Philos, a German wooden puzzle manufacturer, makes pretty interesting packing puzzles. Most look very simple in design and concept, but they can still offer a great deal of challenge. One of these such puzzles is called the Tribar Puzzle, and it’s deceptively harder than you’d think at first.
The puzzle is nicely built with quality materials, not plywood. There’s a nice contrast between the dark-shaded frame and the lighter pieces. On the bottom of the frame you can see a black sheet of something velvety – it gives a nicer finish, even though it’s on the bottom – probably also to give it some friction and prevent it from moving much against a flat and smooth surface.
The Tribar Puzzle consists only of four odd-shaped pieces. There are three identical pieces, but all of them are made by gluing equilateral triangles half off-center from one of their edges. The frame is perfectly triangular, also equilateral, and the goal is to pack all four pieces inside. There’s only one way to do it, excluding rotations or mirror images. You can rotate or flip the pieces in any direction you want, though.
Rated as a level 2/4 by the manufacturer and 7/10 by PuzzleMaster, I’d say that the rating is mostly accurate. The puzzle is a little challenging, especially because of the Z-shaped pieces, but with only four pieces to move around there’s only so much you can do with them. It took me about 10 minutes to find the solution, so I’d say with just a little patience it’s perfectly possible for anyone to solve it eventually through some trial and error. The solution is not symmetric, but makes a neat shape (not chaotic).
The Tribar Puzzle is a simple but pleasant puzzle. It’s not frustrating to solve, and packing puzzle fans will thoroughly enjoy it. Philos has a lot of puzzles like this, so you only need to choose the one that most appeals to you…or get them all.
Availability: The Tribar Puzzle is available from PuzzleMaster for just $10 CAD. To check other puzzles from the same manufacturer, click here.