28 February 2019

Sokoban masterpieces

This post is a bit daring on my part, as there are hundreds of puzzles that I have not solved, especially the large and difficult ones. This affects such outstanding puzzles as the MF8 Sokoban Competition. On the other hand, my skills as a puzzle solver are very limited.

So, I ask the collaboration of more expert players than me to complete this selection: If you think that a puzzle should be included in this selection of masterpieces, please copy the puzzle below in a Comment, or send me the puzzle by email, with two short lines justifying your choice. I promise to add the recommended puzzles, with the warning: "This puzzle has been proposed by (here your name)".

The criteria that I used to evaluate the puzzles of this selection are the following:

- originality (at the time of publication)
- technical quality
- fun to solve
- difficulty

Finally: except for some exceptions, I do not consider small puzzles (less than 10 boxes). Therefore, unfortunately I do not include in this selection such outstanding authors as Yoshio Murase, Aymeric du Peloux or Thomas Reinke. Maybe in the future make a selection of "small masterpieces" - if the United States does not destroy our planet before with a nuclear war, and grants us the grace of a few more years of life before exterminating us all like native american indians.

You can download all puzzles here (except commercial levels): 

Author: Hidemitsu Kobayashi + Jordi Domènech
Title: Sokoban Perfect #127 f
Set: The beautiful world of remodels 1 #60
Comment: delete the bottom (including 1 box), add 1 wall
Date: 1989. Remodel: 2010.8.21
Difficulty: 6.5
Best moves/pushes: 680/155

The secret of Thinking Rabbit is that many authors collaborated in its collections (19 well-known authors in Sokoban Perfect and 34 in Sokoban Revenge, a collection in which the players themselves contributed their puzzles). This variety of authors provides a great diversity of styles and a great amenity to the Thinking Rabbit collections.

Hidemitsu Kobayashi and Yoshio Sakae are my two favorite authors of Thinking Rabbit. As for Sokoban Perfect 127, I've always been fascinated by this puzzle. It's not the first time that rooms with sliding boxes are used (see for example Original 29, 30 and 43, all published first in Sokoban 2, 1984), but it is the first puzzle in which rooms with sliding boxes are the protagonists of the puzzle (see also Sokoban Perfect 252, by Kobayashi, with the same technique).


Author: Hidemitsu Kobayashi + Jordi Domènech
Title: Sokoban Perfect #192 b
Set: Life #54
Comment: arranged the bottom, add 1 box
Date: 1989. Remodel: 2017.12.3
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 2128/635

Elegant puzzle "two rows". Note in this puzzle the use - I think for the first time - of two rooms arranged in "mirror" (at the top), precedent of the spectacular double room with a "captive" box, later invention of Monry (see monry-light 114).

Author: Yasuhiro Morita + Jordi Domènech
Title: Sokoban Perfect #278 d
Set: The beautiful world of remodels 3 #52
Comment: tight version
Date: 1989. Remodel: 2017.12.13
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 1434/348  

Yasuhiro Morita is the author with more puzzles in Thinking Rabbit (65 in Sokoban Perfect and 75 in Sokoban Revenge). Sokoban Perfect 278 is one of his most beautiful and perhaps even more difficult storage puzzles. See also the remodels of GRIGoRusha (Remodel Club 58) and Zhenying (c version, 2006.9.15).

Author: Masaki Ishino + York Shen
Title: Sokoban Perfect #306 b2
Comment: rearrange 9 goals
Date: 1989. Remodel: c. February 2007
Difficulty: 7.5
Best moves/pushes: 8168/1896

It is the last level of Sokoban Perfect and one of the most difficult and arduous to solve in this collection. The version of York Shen change of position 9 goals, which obliges to use storage area for storing some boxes on an interim basis, and forces to move the boxes by the two rows of the storage area (a box comes out from the bottom, another box enters from the top...).

Author: Yoshio Sakae
Title: Sokoban Revenge #79 クジラ (Whale)
Date: 1991
Difficulty: 6.5
Best moves/pushes: 2342/824

Yoshio Sakae turned Sokoban into an art. My favorite soko-drawing is this impressive "Whale". See also Sokoban Perfect 301 (Pelican), Sokoban Revenge 60 (K) and 140 ("This way, please") ... Yoshio Sakae has had other notable followers: Eric F. Tchong, Tui Leshan and Laizhufu.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Big Catch and Prosperity of Seven Bays (1853)

Author: Yoshio Sakae
Title: Sokoban Revenge #146 扉の向こう側
Date: 1991
Difficulty: 6
Best moves/pushes: 600/160

Masterly! It's my favorite level of Yoshio Sakae, one of the best authors of Thinking Rabbit. Yoshio Sakae published a total of 137 puzzles between 1989 (Sokoban Perfect) and 1998 (Sokoban Basic 2). My favorite puzzles are Sokoban Perfect 263, 274, 301, Sokoban Deluxe (1990) 5-B, Sokoban Revenge 78, 79, 140, 145, 147, 151, 206, 209, 210, 271, 274, 281, 282...

Author: Yoshio Sakae + Jordi Domènech
Title: Sokoban Revenge #147 a
Set: Life #56
Comment: add 5 easy boxes, small changes - sokovampirism ^^
Date: 1991. Remodel: 2017.11.11
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 5119/842

Classic problem "two rows", which Yoshio Sakae already treated masterfully in Sokoban Revenge 145. My remodel only tries to take advantage of the right side of the puzzle.

Author: Hidemitsu Kobayashi + monry
Title: Sokoban Revenge #238 マグリット (Magritte)
Set: monry #33
Comment: add 4 boxes, rearrange several goals in the left area
Date: 1991. Remodel: 1992.6.23
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 1651/406

Legendary Kobayashi puzzle with two storage areas. Is it a tribute to Belgian painter René Magritte? Monry's remodel increases the difficulty.

Author: monry
Title: monry #7 Horikoshi
Date: c. January 1992
Difficulty: 7.5
Best moves/pushes: 4664/1329

Classic storage puzzle, complicated and difficult. It's a pity that he has not deserved more attention from the Sokoban players, perhaps because of the lack of diffusion of the puzzle. Was posted in "Twink's BanSoko Page", web page of Sokoban online edited in JavaScript by Twink, active between 1998-2001.

