As a fan of the classic Tangram puzzle, I am always interested in any type of variants available. Some are really good in capturing the simplicity and yet addictive concept of creating all kinds of geometric shapes, others not so much. Fortunately,Jean Claude Constantin‘s Formidable puzzle falls in the former category. On a curious note, the name of the puzzle is not a German word this time – A rare sight.
With only three pieces, this puzzle couldn’t be simpler. It consists of three right triangles of different sizes, made with laser-cut wood, which is lighter but of lower quality, and comes with a rectangular board with 13 shapes painted on it. This board is not part of the puzzle itself, which I thought at first. All shapes must be done with all three triangular pieces only. All four wooden pieces have a hole in one of their corners, so you can attach a string to keep them from getting lost.
Just like a Tangram, the three pieces comprising the Formidable puzzle can make countless shapes, not just the 13 shown. Making a specific shape is relatively easy, although some of them might be harder to solve than others. I was able to make all included shapes in about half an hour, so overall I’d say it’s much easier than the classic Tangram – I remember taking lots of time with just one Tangram shape, but then again a Tangram has seven pieces and a lot more possible assemblies.
PuzzleMaster rates this as a level 7/10, but it really varies depending on the shape you’re trying to solve. I would actually rate it as an average of 6/10, because most shapes only require you to change the position of one or two pieces from one shape to another.Update: This puzzle was actually developed by mathematician Georg Brügner, known as Drei Dreiecke Tangram. Constantin only presented with a different design including the board with 13 shapes.
Even though you can go through all 13 shapes pretty quickly, I find this as a perfect puzzle to keep around you for when you take a break from work. Even when you solve all included shapes you can always try to find new shapes, so there’s a lot of potential in this little puzzle.
Availability: Formidable is available at PuzzleMaster for just $12.99 CAD. You can also check other designs by Constantin.