s idea of Christmas ornaments and looking at the design it couldn’t be more perfect for the puzzler in you. Made in the shape of a Christmas tree you’ll soon find this will the the hardest one you’ve ever decorated.
Tannen Girlande is comprised of a continuous loop made of 19 hinged pieces, reminiscent of a bicycle chain. There’s no beginning or end, but the star at the top is a good way to help you in reassembling the chain back to its triangle shape. Don’t go thinking this is a piece of cake to solve because of this small hint. In fact, the puzzle is rated as a level 9/10, and even though I reckon it’s a tad easier than that, I still think it can be quite challenging.
From the puzzle’s 19 pieces, most of them are double-unit pieces, but there’s also three triple-unit pieces and four single-unit pieces. To help you better distinguish them Constantin uses two wood colors, serving not only for practical reasons but for aesthetic purposes as well, creating a beautiful visual effect. The pieces are connected and made using three layers of laser-cut wood, and while the quality is not as good as hardwood it helps to maintain the overall weight of the puzzle to a minimum and easily manageable.
After gathering some courage and remove the entire chain from the triangle-shaped frame, I was now before a scary situation. The loop could be manipulated into countless shapes, and yet the only one required for me to solve this damn thing was taking its sweet time. Placing the first couple of pieces was easy, but as some pieces could be rotated beyond 180º and with all those empty slots screaming to be filled I knew this would take more than the simple trial and error approach you usually do with most packing puzzles.
So, instead of starting in one end – since there’s no beginning or end in the chain, I’m referring to the star – and work my way to fill all the slots hoping for the best, I took both sides of the chain – left and right of the star – and started to place them in the frame. This actually requires a bit of strategy and planning ahead, since you need to worry about the sizes of the segments and which ones to fold at the right angles. Nevertheless, and even with all these steps, the total time to solve the puzzle must have been about a couple of hours, as I didn’t finish it in one sitting.
Tannen Girlande reminds me of the times when I was little and had those fights with my bicycle chain trying to replace it. I’m sure some of you can relate. Solving the puzzle, however, can be ten times harder and more frustrating, but on the bright side you end up with your hands oil-free afterwards.
Availability: Tannen Girlande is available at PuzzleMaster for $49 CAD. To get to know other fascinating designs by Constantin be sure to browse his PuzzleMaster dedicated page.