Monry (Japan) is a master. His collection First step (1999) for beginner players is excellent, and in the compilation "monry-light" of 1998-99 there are a lot of little gems: for example, 37, 41, 59, 67, 72...

Author: J. Franklin Mentzer + Jordi Domènech
Title: Still more! #20 b
Set: Life #18
Comment: add 2 boxes, redraw map, some changes
Date: 1993. Remodel: 2014.3.18
Difficulty: 6.5
Best moves/pushes: 507/151

When I started playing Sokoban with Scott Lindhurst's Sokoban for the Macintosh, one of the puzzles that most impressed me was Frank Mentzer's Still more! 20. Over the years I've made several remodels of the puzzle, but only in this I found what I was looking for.

Frank Mentzer (USA) was the creator of Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. The imaginative collection Still more! was one of the first Sokoban collections published in the West, and was included in version 3.0 (1995) of Ingemar Ragnemalm's MacSokoban program and then in Sokoban for the Macintosh.

See the post "Still more!", by J. Franklin Mentzer.

Frank Mentzer

Author: Takaken (Ken'ichiro Takahashi)
Title: Love
Date: c. 1997
Difficulty: 5
Best moves/pushes: 361/60 

The walls form the word "love". A classic of Takaken (Japan).

Author: Hir (Masato Hiramatsu)
Title: Genten kaiki
Date: 1997.7.2
Difficulty: 6.5
Best moves/pushes: 522/113

The funny puzzle typology "fix one" was discovered by the authors of Thinking Rabbit: see especially Sokoban Perfect 215, 250 and 251 (both by Yoshio Sakae), 263 (Yoshio Sakae), 288, 303 (Seiji Nishikawa), 305, Sokoban Revenge 127 (Takahiro Suzushima), 210 (Yoshio Sakae), 227 y 228 (both by Takahiro Suzushima), 283 (Yoshio Sakae)... The puzzle of Hir (Japan) was published in "Twink's BanSoko Page".

"Genten kaiki" (原点回帰) means "Return to origin": effectively, the player ends up exactly in the same place of departure.

BanSoko level 5-9

Author: Herbert Kyrian + York Shen
Title: #31 Tailback e (arr.)
Comment: add 4 boxes, rearrange several goals, move a wall, some changes in the bottom right
Date: c. July 1998. Remodel: 2007.4.12
URL: groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/sokoban/conversations/messages/2277
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 2030/478

"Tailback" is the most famous puzzle of Herbert Kyrian (Austria), and also the most beautiful and fun. It was remodeled, successively, by Hir, Stopheart and York Shen.

See also MF8 44th Sokoban Competition based on level #7 of Herbert Kyrian.

Author: Bruno Druille + Jordi Domènech
Title: Tableau 82 b
Set: The beautiful world of remodels 2 #27
Comment: rearrange goals, delete 1 box, major changes at the top
Date: 1988. Remodel: 2012.5.6
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 977/251

In 1988, Bruno Druille (France) built 50 levels with the editor of the Soko-Ban program of Spectrum HoloByte. Because of an accident he lost the levels, but years later he managed to rebuild 24 puzzles, which he published on his blog in March 2006. In July of the same year he recovered two more puzzles (Tableau 92 and 93). Finally, puzzles 94, 95 and 96 were created in the years 2007-2008.

Přemysl Zíka qualified my remodel as "very good". So I include it here as a tribute to Bruno Druille.

Bruno Druille

Author: Jean-Pierre Kent
Title: JPK Levels #63
Date: November 1998
Difficulty: 6
Best moves/pushes: 1288/455 (lsdzxy)

In 1998 Jean-Pierre Kent (Netherlands) built 75 puzzles for the Sokoboxx program, edited by FatCatz (Taiwan) for Symbian/EPOC platforms. Level #63 is one of the most beautiful storage puzzles I know. About Jean-Pierre Kent see the post My favorite authors - Jean-Pierre Kent.

Author: David W. Skinner + niwa
Title: Sasquatch #48 r-2
Comment: add 2 boxes in the left area, 2 walls, add 1 floor
Date: January 1999. Remodel: c. 2014
Difficulty: 6.5
Best moves/pushes: 3252/906 

David W. Skinner (Grandview, Washington, USA) is one of the most famous authors of Sokoban. This well-deserved fame is due, largely, to its spectacular symmetrical puzzles, some of big size; and, secondly, to its long dedication to Sokoban during more than 13 years, since January 1999.

Sasquatch 48 develops the classic theme of moving boxes from one storage area to another, and closing from the inside. However, the two boxes added by Niwa in the left area increase considerably the difficulty (note the number of moves...) and turn Skinner's puzzle into a master remodel. 

David W. Skinner

Author: David W. Skinner
Title: Sasquatch II #23
Date: August 1999
Difficulty: 6
Best moves/pushes: 1475/113 

Skinner has invented curious "mechanisms" and "artifacts". This puzzle is an early example.

Author: David W. Skinner + stopheart
Title: Sasquatch II #29 c
Comment (by JD):
Initially, stopheart used a remodel of Buddy Casamis (Bugs550 #484).
BC: stoned 2 boxes/goals and 2 floors at the bottom right
stopheart: based on BC version, add 3 boxes, move a goal
Date: August 1999. Remodel: 2010.4.4 (stopheart)
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=37579&extra=&page=4
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 561/128

This fun puzzle could be titled "Walking on the roads".

Author: David W. Skinner + 西部飞狐 (XBFH)
Title: Sasquatch III #41 e
Comment: add 2 boxes and 4 walls, move a goal, rearrange some boxes
Date: June 2000. Remodel: 2018.5.16
URL: sokoban.org/level.php?id=571
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 2614/645 

With few changes, XBFH has achieved a fairly acceptable remodel. Skinner's puzzle is a revision of Sasquatch II 46.

