Monday, 23 January 2017

Medallion: Hanayama special edition!

OK I assume you all know the Hanayama's famous cast puzzles composed of usually (but not always) 2 pieces to separate and then to reassemble.
This puzzle is also a cast puzzle but does not belong to the "official" list of the cast puzzle series because it's a special and limited edition (hence the price is more expensive than the usual price of cast puzzles).

Designed by Oskar, this puzzle is composed of 2 rings that rotate creating a maze and a "tray" composed of 2 parts that you can push and pull.

So you're facing a 2 sides-maze: you have to move a disk, then push/pull the tray, move the other disk, etc. You need to anticipate the next moves depending on the path of the maze.
My technique to solve was was to look on both side each time.

But don't get me wrong: this is a difficult puzzle. I don't really know the rating of the difficulty as it's not written on the box but I would assume at least 5/6. You can be easily lost and make useless moves!

It reminds me kind of the other cast puzzle called L'oeuf, but I have some difficulties with the previous one as the moves were not super smooth and some slight force was needed. For this medallion puzzle, no force at all is needed, the moves are very smooth!

I even found another challenge with this puzzle!
I did not reassemble the puzzle in the "proper" configuration, resulting in a puzzle with the writting on the top with the flat side of the tray pointing up (come one, it's not just about rotating the whole puzzle hahaha!). If you look well on the first picture I put, the writting was at the bottom.
Who's up for this challenge??

In my mind, this is a really nice addition to your collection and definitely a must-have if you like (like me) the cast puzzles.

Being a special edition it's not available everywhere. I advise Puzzle Master webshop to buy it. Plus they offer a big range of puzzles. No doubt you will find something suitable for you! :)

The solution is here :)

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Some nice twisties

My first review of twisties that I want to share with you!!! And top quality of course!

All these twisties come from this puzzle shop online. They are very fast to reply and they offer a very big range of puzzles. I am sure you will find something that suits your twisty taste :)

I decided to go for a super floppy, a basic stickerless 3x3, a skewb and a magic clock.

First let's start with the floppy cube, well, it's not really a cube as it's a 1x3x3 twisty and it's very easy, anybody can solve it and without algorithms.
The very nice thing with this puzzles is that it's flat at the beginning and then you can have a 3D shape. In this case, you just need to make it flat and solve it. Why it's very easy? Because you can turn the small cubes when you have the puzzle like on the picture above. Maybe this feature was not planned? Anyone knows? Because I did see some algorithms to solve this floppy twisty.
Obviously it's not a twisty used for time competition, but who cares. It's smooth enough. I like it. The mean trick is to give it in its 3D shape to someone not used to (even easy) puzzles :) 

Now the 3x3 rubik's cube: this is a DaYan stickerless cube. I heard many good thing about this puzzle and it's known to be one of the best stickerless 3x3 cubes in the market and in my opinion it is! The moves are super smooth and you can make the cut-corner technique easily, which is a top criteria for speed cubes!
Also the good thing about stickerless cubes is the fact the the stickers won't get damaged as there are none :-)
A very very nice cube that everyone should try to get!
 The colors are bright wich is also something pleasant!

Now the magnetic repositionning skewb twisty: it has a cube shape but behaves not like a cube.

This puzzle is way easier than the rubik's cube because there are fewer algorithms and they are easier to remember. You can find them on the internet.
Again, this one is a stickerless and I chose the brand MoYu as it's one of the best quality for the skewb. Again this is a smooth puzzle, I like it a lot. As it's very smooth (and especially when you're not used to that), you need to be careful when making the moves because you can make unexpecting moves as it can turn easily. The good thing with this puzzle is that it's easy to take it apart and reassemble without screwing up the puzzle. You have an X-Y-Z axis and then you just need to put the pieces around it. Easy I told you :)
To be honest, the magnetic repositionning is not really noticeable...I was expecting stronger magnets to reposition faster and more efficiently. Something to improve I feel. Nevermind, I repositioned manually.

And the last puzzle is a magic clock. It can be considered as a twisty as well because the principle is pretty the same.
Actually you need to scramble the 9 clocks by turning the wheels on the side of the puzzles, while moving up or down the 4 buttons on the center of the puzzle. I have not yet solved it, but there are techniques to do so on the internet and the technique is also provided with the puzzles (though I must admit it's not super clear-for me I mean). Be warned: you need to solve the nine clocks on each side, so a total of 18 clocks!!

You can also push/pull several buttons at the same time, resulting in moving the time on the clocks in different ways (when moving the wheels).
This is a fun puzzle to play with and I like that it's a different design. It's good to see other things than cubes, d'ont you think so? :)
After scrambling it, now it's time to solve it!!!....pun intended??....

All these 4 puzzles come from this shop, which I strongly advise to you.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Pharaoh's Secret

Designed by Perry McDaniel and produced by Norman Sandfield, this nice dovetail bears well its name as the goal is to open it and discover the secret of the Pharaoh.

This puzzle is a nice addition to the series of dovetail puzzles by the Sandfield brothers and implements a nice and pretty new kind of step. 
Not being a difficult puzzle, this one shows its secrets pretty quickly. Indeed, it does not have a lot of steps and they are pretty easy to discover.

A good thing with this puzzle is that you don't have to be as careful as with other dovetail puzzles because it's unlikely that you will cut yourself with the dovetail joints.

Usually, Pharaoh's pyramids were pretty much like a giant puzzle to solve to be able to reach the Pharaoh and one could have expected more steps to open this pyramid.

However, the nice shape of the puzzle and mechanism are worth the case to have it in your collection or to play with it.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Chain store

Awarded at past IPP, this puzzle comes from the genius mind of the designer Goh Pit Khiam and was made by the very talentuous Tom Lensch.

Tom is used to crafting puzzles made by Pit Khiam and his puzzles are usually very good and have a little something that makes them very special. Just take the example of this puzzle: packing puzzles are common, not original. But packing puzzles using a chain of 5 links...well I have never seen it before! Have you?

Despite the fragile look of the chain, I can say that it's strong enough (unless you use useless brute force!) to be handled and manipulated without fear that the chain breaks. You have to believe the ability of Tom, he knows what he crafts!!!

I have played with the puzzle for some time before finding the solution and I would say it's pretty challenging, but not overly difficult compared to many other packing puzzles.
It's easy to put some part of the chain inside the box, but it's way more challenging to put all the chain, and remember that you have to pack the chain so that the top is flat...! :-)

Next attempt may be the right one....maybe...

My method was to try packing the chain outside of the box and see how it can fit or not inside. And I do think it's better to play like that, because you may not be able to arrange the links of the chain when the chain is inside the box. No force needed, just clever moves to try to make the chain "as small as possible" without too many holes or useless gaps.

There is only one solution and I really wonder how you can find that there is only one solution and how to write a program that gives you the precise solution..Nevermind, it's another kind of puzzle I assume...