How To Win Tic Tac Toe | Tricks To Always Win Noughts & Crosses


Have you ever asked yourself how to win at tic tac toe, otherwise known as noughts and crosses? This post will detail all the ways to succeed in the game, and soon you will always either win or draw. If you follow these simple rules, you'll never lose another game of tic tac toe again.


Tic Tac Toe Rules


The rules of tic tac toe are fairly straightforward. Below is a comprehensive list of the noughts and crosses game rules:

  1. The game requires two players, X and O.
  2. The game board is a set 3x3 grid in which players will place their symbol to claim that segment.
  3. X typically players first, then players alternate turns.
  4. The goal is to claim three segments of the grid in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
  5. No additional sides can be added to the grid.
  6. The game is over either when one player achieves three segments in a row, or when the grid is filled without anyone achieving three segments in a row.

While these rules are easy to understand, the game has the potential to produce 26,830 different variations, but that includes all identical rotations and mirror images of each board. When those repetitions are removed, there are a total of 765 different outcomes for the grid.


Tic Tac Toe Tricks


There are several distinct strategies that can be employed to ensure victory when playing tic tac toe, but there are also a few simple tricks that new players can use to help their chances. Remember, this game is known as a 'solved game', which means that there is a definite strategy that can be employed to win every single time. However, if both players employ that same unbeatable strategy, the game will result in a draw every time. Here are a few tricks for new players to use:

  1. When playing first, claim a corner spot instead of the center spot.
  2. When playing second, claim the center segment if the first player did not.
  3. When playing second, claim a corner spot if the first player claimed the center segment.
  4. Always make moves based on strategy.
  5. Most moves will either block, win, or set up for a win on the next turn.

These are just a few of the most basic tricks for new players, but the game includes several more nuances for the final moves.

Those who might want something a bit more challenging could attempt 3D tic tac toe, which is basically like playing three individual games of tic tac toe but stacked on top of each other. This creates a 3D Tic Tac Toe where winning rows of three are possible through all three dimensions. Interestingly enough, the same rules apply, and many of the same strategies must be employed if you hope to win at this more complicated game type.


How To Win Tic Tac Toe If You Go Second


Even when going second, it is possible to still win the game, especially if the first player doesn't employ the unbeatable strategy. It is easily possible to force a draw when you play second, but winning is a bit more complicated. Here is the best strategy for winning when playing second:

  1. If your opponent understands the strategy of the game, they will most likely play their first move in either the center segment or a corner segment. If they do so, and they continue to play perfectly, your only option is to force a draw.
  2. If your opponent doesn't have a full grasp of the game rules, and they still play in either the center segment or a corner segment, it is possible to win if they make errors. Be sharp and watch for mistakes on their part.
  3. If your opponent plays their first move in one of the side segments, you'll have a chance to force a win. As always, play your move in the center square after they have taken the side. At this point, your victory will be determined by your opponent's move. If they place their second move in the same line as the first two moves, creating a full row or column, your next move should be to take one of the corners. If they fail to block your move, you'll win on the next turn.

It should be noted that this strategy requires at least two errors from the player who went first, so it is rare that it can be employed. In most cases, if you are playing second, your main goal is to force a tie.


How To Never Lose At Tic Tac Toe


Some players want to learn how to always win, but others simply want to know how to never lose, which in essence means they want to know how to force a tie in any situation. Forcing a tie is quite easy in this game if you know the standard blocking strategy. Here are a few of the best strategies for forcing ties:

  1. If you are playing first, forced ties are quite easy. They only require that the player not miss any chances to block wins from the opponent. Playing first is the best way to win as well, and losing is almost impossible with proper strategy.

  2. If you are playing second, your main goal is to force to a tie. Winning from the second position is quite difficult, and it requires several mistakes from the opponent. If the first player makes their first move in a corner, which is the recommended first move, the second player should take the center segment. The first player will then make their second move, and the second player should then take one of the edges. Only take a corner piece to block your opponent from getting three in a row. If that strategy is employed, a tie will certainly be reached.