Author: David W. Skinner + GRIGoRusha
Title: Sasquatch III #43 f
Set: Remodel Club #20
Comment: add 1 box and 2 walls, move a goal, add some floors at the bottom
Date: June 2000. Remodel: 2003.6.24
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 1250/307 (Sokobano)

It's one of my favorite Sasquatch puzzles, surprisingly difficult ...

Author: ZiKo (Zbigniew Kornaś)
Title: Ending crown deed (#015)
Comment: G4B Month Level (09/2000)
Date: 2000.6.2
Difficulty: 8.5
Best moves/pushes: 643/198

A few years ago Niwa selected this puzzle as the first among his 10 favorite Sokoban puzzles. I copy Niwa's comment: "My all time favourite. It is hard, though not the hardest among ZIKO's incredibly well-crafted levels. Plays like a symphony, interesting and challenging from start to finish."

The puzzle of ZiKo was the September 2000 level of Games4Brains' "Level of the Month" contest.

Author: Hirohiko Nakamiya
Title: Nakamiya #10
Date: c. 2000
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 9947/3470

Spectacular rotating puzzle, in the style "Sokoban pilgrimage" by Yoshio Sakae (Sokoban Revenge 306). 

Hirohiko Nakamiya (Japan) has a lot of great little puzzles. I recommend visiting his collection of 56 puzzles online 魔物の番人 (in Java), and especially levels 3-2, 3-3 (the best puzzle of two boxes in the history of Sokoban), 5-3, 5-7, 6-6, 7-2, 8-3, 8-5, 8-6.

Author: Sven Egevad
Title: Sven's retable
Levels chosen and grouped by Jordi Domènech
row 1
SE 488 2001
SE 231 2000
SE 893 2003
SE 644 2002
row 2
SE 1005 2004
SE 1074 2004
SE 912  2003 (move 2 boxes)
SE 1020 2004
row 3
SE 987  2004
SE 1317 2005
SE 1541 2006
SE 1185 2005
row 4
SE 1604 2006
SE 1827 2013
SE 1203 2005
Difficulty: 6.5
Best moves/pushes: 5191/1193

Sven Egevad (Malmö, Sweden) started to build Sokoban puzzles in 1992 and especially from 2000. He is a master in the typology of puzzles that he calls "many-in-goal" and in small levels of logical type. He is one of my favorite authors.

In that "retable" I have gathered 15 small logical levels. I hope you like this tour of Sven's world.

Author: Howard Abed + gyjgw + York Shen
Title: SokoBig-70 #42 (k)
gyjgw (b-g versions): add 2 boxes and 3 walls, stoned a box/goal
YS (h-k versions): based on g version, add 2 boxes, stoned 5 boxes/goals, move a goal
Date: c. March 2001. Remodel: 2005.7.6 (YS)
Difficulty: 8
Best moves/pushes: 2019/382

Maze "many-in-goal". The spectacular SokoBig collection has had no luck and has been poorly published on all the websites from which it can currently be downloaded. See the post SokoBig, by Howard Abed.

In my archive there are up to 11 remodels of this puzzle, made by gyjgw + York Shen. The tightest is the k version (XSB file j1056d in the York Shen collection), rather more difficult than the original Howard Abed puzzle. Keep in mind that at the time there were no programs with "deadlock" detection...

Can this puzzle be considered a masterpiece? I'm not sure. However, I think that Howard Abed (USA) should be included in this selection, as he was a pioneer in many things of Sokoban.

Author: François Marques
Title: Chrismas
Comment: Le concurs du mois de décembre 2001
Date: 2001.10.15
Difficulty: 6.5
Best moves/pushes: 1045/481 (Sokobano)

Between September 2001 and November 2003, François Marques (France) maintained in its web Le concurs du mois, in which many players of those years participated. This "Chrismas" excited Laizhufu.

Author: 20603 (Yongzhong Zou)
Title: 万里长征 (Long March) <1010>
Date: c. 2001
Difficulty: 7.5
Best moves/pushes: 36213/13465

One of the most famous Sokoban puzzles, both for its difficulty and the laborious resolution. "Long March" was proposed in the Sokoban Contest promoted by 20603 from its website, active between 2000-2005. See the post 20603 (Yongzhong Zou).

Author: Marcus Palstra + GRIGoRusha
Title: #29 The long way home - c
Set: Remodel Club #9
Comment: add 4 boxes
Date: 2002.2.21. Remodel: 2003.6.23
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 4127/1086 (Findus)

The levels of Marcus Palstra (Australia) - with few exceptions - have a rotary structure, which makes it necessary to carefully study the routes of circulation of the boxes, and calculate which boxes should be transferred to each area before closing off the passage ways. This rotary structure provides the puzzles with a character of "adventure", and the player feels as if he is undertaking a journey of discovery through the intricate puzzle's map.

My favorite levels are: 8, 20, 22, 27 and 29 (101). I choose the latter, "The long way home", perhaps the most famous and characteristic level of Marcus Palstra. The remodeling of GRIGoRusha is slightly more difficult and laborious to solve.

There have been many remodels of the puzzles of Marcus Palstra. Some have served as the basis for the MF8 contest: see 46, 48 and 50th Sokoban Competition (based on level #24).

See the post My favorite authors - Marcus Palstra.

Author: GRIGoRusha
Title: Grigr2002 #127 Ziko-City
Date: c. August 2002
Difficulty: 8.5
Best moves/pushes: 1013/200

Sometimes the puzzles have a strange biography. First, remodeled David Holland's puzzle, bagatelle 10, which he included in GrigrSpecial 2 "Jump in Deph". In turn, François Marques made an elegant remodel of "Jump in Deph". For his part, GRIGoRusha transformed his remodel into a sophisticated rotary puzzle, inside a mini claustrophobic structure where it seems impossible to move seven boxes (see Remodel Club #88 GrigrSpecial 2a). It's one of my favorite puzzles and I recommend it, although GRIGoRusha doesn't select it among the best.

But the story didn't end here. GRIGoRusha continued working on "Jump in Deph" until, finally, he first got "Father diode" (Grigr2002 110), and then the famous "Ziko-City" (Grigr2002 127) (see "Holland Impossible Challenge").

