Thursday, 26 November 2015

Gary's escape

Yes this is a pretty old (from 1997) puzzle (which makes it highly collectible!!) designed by Gary Foshee and composed of a bottle, a metal rod and a marble to be freed.

Everything what you need is provided with the puzzle. You just have to take care because, being made with glass, it's fragile.

It's by no mean a difficult puzzle, pretty straight forward, but the ideas are clever. Even if you're not a seasoned puzzler, you immediately know what you have to do, how you will do it and what you expect the result to be. But still you will have pleasure to solve it.

In the solution booklet Gary says to unscrew the bottle to reassemble all the things inside. But if you want a pretty difficult challenge you can try to reassemble it without unscrewing the bottle.

What is your favourite bottle puzzle?

To conclude: this is a nice puzzle and perfect for an exchanged puzzle

Thursday, 19 November 2015

8 star puzzle: the comparision between the prototype and the finished product

This nice-looking puzzle is a design from the Belgium designer Robrecht Louage. I have already reviewed some of his previous puzzles, checked it out!

You may remember the 4 steps puzzle, this is in the same concept but with 4 more steps.

The goal: you put the ball in the "in" hole and you need to free the ball, going through many traps.
Actually there are 8 steps, some of them are clearly visible and some of them are hidden either by black marks or hidden ways.

The first step is easy to go through: just a little bit of dexterity. Same thing for 2nd step but this time it's hidden. If you look well, 2 steps are identical and can be found in Roger D puzzles.

None of the steps can be considered as new principles, thus you will not have any novelty with this puzzle. However, the steps are implemented all the way on your "puzzle journey" and so there is not like "breaks" between them, they are a continuation of each other.

The difficult thing is the maze because even if there are some holes on the back of the puzzles, well you cannot see what you're really doing. You can only try to guess and believe me you should not make big moves, because the different ways are close to each other, with dead-ends and so on: so here it's dexterity in the dark.
Of course, you can unscrew the puzzle and see the maze if you gave up, and then try to navigate again in the maze.

Like usually with puzzles, there is first the prototype and after the finished product. I put below on the left the picture of the prototype and on the right the picture of the finished product, so that you can see the changes.

The front of the puzzle (ok I know the 2 puzzles are not orientated in the same mistake)
For the prototype the plastic is absolutely transparent and a little bit opaque for the finished puzzle, but both have black marks.
I would have prefered that the finished product have a transparent plastic with opaque (and not black) marks, but opaque enough to hide the traps.
The black marks are positioned on the same traps.

The entry of the maze
Nothing different

The back of the puzzle
Again, sorry for the orientation of the puzzle, but I know my readers are clever guys, so you will notice no change, except the name of the puzzle with 2 stars, to make the product totally finished

The inside of the maze
Hummm, no spoiler. But the maze is globally the same but with some small changes, which make the maze of the finished product a bit more difficult, in my opinion.

Solvable and not solvable?
The prototype cannot totally be solved whereas the finished can be, that's normal right ;-)
But this is one of the last steps, so your puzzling experience will not be altered by this small faults. And a prototype is always a high collectible puzzle, isn't it?

To conclude: a very nice puzzle, not difficult but still very enjoyable. Perhaps next puzzle will be the "12 steps puzzle", who knows...

Thursday, 12 November 2015

3M puzzle

Time to review a packing puzzle by the famous Iwahiro. This puzzle is easy to understand: you need to put all the 3 pieces (with an M shape, hence the name of the puzzle) inside the box. The box and the pieces are made from MDF.

Ok then simple goal, simple solution? Not at all!

If you've already played with any Iwahiro's puzzles like the Jam puzzles or the ODD puzzle, you know that all his puzzles look simple, but actually their solution include either rotations or unusual positions.

As you can see below, the pieces cannot be packed in an usual way, the goal is to pack them so that you can close the box of course!

I play some time with it trying to put them in different ways, and you will notice soon that these pieces interact with each other: just putting one on a vertical plan, the other flat (for example) does not work.

You need to think "outside the box" to put everything inside the box, paradoxical, isn't it? :-)

Once you have figured out the solution, a little dexterity (a very little I would even say) is required.

This puzzle has a satisfaying solution and it will puzzle you for some time I am sure. Iwahiro also designed the 4M puzzle, same goal, but perhaps not the same solution (actually I do not know as I have not yet tried the 4M puzzle, but I would expect a different solution, or at least a slight difference).

If you want an unusual packing puzzle, this is definitely one you should try to get!

Is there anything inside?.... ;-)

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Do you need some light(er)?

Yes yes it's a lighter...but you cannot burn anything with it, or perhaps your brain :-)

Actually it's a puzzle designed and crafted by Roger D, the famous unknown designer (don't you think-like me-that it's a real pitty that nobody knows him?...), all in metal (the flame is in brass, the core is the metal used for many of his puzzles).

The puzzle is not big, but the size is still satisfaying and the weight is not light (you get the pun?)

Looks impressive, doesn't it?

Anyway, let's continue! When you get a Roger D puzzle, actually you have 2 puzzles: the first puzzle is to understand the goal (it's easy to guess it for R2D2 for example), the second puzzle is to solve your metal puzzle.

For this puzzle, I cannot put a picture of the puzzle in the solved state because it would show you the goal of it.

So what would be the goal? Pushing the flame inside the core? Pulling the flame out of the core? Turning the flame? Or perhaps the goal has nothing to do with the flame?...But once you have solved the puzzle, the goal is obvious of course!

Now the solving experience? Humm let's say it's a difficult puzzle. You do not know the goal, you cannot see the internals...So yes, it's difficult: you can experience some pain to solve it! No external tools are required to solve it, by the way.

You can only hear some things ratling inside: but it's difficult to hear if it's only one thing or many things, where they are, and so on.

The cleverness of this puzzle (despite it's natural beauty) is that the mechanism is not super complex: it's rather simple and definitely very well crafted with good precision.

To conclude: a very nice puzzle to play with. It's also very original. I like the design and the solution (I think I found the "official" solution even if no solution are usually published for these puzzles).

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