  3. If you are playing second and the first player takes the center segment, your first move should be to take a corner. After that, the second player should only focus on blocking the first player.

How To Win Tic Tac Toe Every Time


Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee that a player will win every single game of tic tac toe they play. Victory, defeat, or a draw is determined by the interaction of both players. If both players operate perfectly, a draw will always occur. The best strategies to win are:

  1. Attempt to go first and claim a corner segment.
  2. Play second and hope your opponent makes mistakes.
  3. Focus on blocking and looking at least two moves ahead.
April 18, 2017 by Aod Prommetchit

How to play Chinese Checkers

Chinese Checkers Rules:

How To Play And Win With Strategy & Tactics

Chinese checkers is one of those games that anyone can play. The rules for Chinese checkers are really quite simple. The challenge for the game comes in deciding which tactics one uses to win!

One of the first questions people who are new to the game will ask is, “Why is it called Chinese Checkers?” The game did not originate in China, nor is it a variation on the game of checkers. In fact, it was created in Germany in the late 1800s and was known as Stern Halma. The word stern means ‘star’ in German.

How to Play

You might ask how do you play Chinese checkers. Actually, learning how to play Chinese checkers is very simple. Chinese checkers is a game for two to six players. Each player is assigned one of the colored triangles as a starting point (the starting triangle). In a standard game, each player begins with ten marbles which are placed in ten corresponding holes in her starting triangle. The marbles are usually the same color as the player’s starting triangle.

The objective is for each player to move all of their marbles across the board toward the triangle that is on the opposite side of the playing board (the destination triangle). Players take turns moving their marbles and can move only one marble per turn. A player can move her marbles in one of two ways. The first is to move one marble into an empty, adjacent hole. Marbles can be moved in any direction, forward or backward, one hole at a time.

The second way a player can move a marble is by ‘jumping’ over another marble. A player can jump in a straight line over any neighboring marble and can continue jumping over neighboring marbles as long as she desires. A player can jump over any color of marble including her own. Unlike traditional checkers, marbles that are jumped over are not removed from the playing board.

Rules for 2 Players

The basic Chinese Checkers rules apply regardless of how many people are playing. When there are only two players, their starting triangles should have at least one unused starting triangle between them. Another popular way to begin is that the players are positioned directly opposite each other, each starting in the opponent’s

destination triangle. This makes the game more interesting. The players take turns, alternating between each other. A good way to determine who goes first is by flipping a coin or some similar ‘luck-of-the-draw’ type of system.

Rules for 3 Players

As with the 2-player version, the players should begin with an empty, unused starting triangle between each person. Each player takes turns, usually moving in a clockwise manner, or, traveling to the player to the left. A player can move her marbles in any direction across or around the board. It is not unusual when playing with three or fewer players to increase the number of marbles used, adding up to five more per person.

How to Win

The way to win is to be the first person to have all of your marbles in your destination triangle. While that may sound simple, there are several strategies which can be used to increase the speed with which marbles are moved across the board.

No Stragglers

– As you move each marble out into the playing area, attempt keeping all of your marbles in a line with few spaces between them. This way you can take advantage of creating a system for each marble to jump over several others marbles. This allows you to advance quickly. Do not leave any stragglers behind, as it may become difficult for them to catch up with the others.


– Sometimes referred to as ‘spoiling’, blocking is a strategy where a player leaves one of her marbles in her opponent’s destination triangle. This prevents the opponent from completely filling her destination triangle. There are rule variations that limit the effectiveness of this idea, and players will need to determine which rules will be used to play the game.

Stay Centered

– A common saying is that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. This is certainly true in Chinese checkers. Avoid allowing your marbles to wander off to the sides of the board. Keep them in the center. Most opponents will use the same playing strategy, which can help set up some very fun and dramatic jumping sequences.

Chinese checkers is a wonderful game because any level of player can enjoy the competition. More advanced players can use complicated techniques and try to anticipate their opponent’s next moves. Once you have played a few games, you will develop your own scheme for how to best deploy your marbles and how to effectively fill your destination triangle. Most importantly, have fun.

