Trick Boxes

Many people, but also experienced puzzle collectors only know simple puzzle boxes.
Puzzle boxes are unfortunately very rare, and there are only a handful puzzlebox designers,
which live mostly in Japan and the United States.
Therefore, as a puzzle box collector, I am very often asked how puzzle boxes work.

Many puzzle collectors associate with puzzle boxes only takeapart boxes.
It is true, that most of the puzzle boxes are take apart boxes, but not all.
Puzzle boxes are also called trick boxes. Trick puzzles are takeapart puzzles. That is the reason, why people associate with trick boxes only takeapart boxes.

But not every puzzle, which can be taken apart, is a takeapart puzzle.
As example, many often maze puzzles have also two parts.
Solving the puzzle means to take the two parts apart.
But maze puzzles are sequential movement puzzles and not takeapart puzzles.
Stickman Tile Box
designed by Robert Yarger
made by Robert Yarger
Regarding the Stickman Tile Box from Robert Yarger, we see that it is only a 5x6 sliding block puzzle.
Solving the 5x6 sliding block puzzle opens the box.
Therefore there are also other boxes than takeapart boxes.


But in how many puzzle categories can trick boxes belong?
There are puttogether puzzle boxes. To open a puttogether puzzle box means, to assembled several pieces in a correct position.

Interlocking puzzle boxes are also possible. A very famous example is the Maze Burr from Kagen Schaefer.

There are also other puzzle boxes, which are definitely puzzle boxes.
As example, magic boxes, where a coin disappears. I will call this sort of boxes howto puzzle boxes.
Actually this boxes are Impossible Objects. But I think the name Impossible Objects is a bad name for a puzzle category and should be replaced by howto puzzles.
But not just magic boxes are howto boxes. But also boxes, where the mechanism buffles.
As a well-known example the openable box from Satou, which can be opened from all sides, I would call a howto box.

I think there is also another category, which I will call adventure boxes. In an adventure box you have to solve several problems and not only one problem. Therefore they can be a mix of different categories and do not belong to the previously mentioned categories. Most adventure boxes belongs to takeapart puzzles.

So we have following puzzle box categories:
Puzzle Box Categories Examples Designers
Put-Together Puzzle Boxes
Robert Yarger
Take-Apart Puzzle Boxes
Ichigo Shortcake
Robert Yarger, Trevor Wood
Interlocking Puzzle Boxes Kagen Schaefer
Disentanglement Puzzle Boxes
Ichiro Kohno, Doug Engel
Sequential Movement Puzzle Boxes
Stickman Try-Knot Box
Allen Rolfs, Kagen Schaefer, Robert Yarger, Kim Klobucher
Dexterity Puzzle Boxes I do not know any box, but it is possible
Folding Puzzle Boxes
The Kastellorizo Puzzle
Pantazis Houlis
Howto Puzzle Boxes
Openable Box
Hideto Satou
Adventure Puzzle Boxes