Die 5 Elemente is yet another gorgeous design by Jurgen Reiche and produced by Siebenstein-Spiele. This might even be the most beautiful puzzle they created so far, and even though I’ve probably mentioned this about another one of their puzzles in a previous review, it seems like every new puzzle they release looks more stunning than its predecessor.
Built using five different colors for the wooden pieces, the puzzle consists of 25 unique squares. How’s that possible? Each piece is a combination of a color with a shape (five different shapes available). Since you have five different colors and five different shapes it’s possible to combine a color and a shape for all 25 pieces, thus avoiding duplicates. The pieces are laser cut and the shapes are encrusted in the squares to have contrasting colors within each piece. The tray is made of wood and acrylic and measures about 16.5cm in diameter (6.5″).
The goal of this puzzle is well known and has been reproduced in countless variations. The original design, to my knowledge, was invented by McLoughlin Bros and dates back to 1888, known as The Giant Puzzle. I reviewed a while ago a modern version of this classic puzzle. Between the two versions (seen below side by side), it’s not difficult to guess which one I prefer. Nevertheless, without the original there wouldn’t be a version by Siebenstein-Spiele and I’m glad I own both versions. The idea of the puzzle is to arrange all 25 pieces so that no two of the same colors or shapes can be present in any vertical, horizontal or diagonal line.
You can start by focusing on one challenge at a time, like avoiding having two of the same colors in any line or just do the shape challenge. When you understand the logic for either one of these two challenges you’ll have less difficulty to solve the main one. There’s just one way, that I know of, to do this, regardless of the shape you start with at the top left corner.
Solving the puzzle may be a little confusing at first, especially because in the Die 5 Elemente each piece has two colors, so you should focus on only one, either the color of the shape itself or the color of the square surrounding the shape. I chose the color of the square because it’s much easier to differentiate. To start the correct sequence you just need to choose five unique pieces in shape and color and then place them in either the vertical or the horizontal. It’s not important which way you place, but keep consistent as you proceed. The next line you place you just have to follow the same rule and try to not repeat any shape or color. ?When solved, you’ll see that every line follows a specific order. There’s no trick involved, just pure logic.
Die 5 Elemente is the perfect coffee table puzzle. It has an easy to understand goal and its stunning appearance will surely make it an easy pick for anyone to try their luck. This is why I love to collect puzzles. Not only the challenge is very enjoyable, but the design also makes it a must-have for any collector.