March 08, 2017 by Aod Prommetchit

Suitable Puzzles for My Child: Age, Type and Gender

What puzzle should I get my child?

Puzzles games are a great learning tool for toddlers and young children as they foster many skills and mental learning advantages and opportunities. For example, cognitive skills; problem solving; fine motor development; hand to eye coordination; social and self-esteem are just a few critical learning skills your child is encouraged to develop at some point in his/her early life.

Jigsaws are a great starting point, but the number of jigsaw puzzles available for kids is seemingly endless and we understand it can be overwhelming trying to decide which one will benefit your child the most.

With this in mind, we have put together a list of puzzle games for kids according to their age, that will not only simplify your life but ensure your child is being challenged appropriately.

Puzzles for 0-2 years olds:

For children 2 years and younger, we recommend 3-10 jumbo knob pieces. It’s important not to overwhelm the child with more pieces than they can handle. Puzzles for 2-year-olds should start with 3 big pieces and gradually increase as the child develops.

Young children are fumbling with their newly found skills. Picking up a puzzle piece can prove to be a challenge on its own. The jumbo knobs allow your child the ability to grasp the puzzle pieces easier. This in turn refines their motor skills and steers them in the right direction. You’ll see a sense of accomplishment in the child right away as they eagerly squeeze the puzzle piece correctly in its place.

In addition, the jigsaw puzzle should accommodate matching pictures underneath each piece to support eye, hand, and visual perception skills. Puzzles with numbers, letters, farm animals and pets are great starter picks.

Puzzles for 2-3 year olds:

At this age, children like to see well-known objects and characters. Their favorite cartoon, musical instruments, and transportation illustrations are great options. Tailoring puzzles to their personalities may positively increase the amount of ‘playtime’ a puzzle receives.

Children in this age group should be working with 8-20 pieces. Puzzles for 3-year-olds should encompass smaller puzzle pieces as well. Smaller puzzle pieces are a good learning tool. We want to continue challenging them, but careful not to overwhelm. Countered pieces are encouraged, due to its easy fit advantage, it makes it easier to identify the content of the illustration. As a result, your child is prone to complete a puzzle project, instilling self-esteem in the process of early learning critical skills.

Puzzles for 3-5 year olds:

As your child grows so does their experience. By now they are dealing freely with rotation and joining pieces. However, they still often use trial and error. Fitting the pieces incorrectly and purposely is a sign you can move on to greater number of pieces and more complex design.

For 4-year-olds, toddlers should be working with 20-40 pieces. We suggest looking into a series collection, which offers levels that coordinate with situations. Whole figures are framed by the outline with different complexities and puzzle pieces differ in size. Both of which make-up and decide the level of difficulty. It is important to introducing the levels of difficulty in puzzles for 4-year-olds so that it keeps the activity appealing and satisfying. Puzzles for 5-year-olds and older should include up to 60 pieces.

Puzzles for 6-8-year-olds:

At this point, 6 years olds, have accrued sufficient skills on jigsaw puzzles. The potential that they have managed to achieve is marked by their ability to define puzzle pieces in relation to its place in the puzzle.

Sorting the puzzle pieces is common in this age group. Each child develops their own unique strategy to problem-solving. They’ll do this in accordance to shape, color, and/or object. Always looking for the next challenge, children in this age group can work with puzzles with up to 260 pieces, depending on their experience, this number can increase up to 500 pieces.

The source of satisfaction lies in choosing the correct puzzle. Bear in mind that the elaborateness of the puzzle is dependent and varies on the individual child’s abilities. Assessing the level of difficulty is important in figuring out the appropriate puzzle game for children of all ages. The number of pieces, piece size, the degree of detail of each puzzle, and even the child’s experience are all factors that contribute to finding a suitable puzzle to fit the interests of any young child or toddler. Seek information and advice from your pediatrician for any concerns you may have on your child's developmental progress. They understand your child's health and wellness is a priority and are just as happy to help. And as always, don’t forget to show tons of support for your child by participating and staying involved as you see fit.