Evgeny Grigoriev (GRIGoRusha; Cheboksary, Russia) has a lot of impressive puzzles, so it's very difficult to choose. If 20 experts had to choose a GRIGoRusha puzzle, I'm sure they would choose 20 different puzzles. Of its first two collections, my favorites are Grigr2001 48, 95 and 100 (fantastic "fix one"!), and Grigr2002 101 ("Double choice"), 102, 103 (extraordinary simplicity), 107, 127 ("Ziko-City") and 137.

The puzzles of GRIGoRusha are small mechanisms that have to be solved step by step, with numerous and subtle movements. Most are small puzzles (less than 10 boxes), which unfortunately have no place in this selection (like those of Yoshio Murase, Aymeric du Peloux or Thomas Reinke). Now, if I ever publish a post of "small masterpieces", GRIGoRusha will occupy a prominent place.

Evgeny Grigoriev (GRIGoRusha)

Author: David W. Skinner
Title: Sasquatch VI #49
Date: October 2002
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 1222/412 (Sokobano)

The big and spectacular symmetrical puzzles are Skinner's specialty, and to them he owes much of his fame. It is very difficult to choose one of these puzzles because they are all very well built and all are entertaining to solve. Finally I decide on this impressive "chessboard", within a structure with the form of number sign (#).

Skinner's big puzzles were remodeled by Sasquatch fans, usually by adding boxes up to the limit... LZY made a remodel of Sasquatch VI 49 with 16 more boxes (!).

Author: GRIGoRusha + Hirohiko Nakamiya
Title: 魔物の番人 8-6
Comment (by JD): add 2 boxes, major changes.
Also at Remodel Club #47 gri101a.
Date: c. March 2002. Remodel: 2003.5.27
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 728/193

Fascinating remodel of the GRIGoRusha puzzle "Double choice" (Grigr2002 101). It was included in Nakamiya's online collection 魔物の番人 8-6, and in GRIGoRusha's Remodel Club 47. To comparate this remodel of Nakamiya whit "Double choice" of GRIGoRusha, flips it vertically.

魔物の番人 8-6

Author: Ghislain Martin + Jordi Domènech
Title: SokoStation #151 Deux à la fois
Set: SokoStation variations #66
Comment: add a wall, move a goal, some changes on the right
Date: 2003.12.5. Remodel: January 2012
Difficulty: 6
Best moves/pushes: 352/82 

The nearly 400 levels of SokoStation, built over 11 years between 2001-2012, are relatively easy, but they are a prodigy of imagination. I recommend SokoStation to all beginner players who want to learn Sokoban by playing good puzzles. About Ghislain Martin (France) see the post Interview - Ghislain Martin.

Ghislain Martin

Author: Andre Bernier
Title: Initial Trouble #12 Ryan
Date: April 2004
Difficulty: 7.5
Best moves/pushes: 1474/619 (lsdzxy)

André Bernier (Manitoba, Canada) surprised everyone with a series of puzzles of great difficulty, dedicated to their children. Do you choose? My doubt is between level #4, with the initials "MB" (Michael Bernier), and the last in the series, level #12, with the initials "RB" (Ryan). The latter is perhaps more difficult and exciting to solve, but the level #4 is perhaps more beautiful. So, I recommend both :)

Author: gyjgw + York Shen
Title: j1001b
Comment: add 2 boxes, move a goal
Date: c. May 2004. Remodel: similar date
Difficulty: 8
Best moves/pushes: 4765/1811 (Findus)

I'm not sure, but maybe it's one of the first puzzles of gyjgw (or jgw, acronym for Jing Guo Wei, 荆国伟; China). Despite its large size and numerous boxes, the puzzles of gyjgw are very interesting and fun to solve. At this level, the boxes in the central area form the letters "jgw". I publish the version of York Shen that forces to move some more boxes.


Author: gyjgw
Title: j1031
Date: 2004.10.19
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 746/130

Between October-December 2004, Gyjgw made a series of puzzles with numbers 1 to 8. This number "2" is especially nice and fun to solve. Enjoy!

Author: Keijo Sopuli
Title: KEAS Collection #5 Echo
Date: c. August 2004
Difficulty: 6
Best moves/pushes: 2079/648 (xbluejimx)

In 2004 Keijo Sopuli (Helsinki, Finland) published 26 levels of old appearance and some difficulty. One of the most famous is perhaps the long line of level #12, but my favorite is this original triptych.

Author: ZiKo (Zbigniew Kornaś)
Title: #43 Comeback - Second Edition (arr.)
Comment: G4B Month level (05/2005)
ZiKo had a Comeback!!! Train your brain with another Soko-thriller!
Date: 2005.3.9. Second Edition - rev.5: 2005.4.16
Difficulty: 9
Best moves/pushes: 1774/314 (Matthias Meger)

"Comeback" was the May 2005 puzzle from Games4Brains' "Level of the Month" contest. I've lightly arranged the outer walls of the map, with ZiKo's permission.

Author: František Pokorný
Title: #83 Christmas Tree
Date: 2005.6.11
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 489/147 

The puzzles of František Pokorný (Czech Republic) are difficult and very studied. I hesitated between this "Christmas Tree" and "PF 2004" (#31). František is also the author of a lot of excellent small puzzles, my favorite: 33, 34, 50, 61, 74, 87, 95...

Author: gyjgw + LZY + York Shen
Title: 火中取栗 (Huozhongquli) i
Comment: add 11 boxes, 1 wall
Date: c. June 2005. Remodel: same date
Difficulty: 9
Best moves/pushes: 4946/952 (Paul)

The "chessboard" is the most difficult typology of Sokoban puzzle, obviously because to the scarce free spaces. The arrangement of the boxes in "chessboard" is the one that allows to fill a structure with the largest number of boxes, and that these can be moved. However, the "chessboard" in the form of "diamond" (or rhombus, hexagon, etc...) is the most difficult typology, since it requires the use of the "zipper" technique to move the boxes inside the structure. It is a typology of puzzles reserved for experts. There have been, and there are, great specialists in "chessboards": York Shen, LZY, Tian Lang, gyjgw, Stopheart, Anian, Vipul Patel, GRIGoRusha... If you can't solve 火中取栗, don't worry: you're not the only one. It's probably one of the hardest diamonds to solve (there is still a more hard j version...). I recommend starting with simpler chessboards, there are lots to choose from...

