Siebenstein-Spiele has many interesting packing puzzles that go against any preconceived notions you might have on this type of puzzles. Some of these are quite unusual creations that will certainly baffle you and give you a run for your money. A Pair of Twins is one of such puzzles, but be careful not to be deceived by its true goal.
The design of the puzzle is made so that two sets of pieces are presented in two distinct shapes, a triangle and a square, both sets with completely different pieces. For contrast, one set is made with a light wood tone and the other in a darker shade. This is a rather small puzzle measuring 12cm x 7.5cm (4.7″ x 3″). The pieces are laser-cut from plywood.
The solving experience on this puzzle was almost ruined by poor instructions, plain and simple. The instructions come in English and German (the native language of the designer, Jürgen Reiche), but what it says in German is completely different from what it is written in English – Good thing I know how to use Google Translate.
This, of course, wasn’t noticed by me at first. Since I don’t know German, I trusted the English instructions, which merely ask you to “Cover up all pieces of one colour with all pieces of the other colour”. Now, anyone would probably interpret this as to cover one shape with the pieces of the other shape, and vice-versa…And that’s what I did for probably 15/20 minutes, until I started to suspect that I wasn’t going far with the current task at hand. Simply put, the pieces of one shape can’t possible make the other. So, my guess was that I was missing something. Indeed, I was.
After looking attentively at the instructions and noticing that the German instructions were a lot bigger, I suspected that something could’ve been lost in translation. Not only only something was lost, but they gave a completely new meaning to the description of the puzzle. It’s like it was written by two completely different persons. Roughly, the German translation made with the online tool says that you have to find an identical, congruent figure that can be made with both sets of pieces, for one color as well as the other. That’s a little different from what’s asked in English, wouldn’t you agree?
After discovering the true goal of the puzzle, it didn’t take me long to figure out the correct shape you must build with both sets of pieces…And voilá, the two figures are identical in shape and size, whether you make them with the dark pieces or the light-colored pieces. It can be a little challenging to figure out the correct shape, but once you do, it’s pretty easy to solve both puzzles.
Sometimes, poor instructions can make a difference of a good puzzle and a bad one. Fortunately, I was able to minimize the damage, and a simple translation cleared the subject. From now on, I will be more alert whenever I have to follow instructions by this manufacturer. I still respect Siebenstein’s work, as their puzzles are magnificently made. Just have to be more careful with what I read.