It’s that time of year again! Holidays are fast approaching and there are plenty of loved ones to shop for. Everyone is trying to find that special, unique type of gift that your relative or friend might actually use. Instead of buying some ordinary gift that they’ll put aside to collect dust, we would love for you to consider a mechanical puzzle or board game from Kubiya Games. There are a wide variety of puzzles for all skill levels and age groups. It can be intimidating to select the perfect gift from such a vast collection, which is why every year we create a gift guide to help narrow your focus with our latest additions as well as reliable favorites. Check out the categories below that will point you in the right direction depending on who the gift is for. As always, these are just the highlights, visit the Kubiya Online Store to dive into the complete collection of puzzles available to you.
We call this gem Don’t Break It due to the fact that you will definitely be tempted to break the puzzle at some point. But that’s the fun! You can use this rope puzzle to lock people or yourself out of a bottle of liquor, wine, or anything else your heart desires. More specifically, it’s a high-quality, hand-crafted wooden wine rack puzzle with a unique, ancient brain-teaser mechanism quite different from other disentanglement puzzles. The ropes and shapes must be untangled in a precise, clever way so as to release the wooden cap that secures the bottle. You can combine this puzzle with Mom, Grandma, or any woman’s favorite bottle of wine/liquor and make it an alluring puzzle experience while they gaze at the bottle that is just out of reach. No judgment if you want a bottle to drink on the side while you work. Only 4 moves to free the bottle….. how difficult can it be? We’ll leave that for you to discover. Don’t Break It is a creative, original, and re-usable gift that can be passed forward to another friend or brought out at dinner parties/family gatherings to challenge your guests!
$42 | Difficulty Level 3/5
Heart Tangram $52 | Difficulty Level 3/5
Love Puzzle - Hanayama Metal Puzzle $20 | Difficulty Level 2/5
Queen Cast Chess Puzzle - Hanayama Metal Puzzle $37 | Difficulty Level 3/5
Hip Flask Puzzle - Sequential Metal Puzzle $268 | Difficulty Level 3/5
Christmas Elk Jigsaw Puzzle - Pop Art Puzzle $48 | Difficulty Level 3/5
Our Barricade Board Game beautifully captures the essence of a great strategy game, and any Dads or Grandpas out there will love the themes of war tactics that are used - especially if they love to binge watch the history channel! Each player (2 to 4 players total) is racing to get any of their own pieces to the end of the board before the other, dodging white barricade pegs that are placed at strategic locations on the board. If you land on another player's game piece, you send them back to the start which is a fun way to tease each other and develop healthy rivalries. For an extra twist, landing on a barricade gives the player the option to move the barricade to another position to (hopefully) block the other player. We highly recommend this game because of its unique nature, depth of strategy, and ability to be shared with the whole family. And, chances are you’ve never heard of it! Many people who were completely unaware of Barricade are now die-hard fans and swear by its long-lasting status as an all-time classic.
$48 | Difficulty Level Varies
Another honorable mention is the Grandfather Burr Puzzle. This one truly is the granddaddy of difficult puzzles, and probably one of the most difficult interlocking style puzzles available from Kubiya. The Grandfather Burr Puzzle was designed by W. L. Van der Poel, a Dutch computer scientist who previously designed and created puzzles merely as a hobby. Like many people with hobbies, he found a way to make a business out of it. There are 18 pieces, all with notches, and the design makes it extremely difficult because of gaps in the interior of the puzzle body, rather than it being solid throughout. The Grandfather Burr is on our gift list because of the unique challenge it presents, and the classic nature of the style and shape. We recommend it for expert puzzlers looking to dedicate themselves to a real challenge. The difficulty level is, you might have already guessed, a 5.
$40 | Difficulty Level 5/5
The Thinker Subscription Puzzle Box $39.99 | Difficulty level 4-5/5
Hip Flask Puzzle - Sequential Metal Puzzle $268 | Difficulty Level 3/5
Backgammon & Checkers Board Game $38 | Difficulty level 3/5
Uhrwerk - Mechanical Maze Puzzle $124 | Difficulty Level 4/5
Safe Puzzle - Very Hard Puzzle $46 | Difficulty Level 5/5
The Infinity Puzzle earns its name for both style and mechanics. Not only do the pieces resemble the sign for infinity (a horizontal 8), but their motion continues in an infinite loop until the pieces are taken apart. This puzzle comes equipped with 3 interlocking pieces. The first is the frame, the infinity shape, and the other two pieces fit inside the left and right circle of the figure eight. The solution might seem simple at first, but this puzzle has one of the hardest ratings out there so be warned! Conceived by Finnish designer Vesa Timonen, the objective of this puzzle is to disentangle the 3 metal pieces. There are 30 moves required, minimum, to solve the puzzle, but it might take you more! This is the perfect gift for friends and family who can handle a tough puzzle, but may desire something chic and stylish that can be decorative as well.