Of course, there are more complicated "chessboards": see "Gyjgw Impossible Challenge" (and the collection "Grigr Challenge Remodeled" of Vipul Patel), Sokophobia (levels 18 to 30) also from Vipul Patel, or among the most recent MF8 59th and 98th Sokoban Competition, both from Tian Lang.

火中取栗, like the similar puzzle gyjgw0806 (which served as the basis for "Gyjgw Impossible Challenge"), could be considered an extension of monry 14 (in turn extension of Sokoban Revenge 228 "Final diamond"). I have arranged the exterior walls following the design of Sokoban Perfect 215.

Author: Kenyam (Kenya Maruyama)
Title: #44 Superfluity
A trick at the right-bottom is called as "jabara-kuzushi" in Japan
Date: 2006.12.6
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 505/161 

Kenyam (Japan) has numerous excellent puzzles of small size. Among my favorites, for different reasons, 18, 26, 28 and 40. Niwa included #15 "Double Detour" among its 10 favorite levels of Sokoban. However, I choose the level #44: it is not particularly difficult, but  it's very nice.

Author: ZiKo (Zbigniew Kornaś)
Title: Night Patrol (046)
Date: 2008.1.26
Difficulty: 9
Best moves/pushes: 1932/486 (Matthias Meger)

David Holland told me several times that he hated "early storage". It is an important Sokoban lesson that I have always kept in mind when building a puzzle. Well, "Night Patrol" is David's ideal puzzle, as more than 1,000 moves are required before placing the first box (!). It's one of the most spectacular storage puzzles I know.

Author: Vipul Patel
Title: MasterVIP #7 Birdy
Date: June 2008
Difficulty: 7.5
Best moves/pushes: 1594/528 (Findus)

The best and most difficult puzzles of Vipul Patel (India) are in their last two spectacular collections, Namo and Sokocrisis, both of 2017, but since I have not yet solved the levels, I can not value them. In the meantime, have fun with this nice "Birdy".

Author: Vipul Patel
Title: Sokodeal #87 arr.
Comment: map arranged by JD
Date: September 2008
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 2220/503 

Vipul Patel is famous for its large puzzles and numerous boxes, but it also has small storage puzzles very nice and fun to solve. Unfortunately, when I solved Vipul's puzzles I didn't make any notes about them and now I can't remember which were the prettiest. However, I remember Sokodeal 1, 18, 38, 44, 55 (see an arranged version in the post Sokoban lessons - Storage: Two rows)... Sokophobia 9...

However, reviewing now their collections I have randomly solved some puzzles, and I have found this little gem. Sokodeal 87 is a storage puzzle of simple appearance, but unexpectedly difficult, very nice and characteristic of Vipul, with two rooms in "mirror" and two "captive" boxes. Enjoy!

Author: Vipul Patel
Title: Sokophobia #20
Date: December 2008
Difficulty: 9
Best moves/pushes: 6130/1163 (Findus)

Vipul Patel is an expert in "chessboards". Levels 18 to 30 of Sokophobia are remodels of "Gyjgw Impossible Challenge". See also from Vipul his set "Grigr Challenge Remodeled".

Sokophobia 20 can be considered the intersection of a diamond and a square. Note the 12 "knots" (especially in the symmetry axes) that make the puzzle solution very difficult.

Author: gyjgw + Jordi Domènech + zhenying
Title: MF8 8th Sokoban Competition (November, 2009) b
JD: add 3 boxes, move 4 boxes to the upper central area.
Small puzzles in the letters MF8 are Howard Abed (SokoCreation 53), Minigame 19, and Jacques Duthen (Sokogen 12)
zhenying: based on JD version, add 3 boxes and 1 wall, stoned 2 boxes/goals, rearrange some goals
Date: 2009.11.14. Remodels: 2010.3.13 (JD), 2010.3.15 (zhenying)
URL MF8 8th Sokoban Competition:
URL zhenying remodel:
Difficulty: 8
Best moves/pushes: 3336/894 (Findus)

Spectacular and fun puzzle designed by gyjgw for the MF8 8th Sokoban Competition. I publish the remodel of Jordi Domènech + zhenying, slightly more difficult and entertaining to solve. There are later more difficult remodels of Tian Lang and Stopheart.

Author: Eric F. Tchong + Jordi Domènech + anian + stopheart + 我是推乐山 (Tui Leshan)
Title: Chuchubi 10 #10 Tour de France h1x2
JD (a version): stoned many boxes/goals, move a goal
stopheart + anian (b-h1 versions): based on a version, stoned many boxes/goals, add many walls, major changes in the central area, rearrange goals
TL: maybe based on h version, stoned a box/goal, add 2 walls, major changes in the central area, rearrange some goals
Date: May 2010. Remodels: May 2010 (JD), 2010.5.20, 21 and 23 (stopheart + anian), 2016.2.28 (TL)
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=37579&extra=&page=129
Difficulty: 7.5
Best moves/pushes: 1172/225

"Tour de France" is a beautiful puzzle of Eric F. Tchong (Aruba), of which up to 11 arrangements have been made. The first arrangement was mine, and then, in a few days, followed the arrangements of Stopheart and Anian. The last version was the h1, and I think it's the most interesting. Apparently, the arrangement of Tui Leshan seems a simplification of h1, but there are some small changes that make it a version much more exciting and fun to solve.

Author: David Holland + gyjgw + stopheart
Title: dh5 #18 e - MF8 27th Sokoban Competition
Comment: add 8 walls, rearrange some goals, major changes on the right
Date: May 2010. Remodel: 2011.7.29
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=80202
Difficulty: 8
Best moves/pushes: 2660/593 (zhouxh)

After 8 years of inactivity, David Holland (UK) surprised us with the dh5 collection, where there are some of his most difficult puzzles. I choose level #18, remodeled by gyjgw + stopheart, which served for the MF8 27th Sokoban Competition. Hard from the beginning to the end.

