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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hanayama Cast Puzzle: Cast H&H

Puzzle: Cast H&H
Brand: Hanayama
Inventor: Oscar Van Deventer
ST: ~20 min

Cast H&H
Here's another Cast Puzzle for review: the H&H. At first sight it doesn't immediately show how it should work-but after picking it up it became fairly obvious, like the Cast Disk. The puzzle consists of two "H" shaped pieces intertwined with each other, some grooves on the puzzle makes it not possible to just pull the pieces apart but having to go through a serie of movements in order to separate them. The puzzle is a 3-D maze, and has some really interesting moves. It somehow resembles another puzzle in the series, the Cast Keyring, with similar aspects. As you can see in the photo the name and brand is engraved onto one of the piece, a little detail Hanayama puzzles always have.

The H's in pieces
Now although the puzzle was rated 5/6 in my opinion it was rather easy and I personally would rate it as more of a 3 or 4. Though there are other problems such as solving the parity issue the maze don't have too many dead-ends, and when it do, they don't extend long. I solved the puzzle rather quick-in total there were 26 moves at my count, although there was one kind of move the solution did not use, which is a bit let-down for me. A few days later, I was surfing on the web, and finds a copy of the solution of the H&H. But the problem is-the official solution was totally different with mine! It turned out that the puzzle has actually multiple solutions, and th official solution includes all six moves, not counting that it was the shortest one with only 20 moves (no pun intended). I'm not a big fan of puzzles with more than one solutions, but I guess for some maze puzzles it's just impossible to prevent that. Despite that, the Cast H&H pops out on the range of maze-type puzzles because the way the pieces interact with each other is very clever, maintaining your interest and made the solving progress fun.

On the shelf the nice silver coating made it look nice, and with the reasonable price you just can't go wrong with buying one here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Revomaze IV Extreme

Puzzle: Revomaze Invisible Extreme
Brand: Revomaze
Inventor: Chris Pitt
ST: ~2 Weeks

Revomaze Invisible Extreme
So after my rather expensive CE purchase I was completely hooked onto Revomazes, and when another limited edition popps out on the website, I was not one to miss out.

There was quite a talk in the forums about a invisible Revomaze coming out and I finally waited to this day - you can read about the post here. Chris has used a new machining technology that melts air then shapes them. The Revomaze IV has only been produced 25 copies - quite a small amount for a limited edition revo. But considering the costly technique I think it's reasonable. Been saving for a month to finally purchase it - you won't want to know the cost.
The serial number - IV0017

Being brought the puzzle on April 1st, it actually arrived quite quick. But since Chris designed the box as also invisible it took me 2 weeks to finally realize it! Besides the puzzle, opening the box was a free puzzle itself, since when someone opened air before right? It took me awhile to figure out the solution. Now I have to say although the Revomaze IV was expensive it was definitely worth the price. The machining was of very high quality, and I was satisfied indeed! After washing off the WD40, I began working. What a puzzle!

Now I have to say the Revomaze IV is unlike any other puzzles. For one thing the feel is totally different. It was smooth to the point that you won't even know if you dropped into a trap line until you were back to the start! This had added to another level of difficulty. Second it's the weight. Previous Revomazes are all heavy, thus causing additional soreness. There is none of that problem on this maze. But the only downside to the Invisible is that when one's toying with it out in the public, he looks like a complete fool, as they can't see what's going on.

I have been going well on the first section when a moving part Chris puts in there totally stumps me. I have been going back and forth but to no avail. It isn't until when I completed my map on that part did I see what can be done to progress through - that was a big "A-HA" moment! Then comes the second part which is very tricky to pass through - Chris has used the speciality of air to make a very hard puzzle. That part took me at least a week to do - as I am not used to an AIR puzzle! ARGHGHGHRRGGH!

Finally I was down to the last section. Only thing I can say is,Chris has gone to the point of using MAX dexerity, and when you finally gotten through "the tightrope", their fingers are already falling off... So finally after about 2 weeks the Revomaze Invisible Extreme was open! It was a very hard maze and my opening time was nowhere in compare as my last one. But having seen the insides I have to say it was VERY cleverly designed! I would definitely look for more of Chris' designs.

You can buy the Revomaze Invisible Extreme here, although keep in your mind that the purchase page was invisible too. Be quick, as it was very popular and the 25 might be sold out soon. EDIT: The Revomaze Invisible Extreme was officially sold out. Congratulations to the current owners!

Have fun!

Chinese Nine Linked Rings

Puzzle: Chinese Nine Linked Rings
Brand: N/A
Designer: Zhuge Liang
ST: ~30 m

Nine Linked Rings
This is the Chinese Nine Linked Rings puzzle. Although being famous not much puzzlers seem to have it. It has been manufactured by quite a lot companies, and goes on to have many styles. This puzzle also have quite a history to it. It was invented by Zhuge Liang, a chinese teacher who also invented other things and led many successful battles. According to history he had invented this puzzle for his wife to play with when he's at war.

The puzzle has basically two parts, the "sword" and the rings. Nine rings entangle with the sword and with each other, and your task is to take out the "sword". The puzzle is based on a simple principle, and for a ring to be taken on or off you have to meet certain requirements, so that's why you are taking them  repeatedly on and off to try and get the puzzle solved. For example, when you want to get the ninth ring off, the eighth has to be on, and in order to do that, the seven has to be on... In total there's 341 steps to take all rings off, and boy, won't that hurt!
Separated... 341 steps!!!

This puzzle is not particularly fun to solve, as it's just doing the same thing over and over again, but still,  logic thinking is required. I would not recommend it to serious puzzlers, but juniors would receive lots of fun. The Nine Linked Rings can be gotten from MrPuzzle.