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5 best non-WCA puzzles

Puzzles have an uncanny ability to captivate and challenge us, transcending the conventional boundaries of entertainment. While the World Cube Association (WCA) puzzles like the 3x3 and other similar puzzles are by far the most popular, there are many more puzzles out there for people to try. Here, we delve into the top 5 non-WCA puzzles that mesmerize enthusiasts with their innovation, complexity, and sheer fun.

1. Gear Cube

Stepping away from traditional movements, the Gear Cube introduces rotational motion into the puzzle-solving experience. Its interconnected gears present an engaging and visually intriguing challenge. The Gear Cube's mechanism alters its appearance during solving, adding an extra layer of complexity and fascination. Solvers must navigate not just the puzzle's colors but also the rotations of its gears, making for a captivating and distinctive solving journey.

QiYi released a range of gear cubes, they made a standard 3x3 gear cube and also a keychain version which is a lot smaller than the regular gear cube. QiYi also released a Gear Pyraminx and Gear Barrel cube, the principle is the same across all of these puzzles but they can be quite challenging to solve, other brands of gear cube may have slightly different gear mechanisms which can make the solving process different.

2. Mastermorphix

The Mastermorphix, often mistaken for a variation of the Rubik's Cube, showcases a unique geometric shape. With its non-cubic structure, this puzzle challenges solvers to rearrange its colored segments back to their original configuration. Its irregular shape adds complexity to the solving process, necessitating unconventional strategies and spatial awareness. The Mastermorphix presents a refreshing deviation from traditional cubic puzzles, captivating enthusiasts with its distinctive form.

The Mastermorphix is essentially a 3x3 but with different shaped pieces, this makes the solving process rather counter-intuitive as the natural assumption of what is the cross you solve at the start is actually completely wrong. ShengShou have also released a series of higher-order morphix puzzles which go all the way up to 10x10, as these morphix puzzles get larger and larger, the solving process becomes more and more tedious.

3. Higher-order minx puzzles

The Megaminx is pretty much just an extension to the regular 3x3, solving it does not require much more thinking but may require a few extra algorithms during the last layer, higher order minx puzzles are more challenging in some respects but if you can solve larger nxn puzzles then they shouldn't be too much of an issue, they will just take a very long time to solve, they also don't have any parities which means you don't have to learn any long annoying algorithms.

In the past year, many cube companies have made better versions of these puzzles which are cheaper, turn better and are available in stickerless. The YuXin Teraminx probably represents the highest number of pieces on a non-WCA puzzle relative to its price, YuXin have also released a Gigaminx and a Petaminx. The naming system is sort of bad for minx puzzles with an even order but both ShengShou and YuXin have released so called Master Kilominxes in the past year, these are 4x4 megaminxes.

4. Master Pyraminx (or larger)

The Master Pyraminx is a larger version of the regular pyraminx, it is not too difficult to solve but will require a bit of thinking and you may need to learn a few simple algorithms if you are unable to figure them out, you first need to solve it like a regular pyraminx, the most tedious part is ensuring all the centres remain in the correct place before moving on to the next step which is largely intuitive.

YuXin released what is probably the best master pyraminx currently on the market, they also released a 5x5 pyraminx, although the solving process for this is actually quite different. There is also a 2x2 pyraminx available, it is actually the exact same as the 2x2 mastermorphix, just with pointy corners (instead of them being rounded off), it is actually more difficult to solve than you might think as although it is just a 2x2, it requires the same unusual thought process as the morphix puzzles to solve.

5. Cuboids

The 2x2x3 is quite a simple puzzle to solve, most of the algorithms from the square-1 also work on the 2x2x3, there are also larger 2x2xn puzzles available, although unfortunately at the moment none of them turn too well. There are also various 3x3xn puzzles available, from the super floppy cube (3x3x1) to the insanely large 3x3x17 from Witeden.

The theoretical range of cuboids allows for so many more possible puzzles, many people from around the world have designed their own weird cuboids, sometimes going beyond the regular nxnxm where only one axis has a different number of layers to nxmxl where all 3 axes have a different number of layers, making the solving process even more challenging, unfortunately none of these puzzles have yet been mass produced.

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