Thursday 20 February 2014

All Tetra Stick

All Tetra Stick. 

Osanori Yamamoto. For Osanori's other designs, click here.

The square block at the top left corner of the opening is fixed
Pelikan. Available via email from Puzzlewood of Germany and PuzzleMaster of Canada.

Type & Classification

3D Packing, sequential movement

4cm (Length) x 4cm (Width) and 12cm (Height).  

Materials & Construction
The Tetra Stick comes in 3 wood options. In all 3, the pieces are Maple but there is a choice of materials for the box; Walnut, Bubinga or Zebrano. My copy in the photo is Bubinga.

Very well constructed with excellent finishing throughout. All the pieces fit perfectly and slide smoothly within the box.

I suppose the puzzle is called Tetra Stick because well, firstly it looks like a stubby stick or sorts. Secondly, the way the pieces "fall" into the box (and you need to slide them some sideways we well) as you pack them in resembles the computer game Tetris. Thirdly, because each of the 8 pieces are formed out of 4 connected squares (ie tetrominoes), the "tetro" bit forms part of the name since the game Tetris also comprises of falling 2D tetrominoes!

The Tetra Stick is a really nice departure from the ubiquitous square or cube shape of many wooden interlocking or packing puzzles. Very nice shape I must say which I like a lot!

The puzzle comes solved so you basically "pour" the pieces out and re-pack them in. All the 8 tetromino pieces are non-identical.

Removing the pieces is very easy, just pour them out! Re-packing is more challenging. While you can group the pieces together outside the box and get it into the shape that will eventually fit the box, you must take into account the box having an obstruction at its opening; ie a square cube that is affixed to one of the corners. 

This effectively means that you can only solve the repacking part by inserting one piece at a time and orientating the pieces in a way that will fit through the opening. You can't just plonk in the whole lot together. This requires planning of the sequence of the insertions. Once a piece is inside, you may also have to manoeuvre it by sliding it into the correct position or allow for other pieces to fit in thereafter. Gravity does the job and as you let go each piece at the opening, it slides into the box almost like in slow motion.

Difficulty Level
Challenging but by no means very difficult. Once you can sort out the shape the pieces need to form in order to fit inside the box, the rest is a matter of getting them in one by one in the correct manner though the partially obstructed opening. Or course the initial attempt to get the pieces into the right shape may already prove very challenging for some.

Very nice looking and well-made packing puzzle. 3 different choice of wood combinations. Looks different from the norm. Definitely worth getting!


  1. This puzzle uses all possible tetracubes. Hence the "All" in the name.

  2. George, you are absolutely right, I didn't notice this point, thanks!