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Cola Conundrum by Fortunate Son Puzzles

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Sometimes you learn of a puzzle that is so well themed that it needs no prior introduction or additional details to help you decide on whether to add it to your ‘must solve’ list.

The refreshing (pun intended) and creatively clever Cola Conundrum was that puzzle for me.

3D printing means vibrancy of colours.

If you don’t already know, this is a 3d printed sequential discovery puzzle from the brain of seriously talented puzzle designer, James Fortune AKA Fortunate Son Puzzles.

Fortunate Son puzzles has been hard at work creating some fantastically themed puzzles, with SDTV also proving to be a hit amongst solvers earlier this year. Cola Conundrum is James’ follow up to that puzzle and showcases what is possible when you have a great puzzling mind, eye for detail and a fun unique theme.

A 'thirst' to dive in and "buy yourself a drink"

Let me begin by outlining the goal of the puzzle - “Buy yourself a drink from the vending machine”. The thing I really liked about this was that it felt like James had taken the vending machine aspect really quite literally, and that discovering the moves and surprises along the way would all be a natural progression to achieving the end goal. To put it simply, it wasn’t a vending machine shape for sake of being vending machine shape. It's tough to know if the idea for the internal mechanisms came first, or if the idea of wanting to incorporate puzzling elements into a vending machine came first. Either way, it's impressive to say the least.

And, it really works.

Attention to detail. It's the small things

This is a moderately difficult puzzle and packs a punch for it’s size (11cm H x7cm D x 5cm W). The pacing on the difficulty is where it’s important, and Cola Conundrum does a great job here, as it only took few minutes of investigation and understanding to discover the first trick laid out for us. What follows is some super nice 'aha' moments that all fit the theme of the puzzle.

As with other puzzles from James, there’s a prize to be found that signifies the puzzle has been 'half' solved. That’s right, half solved. In order to fully solve the puzzle, it’s reset time, and that is it’s own challenge all together.

Especially, if like me, you found the prize, put the puzzle to one side, and then came back to it the next day to reset it. It required a lot of brain power but after much trial and error and some deducing of some very clever mechanics, the puzzle was back to the start position. Ready to quench the thirst of the next dehydrated puzzler!

All the different 'flavour' options

Overall, the puzzle is exactly what I wanted it to be, and gains the advantage in that it is 3d printed meaning that certain mechanisms can be easily and cleverly hidden away.

Fortunate Son puzzles are showing that they mean business when it comes to competitively priced, cleverly designed and beautifully themed puzzles. Rumour has it that we may be seeing more thematic puzzles from them very, very soon.

Keep an eye out over on

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