RELEASED: 11.21.2014
PRODUCED: 40 Copies
DESIGNER: Alfons Eyckmans
CRAFTSMAN: Eric Fuller
MATERIAL: Cherry, Walnut, Maple, Zebrawood, Holly
COMMENTS: Recently there have been a spate of 18 piece designs using 2x3 stick size. All of them were interesting, and I definitely wanted to make a representative puzzle from this style. It was difficult for me to pick one, but in the end the uniqueness of camel and rider locked inside the puzzle caught my eye.

Goetz Schwandtner made himself a personal copy of this design and was kind enough to let me use this review he posted on his blog :
This burr leads us out of the zoo on an expedition into the famous and big Asian desert "Gobi". Although it only has 12 pieces (plus two extra special ones) and a moderate level of 31, it kept me busy for some time and after some time I was feeling like I was lost in the desert eager to come out again. In this puzzle I found the real reasons for the name of the puzzle: A nice camel piece (with double hump) and a desert dwelling nomad. To find these pieces, you will have to remove a couple of pieces. The first piece will take 31 moves, and some of them are very well hidden. For some moves, you will have to move what feels like half of the puzzle, just to reverse most of the moves later again. At these early moves, it seemed to me that someone was shadowing me during some moves maybe a native desert inhabitant? Like going in circles in the desert trying to find the way out, I returned almost to the starting configuration of the puzzle, just to head for a different direction, and then the first encounter with the nomad! Being familiar with the "Rat trap" puzzle by Alfons, I decided to use a pencil for support. Had to hit that nomad with a stick to get him out of the way to continue! Just the camel did what these animals seem to prefer: Stubbornly lying in place and not moving at all! Later on, I found out that the nomad can also be moved by tilting and shaking the puzzle, but still he will have to move on his own. A few steps later, there he was again, obstructing my way. This time I knew what to do and a few moves later the first piece came out, as usual the one with the signature on it. That has been the hardest part of the expedition into the Gobi. The next nine moves for the second piece required some creative moves, but followed rather easily. Seems that you only have to adapt to this desert enviroment a bit!

The moves after that are not that difficult any more. The nomad seems to want to keep the cage together, but with one firm push this is solved. After some more moves we find out the secret of the stubborn camel: Up to the very end, the poor animal is tightly locked into place, unable to move at all! Like with a sand dune in the desert moving quickly, you will have to be careful to notice where which piece had been before when they fall off the puzzle, or you will be lost in a sand storm of pieces, difficult to reassemble.

After first seeing this puzzle (the very one shown here) on facebook, I found the idea and form fascinating. There are two big pieces inside the burr and yet there is room enough for a high level of! Not an easy puzzle, but a very interesting one. It might in fact be the most difficult 12 (+x) pieces burr I tried for some time. A very nice puzzle and also an interesting theme, thanks a lot, Alfons! Now I am back home from my expedition, looking at the assembled puzzle and still thinking of some small yet interesting challenges on the way back.

The fit of this puzzle is precise, with a little room to compensate for very dry shop conditions.

40 copies were made for sale; each signed and dated. This puzzle ships assembled.

SIZE: ~3"

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