February 23, 2017 by Sean Allan

Puzzles in Education: The Power of Play

Puzzles in Education: 


Beginning 5,000 years ago; reading and writing have been the base for formalized education.

In more recent times, computers have been used increasingly assisting with access to information, communication, and type of processes. Toys and games are associated with PLAY – almost everyone likes to play, right? And such desire continues throughout an individual’s life. Psychologists inform us that play is not just a means of filling a void and avoiding boredom, or even just a leisure activity but an important learning experience.

Puzzles are like brain food – they teach creativity, logical thinking and dexterity skills. Toys and games play a large part in the early development of children amongst many developed nations. Adopted for example by the Montessori school, puzzles present an innovative, child-centered approach to education. 

This by no means a new phenomenon, toys have been used in education for upwards of 4000 years – many of the toys are still being used in some form of other.

Thinking back to your childhood years I bet there were puzzles that you found fun and which also made significant contributions to your learning. Games are a form of play - however, they also provide an environment in which game players can learn about themselves. Puzzles provide an environment in which one can interact with other people and develop social skills.

For example: From the beginning of your life, you probably played with your fingers and toes – and then an adult joins in with this play, the play then evolves into numerary game – and then into rhyme – one, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive.

Play is seen as a way of working off aggression – and learning the basics of survival, particularly in the animal kingdom; it’s also seen as a means of learning social behaviors – like co-operative games, as well as a commonly accepted means of relaxation.

In the modern age of computers; it has been argued that children learn rapidly how to operate the computer through exposure to games since they are motivated to do so. If this argument is accepted then we have a concrete concept of learning through play.

Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everybody – not just computer scientists. Reading, writing and arithmetic: games provide a fruitful environment to explore the ideas of computational thinking. A puzzle is a variety of game where one is attempting to solve a particularly mentally challenging conundrum - the fun is in meeting the challenge of the puzzle.

Although exposure to computers is reserved for the most part to developed nations – children from other countries can still be exposed to science and technology through toys and games. For many it will be the only experience they get of technology and science through their primary school education.

As teachers, you need to develop this idea – that learning can be fun. Since you pupils have likely been conditioned to school being a place of hard work and no play. The games-in education discipline received increased legitimacy in October of 2003 when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or as its better known – MIT. Announced an initiative to study educational roles of computer games. Many colleges and universities now offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in computer games.

The fun is meeting the challenge of the puzzle – making some or a lot of progress in completing the puzzle. Some of the benefits of puzzles are obvious – crossword puzzles draw upon one’s general knowledge, recall, and spelling ability. Doing a crossword is much like doing a certain type of brain exercise. From an educational stance solving crosswords helps us maintain and improve one’s vocabulary, spelling skills, and knowledge of miscellaneous tidbits.
July 22, 2016 by Sean Allan

Human V Machine: Deep Mind & Alpha Go Explained

Google successfully managed to make history earlier this month – in what some would argue is a landmark moment in the future of artificial intelligence. What Google have achieved is removing of one of the last vestiges of human exclusivity over the machine when AlphaGo defeated champion Go player, Lee Sedol.

March 29, 2016 by Sean Allan

STEM Toys: Shaping the Minds of Tomorrow

Wooden puzzles & games have been a helping to develop specific skills in children and adults for generations, assisting in everything from logical thinking, spatial awareness, motor movement and dexterity. This is not some nouveaux, space age, life improvement hocus pocus but an educational system backed up with by progressive studies and heavy academic literature.

March 17, 2016 by Sean Allan

Happy Pi Day!

Pi Day – the annual celebration of the mathematical constant – conveniently timed to match the birthday of one, Albert Einstein no less.

Today is an extra auspicious moment since it is the once in a century Rounded Up Pi Day; when the month, day and year are Pi – correct to four decimal places.

Rounded up to four it is 3.1416. And today is 3/14/16. Woop Woop! For the extra clever there is also “Pi Approximation Day” later on the year – which is observed on July 22nd or 22/7 – you get it? :).

