Shrinking Soma

Designer: Dr. Volker Latussek

This puzzle measures: 70 mm x 70 mm x 70 mm

Material: Pear / Wenge

Kevin Sadler wrote about it:

“When this unusual puzzle by Volker Latussek arrived, I was rather at a loss of what to do with it and I sent off an email to Jakub to ask and a few hours later received an email from Dr Latussek with instructions. There is a lovely diminutive complete Soma cube (everyone should have one) in a box that is far too large for the completed cube (it is 4x4x4 to the Soma's 3x3x3) – the pieces just seemed to fill the bottom half in a haphazard manner. The explanation was that this is an 'anti-slide puzzle' which is something I've only ever attempted maybe once in my puzzling history. The aim is to place all the pieces in the box so that the entry to the box (4×4) is filled and held up by a pile of the other pieces. However this isn't the entire story… the solution is only complete when the construction that you have made is completely stable and will not slide at all. Once you have created your potential solution then shake the box vigorously in all directions to see if any pieces can move. If they can then you've failed. This doesn't sound too difficult does it? Well maybe for you, but constructing an upside down flat mushroom in a box proved a massive challenge for me! I managed fairly quickly to find a shape that will not slide inside the box but if I placed it upside down it was not going to fill a 4x4x4 space and the 'hovering' pieces would drop down – yep, complete failure! I love this addition to my Soma collection but have so far, in a week of trying, completely failed to assemble a non-sliding shape. It's really really difficult. The pieces of a Soma cube are very simple and this does not allow many shapes that can interlock and hold up a stable roof.”