The puzzle game Chocolate Fix has been a family favorite around our house for years. The puzzle consists of 9 plastic chocolate candies (in three colors and shapes), a tray that holds the candies in a 3 x 3 grid, and a spiral-bound book with various challenges to solve. The challenges offer clues on how to arrange the candies in the tray. The hints sometimes show just the shape but not the color, the color but not the shape, or the shape and the color of a candy that belongs to a particular spot, column, or row in the grid. It's your job to figure out the single solution to correctly arrange the candies.
I don't quite know what it is about Brooklyn5and10's Motif Cubes that's so addictive, but at $25 a set I just can't resist. There's nothing to solve, no winning arrangement or maze (though wouldn't that be neat?) just a few billion combinations to explore. There's also a white edition with more angular designs.
GarE Maxton's 125-piece Intimidator appears, at first look, to be named for its own complexity as a puzzle: blocks of precious metals interlinked in a hellish, impossible-looking block.
This design is by far my most complex metal sculpture and it's both mentally and physically intimidating, thus the name. ... In June 2009, starting with a few extra parts from my Labyrinth sculpture, I began working night and day creating this sculpture. It grew to eight inches tall, four inches deep and five inches wide; there's a lot of volume to fill with interlocking parts and assembly of this puzzle is extremely difficult; you'll need a lot of time on your hands. Physically, it tips the scale at over 40 pounds.
Kevin Kelly shares my enthusiasm for the Perplexus, a 3-D maze toy.
We've found the puzzle to be extremely addictive to anyone who gets started. Because it's like a 3D video game without the electronics, the very physical nature of playing -- turning it this way and that -- is very satisfying. In addition, the maze is like a sculpture, the design of the route is geekily brilliant, and the elegance of the eternal return of the steel ball within the sphere is a stroke of genius. Perplexus has the glow of a work of art. It makes me happy just to pick it up.
A couple of years ago I asked Michael McGinnis, the creator of the Perplexus, to write a Make story about how he designed and produced the toy. It turns out that the Perplexus has been a lifelong obsession. He now makes giant size Perplexii for museums. You can read the story and see photos of early prototypes here.