Jean Claude Constantin has the habit of designing pretty odd puzzles, many of them leaving us to think what to make of them. Schwungvoll (German for energetic/peppy) is one of those puzzles. With a mesmerizing pattern of wavy and colorful wooden strips, the puzzle is quite intriguing – There’s no clues as to how you should go about solving it. None whatsoever.
The puzzle is comprised of 16 colored wooden strips. I want to believe all sixteen colors are different, but some of them look similar and are hard to distinguish between one another. Nevertheless, the effect is rather beautiful for a wooden puzzle. The puzzle is built in two sets of eight strips laid out perpendicular to each other. Each strip is attached to the bottom set ton two separate strips. Note that the screws form a different pattern in each strip with various lengths. The end result is that each strip, either the top set or the bottom set, has two screws along its length. The goal, as you might be suspecting by now, is to take the strips apart and then put them back together.
Now, because the strips are so tightly bound together, there’s hardly any room to move them back and forth. All you can do is move the strips a couple millimeters apart from each other, and that’s because of the looseness in the screws, otherwise you’d think this wasn’t a puzzle at all. I’m not even sure if the strips are supposed to come out separately or in groups of two or three. There’s simply nothing in the puzzle that indicates one way or another.
PuzzleMaster rates the Schwungvoll as a difficulty level 9/10. Well, to me it’s a level 10, because I don’t have the slightest clue on how to even begin solving it. I’m really at a loss here. I suspect there’s a very specific sequence of coordinated moves you’re supposed to follow. Also, given how tightly the pieces are kept together, we’re probably talking about dozens of movements before you can separate all the strips. I’ve tried everything I could and it’s still pretty much in the same form… Well, apparently not everything, or I would’ve succeeded by now, but I’m out of ideas. It’s such a gorgeous puzzle, though…
Schwungvoll is probably one of the hardest puzzles I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to solve by Constantin. Its design is very attractive and elegant, but behind that pretty cover lies a puzzle so challenging it will baffle the most experienced puzzlers out there. I’d love to see this one taken apart, so if you happen to solve it, please let me know how you did it.
Availability: The Schwungvoll is available from PuzzleMaster for $31 CAD. You can also check out other great (and less challenging) puzzles by Constantin.