The History:

Today represents the 28th official World Pi Day – started way back in 1988 by San Franciscan and physicist, Larry Shaw: It was actually originally celebrated by – marching around in circles (hilarious) then consuming fruit pies (delicious)! You can learn more about their party here:

By 2009 the US House of representatives had officially passed a non-binding resolution for it to be officially established as noted day. As such, MIT often mail their application decision letters on this day and starting in 2012 post the decision online at exactly 6:28PM – which they have termed “Tau time” to honor both Tau and Pai in equal measure. And Princeton (where Einstein was alumni) also host a very special party to celebrate both him and the special mathematical day:

What is Pi?

Archimedes is credited with doing the first calculation of Pi, while British mathematician William Jones developed the Greek letter for the symbol in around 1706 – and was popularized by Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler around 1736.

Pi has been calculated out to over 1 trillion digits – as an irrational and transcendental number. It will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern.

But How Can I Celebrate?

Well you can celebrated Pi Day in pretty much anyway aslong as it involved cakes or cookies.

By cakes we mean cake baking, eating and throwing…

We also like puns so trying to fit in as many puns based on the word Pi as you can in one day.

Ryan Muir, a teacher in Shanghai, at Concordia International School Shanghai uses this day to educate his students about the wonderful world of Pi, and show them that students can have fun with Math. They write songs about pi, write piems (see what happened there – I am getting in the mood), see who can get closest to pi by measuring the ratio of circumference to diameter in cookies and pizzas, compete against each other in the JPL Nasa Pi Day challenge, and of course eat lots of Pie!


Eat Pi foods – Eating Pi foods may be the easiest and most fun way to celebrate Pi. If you’re in school, everyone can bring in a pi-themed food or pi pot luck. Eat any types of pie. You can expect to see some offers for $3.14 slices.

Put the symbol on some cookies and bake your own.

Embrace the puns – Eating Pineapple, pizzas and pine nuts while drinking Pina coladas.

Remember you aren’t limited to desserts. Chicken and Shepherd’s pie are equally delicious.

Mental Floss Have a Great Article on Pis here:

Convert everything into Pi.

This step is absolutely necessary for two reasons: first, to utterly confuse people who have no idea what you're talking about, and secondly, to have fun seeing how many things can be referenced with pi. This will help you reach an even higher appreciation for the amazing number that is pi.

Use pi to tell the time. Convert naturally circular things into radians, like the hours on the clock. Instead of it being 3 o'clock, now it's 1/2 pi o'clock. Or, instead of it being 3 o'clock, convert the inclination of the sun into radians and describe that as the time.

Simply use 3.14 as a unit of measure. Instead of being 31 years old, you are 9pi years old. With this same approach, you can find out your next pi birthday (don't forget to celebrate it when it comes!).

March 14, 2016 by Sean Allan

Star Puzzle Solution

A true SiamMandalay favorite. Handmade from premium grade monkeypod wood.

March 14, 2016 by Sean Allan

Chronological History of Puzzles: A Timeline

You’re going to love this, below we have a chronological timeline of puzzles – a transcending flow through the ages: from around 2300 – all the way through to modern times.

If there are any we have missed, any ultra popular puzzles you would like added - please let us know we would like to include them and keep an ever growing comprehensive list:

2300 BC: Before modern incarnations of the the varieties of puzzles we sell – labyrinth drawings were popular around the world, particularly in Ancient Greece and Egypt. These kinds of images hold religious and spiritual significance in ancient cultures.

One of the most famous labyrinths was the Ancient Cretan Labyrinth, supposedly built by King Minos of Greece for his Minotaur (A Half Man Half Bull). The labyrinth did actually exist, but the tale of the Minotaur if of course only a popular legend.

2250BC: The first tactile puzzle came some 500 years after the first labyrinth drawings, dating back to a whopping 2550-2250 BC. Appearing initially in the Indus Valley and Mohenjo-Daro, one of the first known human civilizations -  there appeared dexterity puzzle of sorts, similar to the famous Pigs in Clover, puzzle. This seems the first physical manifestation of the labyrinths popular in Ancient Greece and Egypt.

