The exploration of a junior puzzler in this vast puzzle world!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hanayama Cast Puzzle: Cast Elk

Puzzle: Cast Elk
Brand: Hanayama (forgive me)
Inventor: NOB Yoshigahara
ST: 15m

The intertwined elks
This is the Cast Elk from again Hanayama, with the highest rating of 6. I currently was stepping up from the medium range and buying lots of harder puzzles. The elk is one of them.

The designer's name engraved
on one of the pieces
This puzzle is, indeed, shaped as two elks, their horn entangled, and the letters NOB, the name of the designer, engraved onto one of the pieces. Then of course, your task is to separate them. I have classified the Hanayamas into two categories: the first includes puzzles that needs just a few steps to solve, but requires hard thinking. Examples may include Cast Nutcase, Cast News, Cast Spiral, and this one. the other is maze-like puzzles that require a long series of move to solve, and most of them requires the trial and error method (although Cast O'gear is a exception, see an earlier post). Puzzles that fit into this category might be Cast H&H, Cast Disk, Cast Keyring, and Cast Bike. I personally prefer the first one, as they require more thinking and not luck.

Back to the topic, Cast Elk is one of my favorite puzzles because of this reason. They are also beautifully crafted with detail, a common trait among the Hanayamas-beautiful and hard. I have been manipulating the two pieces for some time and was just going in circles. The horns' shape interact with each other to just block you from the last move!

The Elks separated
Later in the day I was watching TV, and taking the puzzle out from my pocket I suddenly found that it was in a whole new position I have not gone to-Kevin have I found another Magic jacket ? :D From that point I was able to progress and finally separate the two pieces. It turns out that I have tried a similar thing before, but the designer has made the two pieces slightly different, so out of the four similar moves only one works. I counted and there were about three moves total in order to save the Elks, but they were really tricky!

Overall the Cast Elk is a lovely puzzle to get, it's a "beginner" level 6, and as always worth your sacrifice. The Elk can be brought from here.

Revomaze Titanium Extreme

Puzzle: Revomaze Titanium Extreme
Brand: Revomaze
Inventor: Chris Pitt
ST: ~3 days

Revomaze Titanium Extreme
So wandering in the puzzle world I came about a series of puzzles called the Revomaze, and ever since I solved the first one I became completely addicted to them.

For those of you who hasn't heard of Revomazes I'll give a short explanation. The Revomaze is a series of puzzle invented by Chris Pitt. They are metal maze puzzles where you have to go through a labyrinth until you get to the end. The puzzle have three parts: The outer sleeve, the shaft, and the central core. There is a sprung pin inside the sleeve which walks in a maze engraved on the shaft. You have to push, pull, twist and turn to get to the finish at which point a dot will appear on the shaft. But not so easy! This series of puzzle really stood out from the others because the maze is not 2D, but 3D! The tracks has different heights, and if you drop to some of the lower ones... Start Over! After lining it up with another one on the sleeve, you can pull the shaft fully out, then release the central core out-revealing a certificate for completing the maze, with the signature from the designer himself. The different mazes range from easy to extreme (some have taken people years), but that does not mean the easy ones are a breeze. The units to count the solve times of most Revomazes are hours, or even days, indicating their level of difficulty. Machined from solid brass, the Revomazes are not cheap-but definitely worth the money!

Usually people start with blue, the easiest maze in the series. Following it are green, bronze, silver and finally the unite gold. As of the titanium-it was a limited edition that has a difficulty of about 85/100, whereas the blue was rated 50/100. So how come I had such a hard one as my first?

My serial number-21-50
When I found the Revomaze series, it turns out that I am a latecomer in the show, and some puzzles are going to or already are extinct. So in order to not miss out on any ones that are available, I brought the CE, or collector's set which includes all five puzzles in the main series-plus a limited edition. And you're right, it's the Titanium. But luckily the Ti is a static maze, meaning there isn't any moving parts in the maze, leaving me a classic type Revomaze. Wandering unexperienced in the maze I found some pathways but no other ways to go. Here I give a warning: do not play with the Revomaze for a long period! Your hand would be VERY sore.

Resorting to the forums, I've found the old, useful way-making a map. With a accurate map I was able to find where I haven't gone, and also the only possible pathway to the end. In the next few hours I learned the second element needed to open a Revomaze aside from a clear mind-a steady hand.
Continuing to work on the puzzle the next day. I got further, but the accuracy level required me to draw on the shaft. By now I have been used to the feeling of Revomazes and can easily manipulate the shaft. After a while the dot appears, hands are shaking, the two dots were closer and closer to be lined up-


Finally at the 8 hour count the dots lined up with a satisfying click, then the shaft literally dropped out, revealing a rather gorgeous piece of complex work. The high quality machining is definitely worth your little sacrifice. And then the central core was out, along with the certificate signed by Chris Pitt himself.

The puzzle was, although static, very sneaky. Chris implemented something very evil within the limitations of a nonmoving maze and I found out that, being a beginner, I was very lucky on solving this one in just 3 days. I have to say this fantastic puzzle has definitely gotten me hooked already-I am not going to miss out on any future Revomazes!

A close-up of the certificate
Overall the Revomazes series are a great puzzles series that almost passes all compare, and the quality and level of difficulty is both satisfying. This one is a limited edition, so it's not obtainable unless you purchase the costly collector's set, but all puzzles from the main series, another limited edition orange, and plastic versions of the puzzle is available from here.

Hanayama Cast Puzzle: Cast Loop

Puzzle: Cast Loop
Brand: Hanayama
Inventor: Vesa Timonen
ST: ~15 m

Cast Loop
First I would like to apologize of my small variety of puzzles, more specifically, I have been reviewing on Hanayama puzzles ALL THE TIME! I have been, as said, starting on this series for my puzzling and will be getting more different puzzles in the future.

After solving the previous ones I had confidence that I am more of a level-fourish person, and didn't "waste" my money on easier levels. But upon my researching I stumbled upon the Cast Loop which has a pretty high rating. After seeing several blog reviews, I decided that it's time to have it on my hands. It arrives with a string so that you can wear it as a accessory . (how nice!) But considering it's weight I gave up that use.
A rather heavy necklace!

Cast Loop's first assembly, as comes in package
The Cast Loop comes a shiny ring, the words "LOOP" and "Hanayama" is written on each of the pieces. With only two pieces it is not hard, but a bit tricky. The goal is to assemble the puzzle into a complete ring. It has two different assemblies, one of which the puzzle comes in the box, and the other which is the solution. This is not the kind of puzzle where you have to use the trial-and-error method, but rather you can just put the pieces on the coffee table and literally think out the answer. I am known to be slow among the puzzlers, so a good fifteen minutes were used before I solved the puzzle.

the beautiful symmetry
Apart from the puzzling on it, the puzzle itself is a beautiful piece of work, with a nice symmetry to the two pieces. Although rated as in the easiest range of Hanayamas, I personally recommend this one to you as it isn't only a clever puzzle on an old concept, but an artwork as well. Definitely worth buying! The Hanayama series can be obtained from Puzzlemaster, Puzzlethis, Sloyd, and MrPuzzle.