Jahresringe, by Jean Claude Constantin, is an interesting-looking and colorful packing puzzle unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The design of the puzzle begs for attention, as the seven disks, each with a distinct color, look mesmerizing with a ring pattern reminiscent to a cross section of a tree – Hence the name Jahresringe (year rings).
The puzzle, consisting of seven circles spread across the wooden tray, is neatly packed with three pieces per circle. What you see when you first pick up the puzzle is a simple pattern of three of the same colored pieces per circle – That’s the easy part, which is hardly a challenge. The tough part, as it is described, is to get three different colored pieces per circle.
Surprisingly, this puzzle is a lot tougher than I initially made it out to be. It’s considered a level 7/10 by PuzzleMaster, but after trying dozens of different configurations I’m still at a loss. I can’t figure out this puzzle. There’s no mention in the description as to other possible solutions, other than three different colors per circle, but coincidentally, the only one I found so far other than the same colored pieces per circle is a mixture of two, three and even four colored pieces per circle.
Now, I’m not sure what to think of this puzzle. Either something was lost in translation, and it’s quite possible, or I’m simply out of shape for packing puzzles at the moment. I discovered the mixed solution almost by accident, when I noticed there were two large pieces that could fit perfectly into a circle. After some more fiddling with the pieces I got another circle with two pieces and started to wonder about the rest of the circles. Since there already two circles with only two pieces each, there must at least two other circles with four pieces, to compensate for the two missing ones…And indeed I found those configurations. Now all I had left was three circles and nine pieces. It wasn’t too difficult to fill the remaining circles afterwards, and the result can be seen above. I’m still unsure about the ‘three different pieces per circle’ solution. I just can’t find, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a possible solution. If it’s possible, then I reckon the puzzle is much harder than a level 7/10.
Jahresringe is, without a doubt, a very clever design and quite an original concept – What else is knew for a Constantin puzzle… Featuring different wood colors in his designs is again put to a good use, as the visual effect is rather stunning. If you have this puzzle and found the supposed main solution, please do let me know.
Availability: You can buy a copy of the Jahresringe puzzle at PuzzleMaster for $21.99 USD. You can also browse dozens of other interesting designs by Constantin.