Monday, January 23, 2012

My rarest puzzle (and a loaner from a friend)

On 6 January of this past year clausewe posted a thread on TP entitled "extreme rare twisty puzzles".  This in turn prompted Andreas to go looking for something he saw along the same lines, and he came up with this thread.  Of course he had to send me a message right away asking what I knew of these puzzles, and I was more than happy to answer.

Now way back in 2000 I got my hands on a Chi Gung Ball.  Bug used it as a play toy when she was still a tiny little thing.  I have had that one lounging around for such a long time, I honestly forget I have it until someone asks me about it.  Then it's a bit of a dig and out it comes.  Well, Andreas' post and Uwe's proximity and his wanting me to rewrite that little something that is on the brainstick that was found in Oskar's Treasure Chest  made me think to pull in a favor.  No, really, all I did was call Uwe and ask him if I could borrow the space massager for a week or two.

So what's the big deal with these two puzzles?  They are fairly rare.  No, I changed my mind, these two are extremely rare.  Uwe has told me that he's only got that one sample of the space massager left or he would let me have it. And the Chi Gung Ball?  We know of 3 that exist now.  His, Mine, and Jerry Slocum's (who else?)
OK, so here you go.  We need photos right?
First up is the Space Massager.  This one has 6 sets of 4 balls in each of the following colors:  blue, green, orange, yellow, white, red as well as 10 pink balls.  All are transparent and the base of the puzzle itself is a pure white color.  (Now, if you look closely, you can still see bits of that white-I wonder if Uwe has taken up smoking and not told anyone, or if the pollution in Shenzhen is discoloring the plastic) The object of this is quite simple.  Make all the colors line up in a row.  As you can see here, I've managed to muck up this one a bit.  The pink and yellow are not in order.  It turns on each of the four center dials, and the endcaps can be rotated into one of the six different directions.  It's a tricky bugger to solve those last few pieces, but completely doable.  More difficult than the Babylon tower that's for sure.

Next up is the Chi Gung Ball.  Now this one is one hard puzzle to turn. You can see it here from the top view, and while it looks the same, it's slightly different from the above.  First off, the puzzle cannot turn along the center lines.  I've shown it from the top and side here, and as you can see, there are still 8 columns that must be ordered. There are still 4 balls per column, but this one is a bit different in that there are 8 of each color instead of just 4 as in the space massager.  So I guess technically, this one is a bit easier to solve.  Each ball has more places that it can stay in.  You will also notice a black ball on this one. That is a place holder and there is only one in this puzzle.  The other major difference is that the centers don't turn. They are held in place with one solid piece. And I do mean solid.  This puzzle isn't a lightweight one. It's got some mass to it.  Like all good puzzles of the 80's!

Ok, so solving wise?  Well, it did take a while to do so, but it's still fun.  It reminds me of the hungarian towers or the Otto Wu ball.

Last photo for you all:   A rare look inside!

Don't ask me where you can get one, I don't know.  As I said, I know of one and three samples of both.  If anyone else has one, I'd love to hear of it.  But I can tell you something you can do if you are sincerely interested in getting one of your own.  Go over to Meffert's and scroll all the way to the bottom and click the boxes to have him remake these.  If he gets a few thousand people who will order.....well, if not, then we all wait until I get old!  50 to be exact.  You see, he's promised me this for my birthday present.  But sadly, I'm such a young thing so it will be a while yet....


  1. I love that photo of the bug. It has just dawned on me that she was teething on a small fortune of puzzles. It's no wonder she doesn't really like to play with them now....I was (literally ?!?) shoving them down her throat when she was but a babe.

  2. After some emails with a new puzzle friend, I have decided to branch out into twisty puzzles a bit! God help me when my wife sees them!!! But it is her fault! She bought me a Rubik's 3x3 and 4x4 for Xmas 2010 and I later bought V-cubes 2x2, 5x5 and 7x7! With a bit of practice I can solve them all (although not quickly)

    These emails have "forced" me to buy a Gear cube, a pyraminx, a skewb, a megaminx, a gear shift, a flowerminx and finally a curvy copter!! OMG she's going to kill me! Do you think this is now a satisfactory collection of twisties??? Please don't tell me I have missed something essential!


  3. Kevin, I would say you simply MUST add a Babylon tower! My all time favorite puzzle. THEN you will have enough twisty puzzles. And I'm so glad I don't live near you....I can just see that stare burning through your walls...

  4. hey, i just resently got into these kind of puzzles. if you can see this picture(the one with the baby that has a lot of puzzles around him) i would like to know what is the puzzle in the bottom right corner(with balls diffrent colours and one missing so you can turn.

  5. She's got a lot of puzzles near her feet, the Chi-gung ball, an astrolabacus, hungarian rings, rubiks rings....but I think you are refering to a binary arts back spin.

  6. Hi, I'm Joke and have these 2 puzzles in my collection:)
    You can also find them on my puzzle site, success


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    ming green marble Tile