$20 | Difficulty Level 5/5
Another honorable mention for a stiff challenge is the Lock 64 Coding Puzzle. The goal of this device is to remove the lock handle at the top of the structure from the lower half. Like many challenges in life, the concept is simple but the execution is tricky. Lock 64 is fun and full of red herrings to drive you off track, making it a perfect addition to our gift list. There are some mechanical puzzles that are difficult because of the length of time, rigor, and discipline needed to solve, but this puzzle keeps up its reputation in a different way. Once you figure out the trick, it doesn’t take long to do it again. However, figuring out the unique solution and looking past the many distractions will take endurance from a strong mind that’s dedicated to the task. The old-fashioned, wooden design is laser-cut and engraved, with a sleek, heavy duty feeling in your hands. This is the kind of gift that looks beautiful to display and can be passed down through the generations.
$68 | Difficulty Level 5/5
More Difficult Puzzles:
Nutcase Puzzle - Oskar Van Deventer $20 | Difficulty Level 5/5
Medici Puzzle Box - Sequential Puzzle Box $122 | Difficulty Level 4/5
Quartet Cast Puzzle - Very Hard Puzzle $20 | Difficulty Level 5/5
3D Pentomino Chess Cube Puzzle $40 | Difficulty Level 5/5
Mission Impossible - IQ Puzzle for Adults $41 | Difficulty Level 5/5
Best Choices for Kids
Mastermind is an amazing code-breaking game for two players! One player is the codemaker and the other is the codebreaker. The codebreaker will try to crack a hidden, five-color code, in both order and color, within six attempts. Each guess is made by placing a row of colored pegs on the decoding board. After each attempt, the codemaker will provide feedback by placing black and white pegs in the holes based on whether the colors and/or positions are correct. Once feedback is given, the codebreaker moves to the next row, but now with a growing map of colors with information to process in order to crack the code. Mastermind helps develop skills like spatial reasoning, logical reasoning, critical thinking, strategic thinking, problem-solving, and creative thinking! Strategies for playing this game could be copied right out of a Computer Science 101 textbook, and teens will love the idea of breaking a secret code.
$38 | Difficulty Level 3/5
Also for Teens:
Kepler Puzzle - Metal Packing Puzzle $122 | Difficulty Level 3/5
Puzzle Kit - DIY Newton Puzzle Box $33 | Difficulty Level 2/5
One classic game that will never go out of style is a good old-fashioned memory matching game. Sure enough, each year our Animal Memo Concentration Game is a popular seller around the holidays. Small children must put their growing memories to the test and match up different brightly colored animal pictures to their identical counterparts. There are 12 different animals and 24 tiles total, meaning that the game is just hard enough to be challenging without causing frustration. The game can be played alone for practice, or used as a bonding activity between parent and child. Same as always, our children’s toys are organic, non-toxic, and child-proofed for safety.
$36 | Ages 3 and Up
More for Toddlers:
Sort & Count - Montessori Educational Wood Toy $32 | Ages 18 Months and Up
Balancing Boat $36 | Ages 3 and Up
Alphabet A-Z Natural Wood Baby Toy $36 | Ages 2 and Up
Our Triangle Clutching Toy is a simple, compact contraption that is made special for tiny hands. Like any of our baby toys, the organic rubberwood is kid-friendly with non toxic ingredients - because you know there’s no way to keep those toys out of their mouths. The clutch is a 3D triangle with a wooden ball inside that jingles. The triangle is able to stretch and give way to allow the child to retrieve the ball from the middle. In this way, the clutch can be used as a fun shaker instrument as well as a fidget toy. We recommend this toy because of the simple concept, child-proof execution, and the fun, bright colors.
$22 | Ages 0-6 Months
Our honorable mention for this category is the Shape & Sort Natural Organic Wooden Baby Toy. We recommend this for any children over a year old, just old enough to start recognizing shapes and developing motor skills. The Shape & Sort requires them to distinguish 3 blocks that are shaped like a triangle, a circle, and a square. The blocks each have a different color to help them along by having another distinguishing factor to look at. Placing the blocks into the correct hole is not only fun but educational, and our specially designed sorter has an easy to use lever at the bottom that releases the shapes, making it a quick reset to try again. As always, all parts and pieces are perfectly smooth and rounded, with an organic, non-toxic rubberwood material. A great gift for a baby’s first or second Christmas!
$38 | Ages 12 Months and Up
Also for Babies:
Xylophone Wooden Toy $36 | Ages 12 Months and Up
Swap out Screens for Mechanical Puzzles!
Truly special gifts are hard to come by in the digital age, so we hope you take advantage of the inspiration from this guide. Technology is crucial in so many ways, but it’s important to work with your hands once in a while and hone your problem solving skills. Puzzles force you to slow your brain down from the stress of life and focus on a single task that will keep your attention and thereby improve your attention span. The benefits are endless for children and adults of all ages. The best part? Any educational benefits are hidden within the fun; no compromise needed!
Cheers, Happy Holidays, and Happy Puzzling.