Fits together trillions of wrong ways, but only one right way!
— Shmuzzles tagline
Shmuzzles are a series of identically-shaped, flat cardboard salamanders that fit together like an M.C. Escher tessellation. There are three ways they lock together, allowing you to tile them out as far as you like without gaps:
- Head Shmuzzling — fit together like they're hugging
- Leg Shmuzzling — fit the back left leg of one between the two left legs of another
- Tail Shmuzzling — fit the tail of one between the two right legs of another
On one side, the Shmuzzle pieces are solid-colored salamanders, but on the other, they have pieces of a picture puzzle. They can be used either way, making your own shapes and models with the solid-color side, or trying to fit the picture puzzle together with the other side. The first way is far more fun and enjoyable, I think, giving the practice a sort of Lego-like creativity to use basic building blocks to create new forms.
Of course, the more masochistic among us will want to try putting together the picture puzzle. Good luck! I had a set of these when I was a kid back in the early 80s, and I got nowhere with it. Granted, my attention span is a little better these days, but the fiendish designers of the Shmuzzle puzzle not only created a set in which all the pieces are identically shaped, but also used pictures with repeating patterns! Piles of marbles, rows of corn, expanses of river-polished stones, and fields of daisies all make for an extremely challenging way to spend, oh, the next 5 or so years. The one kindness they offer is to include a frame as a starting point, and to allow the interlocking salamanders a flat edge in case you want to display it.
The Shmuzzle puzzle official website is at http://shmuzzles.com. There you can buy Shmuzzle puzzles, learn the history of their design, view starter patterns (such as the Shmigure Eight, the Shmoflake, and the Shmushroom), and even use a Flash-based cyber-Shmuzzling puzzle.