1,000BC: Bottom-Fill Vessel: Chinese Puzzles, a fantastic puzzle website, does an excellent video on this variety. These bottom fill puzzles were first found in Cyprus around 1,000BC with decorative versions found in China around 900AD.

A bottom-filling pot has no lid and is filled through a hole in the bottom. When the puzzle is turned, surprisingly,  there is no leak. Another version of this is the fairness cup which will hold a moderate amount of liquid, but when filled to the top everything will leak out.


220BC: Not really a puzzle, but certainly a trick: The resonance bowl can be traced back to the Ancient Tao tradition in China during the Han Dynasty (220BC – AD 9).

It is referred to by many names such as the “Bronze Dancing Water Basin” and the “Chinese Spouting Bowl” – Classically made from cast bronze in a foundry, these were made in early Tao Temples for the purpose of meditation and were also utilized as a toy by the upper class. It is said to stimulate your mind, maximize your muscles and offer much happiness to those who use it.

200 BC: Rome – Secret compartment rings: lick lockets, but for rings, often with secret compartments that can be maneuvered with a lever or clasp.

395 AD: Stomachion is a 14 piece dissection puzzle: Similar in style to a Tangram Puzzle.The puzzle is referenced as the “Loculus of Archimedes”. Or the “Syntemachion” in Latin texts. In November 2003 Bill Cutler found these to posses 536 possible distinct arrangement of the pieces to make a square.

The Roman Trick Lock, is carbon dated at around 100-400AD – it opens like a locket with secret pull lever. It appears as if trick locks of various styles were popular around around Ancient Rome, with a combination lock being excavated from a Roman period tomb in Athens. Attached to the excavated puzzles was a small box, which featured several dials instead of keyholes - which would have been very sophisticated for the era.

Muslim engineer Al-Jazari first documented a combination lock in his book “The Book of Knowledge and Mechanical devices” – dated from around 1206.

1400: Puzzle Vessels or Puzzle jugs, are thought of as one of the oldest mechanical puzzles. The trick involved drinking from the jug AND not spilling its contents.

These puzzles have a series of holes that leak if you drink normally. The trick is to find the tube which runs into the jug, cover the holes running across it and suck the contents out like a straw.

1500: Cardan’s Chinese rings, made by Geronimo Cardan. Although this is meant to be the earliest known disentanglement puzzle – other references date back to a puzzle in the Chinese Sung Dynasty – where the original was made by Hung Ming, a famous Chinese Hero.

Commonly referred to as the Baguenaudier is a disentanglement puzzle featuring a loop which must be disentangled from sequence of rings on interlinked pillars. 

1636: Germany, Solomon’s Seal Puzzle is another disentanglement puzzle. Fred Gunfeld’s, Games of the World, calls it the ‘African puzzle’ – however there is no evidence of the puzzles being from Africa, it was featured in early modern Europ in 1636 Germany, 1725 France and 1747 Italy.

1698– Burr Puzzles:  One of the world's most popular puzzle games. The origin of a Burr Puzzles is unknown, but it appears on record in as early as 1698, when it was illustrated on the title page of Chambers’ Cyclopaedia.

The Large Devil’s Hoof is the earliest known example of this puzzle. Consisting of 24 wood pieces, we have a similar puzzle here, termed the double lock- a- ball.

The popular 6 piece burr puzzles, also called the devils hoof was also recorded around this time, but it was first patented in the US in 1915.

1699 – Spanish Puzzle Knife – The first half of the seventeenth century saw the rise in popularity of folding knives. Puzzle knives were a variation of a popular product of the time, each puzzle had its own individual opening mechanism, which was usually based around rivets.

Some were made with combination locks, such as numbered dials – as seen above. These knife puzzles are often extravagantly decorated and engraved. 

1743 – Wisdom Plates are an early version of the classic Tangram puzzle found in Japan under the name: Sei Shona-gon Chie No-Ita – the puzzle conquered the world in the early 19th century after being given as a gift to Captain M. Donaldson during a visit to Canton.

The puzzle was originally popularized by the “Eighth Book of Tan” – which claimed the puzzle was originally crafted an Ancient Chinese god - an unlikely but fun story indeed.