Author: 我是推乐山 (Tui Leshan) + anian + gyjgw
Title: The pistol b
anian: rearrange all goals inside the canyon
gyjgw: add 2 boxes
Date: 2010.5.28. Remodels: 2010.5.29 (anian), 2010.5.31 (gyjgw)
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=37579&extra=&page=14
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 1141/351

Tui Leshan (China) has built only a few puzzles, but his works are very elaborate and studied. I love your puzzles! In addition, he has a great aesthetic sense, which makes their puzzles and arrangements are small works of art (see the post When Sokoban becomes an art...).

Note: this puzzle was posted without a title in the MF8 forum, and I gave it an obvious title.

我是推乐山 (Tui Leshan)

Author: David W. Skinner + stopheart
Title: Sasquatch X #31 a
Comment: add a box
Date: July 2010. Remodel: 2010.7.28
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=37579&extra=&page=27
Difficulty: 6.5
Best moves/pushes: 179/108 (Tiaoa)

Incredible Skinner soko-toy, although relatively easy if you understand how a "zipper" works.

Author: David W. Skinner
Title: Sasquatch X #37
Date: July 2010
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 390/106 (Philippe Lamat)

Since Sasquatch II 23, Skinner is a creator of strange artifacts. This is my favorite.

Author: David W. Skinner
Title: Sasquatch X #49
Date: July 2010
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 2006/516 (Wolfgang Haas)

Among the many big symmetrical puzzles in the Sasquatch series, I chose this one, which illustrated Skinner's website.

Author: zhenying
Title: 61-36
Comment: 元旦
Date: 2011.1.1
Difficulty: 8
Best moves/pushes: 436/118

The two Chinese characters 元旦 mean "New Year's Day". Exceptional puzzle, one of the best of 2011.

Author: gyjgw
Title: 2004-01-08 MF8 8th anniversary - MF8 30th Sokoban Competition
Date: 2011.12.2
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=84540
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 397/125

On the right side, from top to bottom it reads "8 年" ("8 years"). This nice puzzle was designed to commemorate the eight years of the Chinese forum FM8. Simple but fun to solve.

Author: laizhufu
Title: 生命 (Life)
Date: 2012.2.8
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=72975&extra=&page=41
Difficulty: 6.5
Best moves/pushes: 450/104

The two Chinese characters 生命 mean "life". This excellent puzzle was posted by Laizhufu on the MF8 Chinese forum after copying the lyrics of "生命之曲" ("Song of Life", October 1988) of the "cantopop" George Lam.

Laizhufu (China) started playing Sokoban in late 2010. He solves and builds the levels with pencil and paper, using a curious system with squares of colors and numbered boxes. Soon he started the series "letters" in the MF8 forum, in which I had the pleasure to participate. When a year later he reached the end of the alphabet, Laizhufu was already a master of Sokoban.

The puzzles of Laizhufu are always very creative and fun to solve. I'm a Laizhufu fan! See the post Tribute to Laizhufu.


Author: Přemysl Zíka
Title: First levels #240
Date: April 2012
Difficulty: 7.5 (PZ)
Best moves/pushes: 1794/588 (Archanfel)

Přemysl Zíka (Březnice, Czech Republic) is the best Sokoban creator of all time. For three reasons: for his amazing technical expertise and his mastery of all Sokoban resources, for the originality of his creations, and for the difficulty of many of his puzzles, sometimes extreme. Přemysl has created a Sokoban "universe" completely personal, based on a rigorous "logical" construction of their puzzles, that, sometimes, more than puzzles, seem strange "mechanisms" and surprising artifacts.

First levels 240 it's unexpectedly hard. It is necessary to do a lot of tricky maneuvers, both in the snail-storage as in the cargo area. One of the best puzzles in this series. 

Přemysl Zíka

Author: Přemysl Zíka
Title: First levels #246
Date: May 2012
Difficulty: 8
Best moves/pushes: 818/191

Incredible! In my opinion, is one of the best puzzles of this set... You have to do a lot of maneuvers in the top row to place the first box... It's the puzzle that Yoshio Sakae dreamed.

Author: Přemysl Zíka
Title: First levels #253
Date: May 2012
Difficulty: 8.5
Best moves/pushes: 766/223 (Sokobano)

Excellent! The arrangement of goals/boxes is similar to a "pillar", but within a square-shaped structure, and with 4 clogging boxes. Hard from the beginning to the end!

Author: Přemysl Zíka
Title: First levels #266
Date: June 2012
Difficulty: 8.5
Best moves/pushes: 376/130 (Sokobano)

Double-ring within a pinwheel-shaped structure, with a box of hindrance. Puzzle very difficult and technical. Obviously, the great difficulty is to place the free box... and then rebuild the rings. It seems impossible that it can be solved with so few spaces. See another more difficult enlarged version in  Secundus gradus ad Olympo 75, and see also First levels 256 y 258.

Author: Přemysl Zíka
Title: First levels #190
Comment: Joke problem
Date: February 2012
Difficulty: 8
Best moves/pushes: 13094/1803 (Sokobano)    

Incredibly difficult and laborious puzzle, with four series of "switches" in the crossroads that open/close the passageways. Take it calmly!

Přemysl is an expert builder of complicated "artifacts", disconcerting and surprising. Some of his puzzles look like sophisticated engineering works. See other similar "artifacts": First levels 179, 183, 234, 241, and Primus Gradus ad Olympo 79.

