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This is my eleventh Jean Claude Constantin puzzle review, the Raising Tower (a.k.a Scheiterhaufen). One of the greatest things about his designs is the range of puzzle types he can do, from Wire to Assembly Puzzles, although the predominant material is wood. If you don't like all kinds of puzzles, there's certainly a few of his creations that would be to your liking.
The Raising Tower sort of reminds of the popular game Jenga, where you have a stack of blocks that have to be removed and balanced on top until it collapses. The rules here are completely different, though. There are 18 pieces with notches in four types... Well, three if you exclude a single piece with no notches. These types of pieces have one to three notches and the goal is to stack all of them in a nine-storey tower.
The puzzle is beautifully presented in a three color wood for the pieces (each piece type has its own color), which are more or less separated by the number of notches in them. I say more or less, because the brown colored pieces have two notches, except for one piece that has only one notch. Also, one of the light tone pieces is the odd one out with no single notch. There's a piece that is placed at the top of the stack to prevent the puzzle from collapsing with an accidental push, which is a nice finishing touch.
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Solving the puzzle was kind of a letdown. This was supposed to be a very hard puzzle, but it turned out to be a trivial challenge. I will explain this ahead, but if you don't want any spoilers, just skip this paragraph. What makes this puzzle visually appealing, the coloring of the pieces is also to blame in giving part of the solution away. The presentation photo at the Brilliant Puzzles website gives spoilers about the color separation in the pieces: brown at the bottom, plain in the middle and red at the top. It's not an exclusive rule, but most of the pieces follow this principle, so I was given a big part of the solution, whether I wanted it or not.
With part of the solution already in my knowledge, suffice it to say, I solved it within five minutes. I started with the first group and by the time I was almost done, I just had to make a few adjustments in the piece arrangement, and it was solved. Almost no challenge at all. I have photographed the solved puzzle, but if you want to figure out the solution for yourself, don't click this link. Also, keep in mind that the Brilliant Puzzles photo for this puzzle shows it solved.
Bottom line, for me as a collector, having another Jean Claude Constantin puzzle is reason enough to have gotten one, but at the same time I feel a little disappointed to have been given most of the solution and didn't enjoy the puzzle like I was expecting. A solution for this? - Simple, if the puzzle had just one color tone. Surely, it would lose part of its visual appearance, but it would gain in solving experience.
I have recently mentioned the topic of fast solving puzzles and if they're really worth your money. Fortunately, as a collector, I have other reasons to buy puzzles other than simply solving them, yet I can understand the frustration in someone after spending money on a puzzle, just to have it solved in a few minutes. Yes, I'm sure you'll feel great in the couple of minutes after solving it, but I reckon it's a false joy, because you can't really be that glad to solve a puzzle with no challenge involved.
Jean Claude Constantin - Official Website