1790 – Sliding Puzzles/Dissection Puzzles; found a renaissance in the late 18th century. Like the Game of Jags and Hooks and similar pentomino style puzzles.

1760: Jigsaw Puzzle – Dating back to 1760, when European map makers pasted maps and cut them into small pieces, the have been a household favourite ever since and in fact, Jigsaw puzzles are still used in the American school system to tech children about geography to this day.

The eighteenth century inventors of jigsaw puzzles would be amazed to see the transformations of the last 230 years. Children’s puzzles have moved from lessons to entertainment. By around 1910, there was more demand for adults jigsaw puzzles, which progressed into a full blown craze. Initially the puzzles were only for the “uppercrust" of European society and nobility – a far fetch from what we know today.

1760; Netherlands: Secret compartments in everything! Classically made from pieces of household furniture, they were designed to help protect your house from thieves, every dresser had a secret compartment. 

1800s: Puzzle Boxes, Japan – In a bit of history, the Japanese Puzzle Box or Himitsu-Bako originated from the Odawara district of Kanagawa, Japan. The exact date isn’t known, but they started to appear in the late Edo period. This stunning range of puzzles were beautifully crafted by Japanese artisans for 3 generations in the region. The allure of Japanese Boxes is not just in their entertaining nature but it is also a treasured as a traditional Japanese art form. The hypnotic color patterns are created by using a combination of natural colored woods.

1883: Tower of Hanoi: Designed by a French mathematician specializing in the theory of numbers. The puzzle has 3 pegs and a number of disks increasing in size – the problem is you cannot place a smaller disc under a larger one. This puzzles was popularized on screen with Planet of the Apes and Star Wars and Doctor Who all featuring it.

1865: Pyramid Puzzle: originally crafted on the pastoral frontier countryside, by pioneer fathers as toys for their children. Pyramid puzzle represent an important piece of American history, an untainted, simple aesthetic, cut by axe from tree stubs and arbitrary branches.

1894: Klotski Puzzle: First patented by Henry Walton, is a popular form of sliding puzzle. Traditionally you are trying to move the largest block from the top to the bottom: we have several version – Setting Sun, Soccer Game x 2 and Baseball. The Huarong Dao is the Chinese version of the game which has interesting fable attached to it – you can read more about that here.

1930: Kumiki puzzles have their roots in Japanese minimalism, first used in Japanese antiquity. Japanese Kumiki Puzzles are based on a style of wooden house building craft that allows houses to stay stable in extreme weather and earthquakes. The puzzles were taken on by Japanese woodworkers. Tsunetaro Yamanaka, was the first craftsman to apply this philosophy in the design of puzzles – they became famed for their clever interpretation of objects, animal and cars before branching out to abstract shapes.

1933 – The Soma Cube is a solid dissection puzzle invented by Piet Hein in 1933 during a lecture on quantum mechanics. There are 7 pieces made out of unit cubes can be assembled into a 3 x 3 x 3 cube. The pieces can be used to also make other shapes.

1974: The Rubik’s cube is a 3-d combination puzzles invented in 1974 by Erno Rubik. It is widely considered not only the bestselling puzzle of all time, but also the bestselling toy – with around 400 million sales worldwide. Such was its influence on popular culture that a culture of “cubers” has arisen who test themselves against the clock.

1981: Pyraminx - Although first conceived by Uwe Meffert in 1970 it was not put in production until 1981. Meffert frequently mentions that the pyramminx would have never have been made if it had not been for the Rubik cube which is of a similar rotating style.

And there we have it – a back to front timeline of all things puzzles. If we are missing any let us know.

March 07, 2016 by Sean Allan

Thank You from SiamMandalay

Thank You from SiamMandalay
Thank you from SiamMandalay – for all your support over the Christmas period, your assistance has directly influenced the lives of 30 rural Thai children for the better.

As many of you are aware we were working in collaboration with a small Thai orphanage called Baan Dek Dee – helping them to build a new facility – you can read more about the project in the preceding links:

February 24, 2016 by Sean Allan