Author: Přemysl Zíka
Title: First levels #243 EU - chaos and tragedy
Comment: Joke problem
Date: May 2012
Difficulty: 7.5
Best moves/pushes: 22463/4338 (Sokobano)

Fun maze, a incredible mess. It's the most complicated and difficult Sokoban maze I know. If you dare, I advise patience. The peculiarity of this spectacular maze is that you have to move all 16 boxes at the same time. Hint: note that there are 16 crossroads... ^^

Author: 随风而逝 (SokoWind) + stopheart + gyjgw + anian
Title: Riddle Sokoban #31 A面B面 (A side B side) b2
stopheart (a version): add 2 boxes
gyjgw (b version): based on a version, stoned 5 boxes/goals
anian (b2 version): based on b version, move a goal
Date: 2012. Remodels: 2012.7.19
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=37579&extra=&page=85
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 478/111

Fun level. A side B side. The double life (2010) is a film from the Chinese director Ning Ying.

A面B面 (2010)

Author: Many illusions + shamying + stopheart + 20603
Title: 2012 b - MF8 46th Sokoban Competition, Extra
stopheart (MF8 46th SC): based on stopheart + shamying version, change down 2 floors from the top, rearrange some boxes on the right
20603: based on MF8 46th SC, add 1 wall
Date: c. 2012. Remodels: 2013.4.20 (stopheart + shamying), 2013.5.3 (MF8 46th SC), 2013.5.22 (20603)
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=96689
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 816/218

Shamying posted on the MF8 forum a first remodel (stopheart + shamying), and explained that Many illusions was a 12 year old (!). I publish the 20603 arrangement, which adds a wall.

Author: Hacker Chris + Jordi Domènech
Title: Life #57 Sokoban (WE, 1991) #55 arr.
Comment: based on level 55 (unsolvable) from the game Sokoban (1991) by Hacker Chris, for ZX Spectrum. I add 6 boxes, major changes
Date: 1991. Remodel: 2012.9.4
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 999/230

Přemysl Zíka said about this puzzle: "One of the most beautiful and most poetic studies, which I know. Difficult, but fantastic." Thank you a lot!


Author: laizhufu
Title: 戌狗之小狗狗 (Xu Dog)
Date: 2013.1.16
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=92715&extra=&page=24
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 475/126

Laizhufu and SokoWind designed a series of excellent puzzles with the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac: Tiger (2012.10.22), Rabbit (10.31), Shen Monkey (by SokoWind, 11.6), Dragon (SokoWind + laizhufu, 11.29), Dog (2013.1.16), Ox (1.22)... The Dog (狗) is the 11th animal in the Chinese zodiac.

A slightly more difficult version of the puzzle served as the basis for MF8 45th Sokoban Competition, Extra, although with the poor puppy's face a little disfigured by two goals :(

Author: Marko Dzekic + Přemysl Zíka + gyjgw + anian
Title: Cobra+3
PZ: add 2 boxes
gyjgw + anian: based on PZ version, move a goal to the bottom left and rearrange goals of the upper room
Date: November 2008 (Soko-GOD #6 Cobra). Remodels: Cobra+ 2013.10.8 (PZ), 2013.10.12 (gyjgw + anian)
Difficulty: 9.5 (PZ)
Best moves/pushes: 43445/10767 (PZ)

Přemysl Zíka added two "impossible" boxes to the excellent "snake" by Marko Dzekic (Slovenia). It is the most beautiful and spectacular "snake" of all time.

Author: Eric F. Tchong + Archanfel + Jordi Domènech + laizhufu
Title: Feliz 2014 a
Archanfel: add an interesting room to the left of "FELIZ 2014"
JD: based on Archanfel version, add 15 boxes, major changes
laizhufu: based on JD version, removes most of the puzzle and leaves only the top right, major changes
Date: 2013.12.18. Remodels: 2013.12.18 (Archanfel), 2013.12.19 (JD), 2013.12.27 (laizhufu)
URL: sokoban.org/level.php?id=140
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 2328/627 (ymlr)

Goals in central area: "Feliz 2014" ("Feliz" is a Spanish word and means "Happy"). Eric F. Tchong is from Aruba, a island in the Caribbean. In Aruba is speaking Dutch and Spanish, in addition to the oficial language: Papiamento (a mixture of Spanish and Afro-Portuguese...). Beautiful and clever remodel of Laizhufu!

Author: Přemysl Zíka
Title: Secundus gradus ad Olympo #48
Date: December 2013
Difficulty: 8 (PZ)
Best moves/pushes: 2395/670 (haikemono + Archanfel)

Hard! Hybrid level of storage and maze. Continuous difficulty from the first to the last box ... See also the same style level #53.

Author: Přemysl Zíka
Title: Secundus gradus ad Olympo #65 Jack-in-the-box
Date: December 2013
Difficulty: 6.5 (PZ), 7.5 (JD)
Best moves/pushes: 365/120 (Sokobano)

I love this "Jack-in-the-box"! Fun to solve, but not easy. 

Author: Přemysl Zíka
Title: Secundus gradus ad Olympo #62
Date: December 2013
Difficulty: 5.5 (PZ), 7.5 (JD)
Best moves/pushes: 4249/838 (Mokobam)

Hard rotary staircases, an extended version of Primus gradus ad Olympo 98.
Přemysl Zíka  is an expert on "staircases": see also First levels 181, 220-221, Primus gradus ad Olympo 90, 98, Secundus gradus ad Olympo 35, 43, 60, 62, Tertius gradus ad Olympo 35 and MF8 99th Sokoban Competition.

Author: Přemysl Zíka
Title: Secundus gradus ad Olympo #76 (bonus) Beer for Jordi
Comment (on the PZ website):
Jordi Domènech loves beer. So I brewed him one beer. My beer has one advantage. In contrast the "liquid" never spoil. Foam never falls. Beer is still "fresh"... Bon appetite!
Date: December 2013
Difficulty: 8 (PZ)
Best moves/pushes: 1599/469 (Sokobano)

Yes, I love beer. A German journalist told me that the best beer in the world was drunk in Barcelona... Well, maybe that journalist was never in the Czech Republic... ^^

Author: niwa
Title: Square Dance #28 Tangled
Date: c. 2014
Difficulty: 8
Best moves/pushes: 1006/128

Fantastic maze! Niwa (Denmark) has built few puzzles, but some are shocking, like this incredible "Tangled".

