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Oskar van Deventer has invented so many puzzles over the last thirty years that he could fill up a museum with all of his creations. The one that I'm reviewing today is another great design by him, which consists of four mazes that need to be solved simultaneously.
The Medallion (originally called Four D), was initially made by George Miller in acrylic and was Oskar's exchange puzzle at the 23rd annual IPP (International Puzzle Party). It was later picked by Hanayama for mass-production and is now sold at PuzzleMaster.
The puzzle bears a slight resemblance to another one of Oskar's designs, the Cast L'œuf, comprised of two separate parts with distinct mazes to navigate, although I consider the Medallion much harder.
Built with a beautiful chrome finish and resembling a gold medal, the Medallion challenges you to solve four mazes at the same time. There's a golden disc with two mazes on the front of the puzzle and a silver one on the back. To guide the two pins through the mazes, you have to rotate the disks back and forth in order to achieve the 55 steps needed to take the puzzle apart. For that you need to work with the two discs in sync.
To complicate matters worse, the two discs have different mazes on them, so what you do in one, may allow or block your next moves. With this in mind, you need to think ahead to make sure every step has a follow up on the other side. Also, be aware that the path taken won't be one way only, meaning that, at times you may feel that you're close to the end, but you have to go back a little to unlock the other side of the maze.
Usually, most puzzles in this category (Route-Finding) are as hard to take apart as to put back together, and this one is no exception. It took me approximately one hour to do these two tasks, and I have to warn you, be sure to have the correct position of the disks in the frame when you put them back together, as they will rotate 180º from the starting point. Because I neglected this minor detail, the logo on both disks was upside down, resulting in another challenge, although I'll have to leave that to some other time...
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Having solved so many Oskar's puzzles by now, I was eager to try yet another one of his tough creations and as usual, it didn't disappointed me. You always have this sense of accomplishment after solving a hard puzzle and you don't feel that you just wasted your time. It's a great high quality puzzle, very well built, like all of Hanayama's puzzles, and I recommend it to anyone in search of a demanding challenge.
For a detailed solution guide, click here.