In today’s day and age, many people buy products without fully realizing the extent of what goes on behind the scenes. Who designed that puzzle? Who are the real people reinventing classic board games and puzzles for various markets? We like to help occasionally bridge the gap between products and the people who bring them to life. So, today I’d like to talk about Jürgen Reiche, the designer behind the famous Siebenstein-Spiele brand of mechanical puzzles. In the label’s own words, “our company, Siebenstein-Spiele, has been operating in the puzzle business for over 20 years now. In 2012 we started our own production and since then we have been manufacturing our own product line of high-quality wooden puzzles, hand-crafted with laser technology and designed by ourselves.” After a bit of background about the designs, we’ll showcase our favorites from the Spiele collection, available through our own Kubiya Games online store.
All of Siebenstein-Spiele’s puzzles are immediately distinguishable by their characteristic laser-cut look and colors. They are not always difficult in a time-consuming way, usually more of a simple, unique, yet still puzzling way. For example, a puzzle with 50 complicated pieces, here everybody can tell right away that this puzzle is complicated. Its solution is often a laborious and time-consuming task, however not extremely difficult if you take your time. On the contrary, Spiele puzzles might consist of only a few pieces, and trinkets like this have a very different style of fascination. The casual observer might think that putting together 2-3 pieces is child’s play. But, that’s when the puzzling adventure really begins! Trust that there will be an exciting twist, and much more than meets the eye in regard to the challenge at hand. Reiche says that it’s not often he manages to design a truly great puzzle, so we are lucky to be able to show off some of his excellent work! Check out these designs below:
Puzzle Box 06 – Sequential Puzzle Box
The Puzzle Box 06 is a beautifully round puzzle box with a clever, secret, hidden mechanism. Do you think you can open the box lid? The beautifully rich, dark wood grain makes number 6 in the collection a beautiful collectible item to keep long after you’ve solved the device itself. As an added bonus, there is enough space inside to store precious items like jewelry or secret notes if you choose to give the box as a gift. The solution is beyond clever, and unique, but still within reach of the average person if they are curious enough about the inner workings. I like the unique, puzzle piece design that’s engraved into the wood grain!
Lock 64 – Coding Puzzle
What could be more fun and deliciously frustrating than a lock without a key? In the puzzle world, Lock 64 is a tricky one. The goal is to figure out the correct combination in order to open the lock. The key is your brain, and there’s no rush, just an exciting, puzzling journey ahead of you – if you’re willing to try. The difficulty level on this one is a 5, so I would recommend this to serious puzzle fans, or, to re-emphasize, anyone with the patience to keep going and challenge themselves. It’s worth noting that, merely having knowledge that the solution to this particular puzzle is utterly unique and ridiculous, is actually very helpful in solving it. You begin solving with the knowledge that standard methods may not apply, and outside of the box thinking is truly a must. The rewards are great, however. After completing this puzzle, you’ll have no choice but to proudly display it on the mantel and challenge future visitors.
Pandora’s Puzzle Box – Sequential
Just like the mythical tale, Pandora’s Box is full of secrets and inspires intrigue among those who attempt to open it. Unlike the story, opening the box will not unleash terror into the universe! Nothing but food for the brain and spirit here, and you’ll definitely have a ton of fun solving this one. The device is a sequential puzzle box, and there are “only” 3 steps to unlock the open the box. Of course, this is another example of tricky concepts coming from simple designs. Reiche again sets his sights on elegant solutions that often don’t require laborious or methodical solution patterns. This particle puzzle is a difficulty level of 3 on the Kubiya scale, which makes it a great choice for beginners or experts.
Like any puzzle developer worth their salt, Siebenstein-Spiele has a vast collection of design concepts and mechanical puzzle brands that are sure to keep any puzzle enthusiast on the hook. True fans can always find something to love from Spiele, whether it's sliding puzzles, packing puzzles, disentanglement puzzles, puzzle boxes, or even the most uncommon and unique designs in the business. Jürgen Reiche has been quoted by the Metagrobologist declaring, “A good puzzle has a simple form, a clear design and solid workmanship, yet still remains inscrutable and mysterious…” We agree whole-heartedly, and hope that hearing about a fresh, creative mind inspires you to keep the mysteries alive at home. Maybe even with a puzzle!
Cheers, thank you, and happy puzzling to all the creative minds out there.