Author: niwa
Title: Square Dance #31 Classical Labyrinth #2
Date: 2014.3.9
URL: sokoban.org/level.php?id=169
Difficulty: 8.5
Best moves/pushes: 4875/439

Is this the labyrinth of Crete built by Daedalus to hide the Minotaur? Without a doubt, it is the most intricate and difficult maze of all time.

Author: A1master + Přemysl Zíka
Title: 1,000,001 candlelights #32 april2014 b (arr.)
Comment: add 2 boxes, major changes
Date: 2014.4.27. Remodel: 2014.5.3
URL: www.zusbreznice.cz/rozvrhy-zika-premysl-sokoban-remodeled.cz
Difficulty: 5.5 (PZ), 7 (JD)
Best moves/pushes: 1163/187

The original A1master puzzle is good, but Přemysl Zíka's remodel is outstanding.

A1master (Ukraine) is an unequal author. In his two collections there are very easy puzzles mixed with amazingly difficult ones. See two other remarkable puzzles: 1,000,001 candlelights 18 (amazing storage level!) and 1,000,002 candlelights 15.

Author: Tian Lang
Title: 三天两地 - MF8 59th Sokoban Competition, Main
Date: 2014.5.2
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=101958
Difficulty: 8.5-9
Best moves/pushes: 1991/697 (一目了然 + MMeger)

Rains? This is the ideal puzzle for a rainy afternoon. I have not solved it, but Tian Lang (China) is a master and I am convinced that this impressive chessboard is very tight ... Does the puzzle commemorate Tian Lang's 5th anniversary on MF8? I haven't been able to find out. See also MF8 98th Sokoban Competition.

Author: laizhufu
Title: 继续荡秋千 (Continues to swing)
Date: 2014.11.10
URL: sokoban.org/level.php?id=408
Difficulty: 7.5
Best moves/pushes: 1321/395

Beautiful level!

Author: laizhufu
Title: 五四青年节 (May 4 Youth Day) - MF8 72nd Sokoban Competition, Extra
Date: 2015.5.8
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=104430
Difficulty: 8
Best moves/pushes: 683/183 (一目了然)

Interior walls: 五四, "5 4" (May 4). Youth Day (青年节) is a holiday dedicated to the youths of a country. In China it's the 4th of May.

Extraordinary puzzle, technically perfect, very difficult and at the same time fun to solve. It is perhaps my favorite puzzle from Laizhufu so far.

Author: laizhufu
Title: 9.10教师节 (9.10 Teachers' Day)
Comment: 不是没事干才推箱子,一日为箱,终身为奴。
Date: 2015.9.14
URL: sokoban.org/level.php?id=438
Difficulty: 8
Best moves/pushes: 1134/234 (XiBeiTianLang)

Another impressive puzzle from the series "anniversaries and celebrations" :) Very tight and difficult! Laizhufu builds more and more difficult puzzles, although always very creative. Many of his puzzles have been used for the MF8 Sokoban Competition. In China, Teachers' Day is celebrated on 10 September.

Author: Přemysl Zíka
Title: Tertius gradus ad Olympo #43c Little nutcracker (#3-final version)
Comment: Not miss it - exactly in my typical study
Date: January 2014 - November 2015
Difficulty: 9 (PZ)
Best moves/pushes: 3523/717 (Paul)

I have not solved this puzzle yet, but I publish it because it is the most characteristic structure of Přemysl Zíka: central storage and rooms in the corners, which forces the rotation of the boxes. See also First levels 211 and Secundus gradus ad Olympo 56 "Nutcracker" (difficulty: 10, according to PZ).

Author: Jordi Domènech + Přemysl Zíka
Title: Life #44 S - a
Comment: stoned many boxes/goals
URL: www.zusbreznice.cz/rozvrhy-zika-premysl-sokoban-remodeled.cz
Date: December 2015. Remodel: 2016.12.15
Difficulty: 9.5 (PZ)
Best moves/pushes: 3071/773 

Maybe it's one of the most hard Sokoban puzzles of all time. An extended version with two added boxes was the puzzle of MF8 101st Sokoban Competition, which was solved by only one player: cjcjc. Přemysl said it took three days to build it.

Author: 李金玉 (Li Jinyu)
Title: 旋转餐厅 (Revolving restaurant) - MF8 85th Sokoban Competition, Extra
Date: 2016.5.13
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=105483
Difficulty: 7
Best moves/pushes: 1338/358

I love this one! That kind of levels are the ones that create Sokoban fans. 

Author: laizhufu + anian
Title: 酉鸡之闻鸡起舞 - MF8 95th Sokoban Competition, Main
Date: 2017.2.10
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=107049
Difficulty: 8.5
Best moves/pushes: 925/293 (zhouxh + ymlr)

Except the tail, everything else is hard in this fantastic rooster. Actually, it's an inextricable knot of boxes. Take it easy.

Author: 我是推乐山 (Tui Leshan)
Title: 五岳 (The Five Great Mountains)
Date: 2017.3.13
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=37579&extra=&page=130
Difficulty: 7.5
Best moves/pushes: 3525/695

Seemingly simple, but exciting and fun to solve. It is one of the best puzzles of the whole year 2017.

Note: The original puzzle credits are:
Author: dzxmer + Jordi Domènech + 我是推乐山 (Tui Leshan)
Title: dzxmer #28 b
However, the puzzle must be considered a completely original creation of Tui Leshan, because the previous puzzles of dzxmer + JD have been so modified that they are unrecognizable. As for the title, I proposed to baptize the puzzle 五岳, because the different areas of the puzzle remember The Five Great Mountains of China, seen on a map. All these considerations are provisional, waiting for the answer of Tui Leshan, who obviously has the last word.

Author: Přemysl Zíka
Title: Two little pyramids - MF8 99th Sokoban Competition, Main
Date: 2017.6.2
URL: bbs.mf8-china.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=107281
Difficulty: 8.5
Best moves/pushes: 1200/330 (一目了然 + 天狼)

Do you think it's easy? Well, it's very difficult. Before you move the boxes on a staircase, think about it. Good luck!