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Magic Cube Pyraminx Megaminx Octahedron Skewb Square-1 Pentultimate Dogic Dinosaur Cube Pyramorphix

Since many of these puzzles are either rare or virtually nonexistent these days, it may be helpful to see what some of them look like.  These photos are from my own puzzle collection.  Click on each puzzle's picture to learn more about them.

Rubik's Cube, the puzzle most people remember as the original magic puzzle.  Indeed, its 1974 inventor Ern Rubik named it Bvs Kocka-- Hungarian for Magic Cube.  It is well-known for its ingenious mechanism.

Rubik's Cube


The Pyraminx actually predates the Rubik's Cube by a couple years.  It was invented in 1972 by Uwe Mffert.  It is easier to solve than the cube since there are fewer pieces.  Technically speaking, it is a tetrahedron, not a pyramid.

The Megaminx takes the magic puzzle concept to new heights with a dodecahedral shape.  Although it takes longer to solve, it represents a similar challenge to a Rubik's Cube.  In fact, many of the same methods for solving corners apply.


Magic Octahedron

A magic octahedron can be constructed to turn two different ways: face or vertex-oriented twisting.  The latter behaves like a Pyraminx, but uses the identical solution to Rubik's Cube.  The face-turning variant represents a true octahedral challenge, but I've never seen one constructed.

Although it's a cube, the Skewb puzzle is more closely related to the Pyraminx, since it has tetrahedral symmetry.  Douglas Hofstadter dubbed it Skewb after its strange diagonal twisting action.



Square-1 represents a variation on the magic puzzle theme.  It features 180 vertical rotation and either 30 or 60 increments of horizontal rotation.  Because of this, a single turn actually makes the puzzle change shape!   Believe it or not, the shape shown returns to a cube in just a handful of turns.  Of course, the colors must also be solved just like a Rubik's Cube.  I rate this puzzle as very challenging.

The Pentultimate puzzle features a more deeply- sliced dodecahedron.  This is a favorite of mine, since as far as I know I invented it!  It has never been built, except in software.  Visit the Pentultimate page for more information.



This puzzle, called Dogic, has come about only recently.  It is available from Hendrik Haak's Puzzle Shop in Germany, as are many of the puzzles shown here.  Although its visual resemblance to the Pentultimate puzzle is striking, the two twist in very different ways.  Dogic is essentially a multi-layered superset of Impossi-Ball.

For some odd reason, this variant is known as the Dinosaur Cube.  It is an octahedral puzzle since it turns on its corners.


Dinosaur Cube

Professor's Cube

Finally, we come to the multi-layered magic puzzles.   Although there are a number of variations, none seems more dazzling than the 5x5x5 version of Rubik's Cube.  This has become known as the Professor's Cube.   It is truly a mechanical marvel, and I have actually solved mine on a few occasions!


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