(Click to Enlarge)
Today, I'm reviewing another Swiss made puzzle, the SwissMad. It's a Slide Puzzle designed by Olivier Pahud and it was entered at the 24th IPP Design Competition, back in 2004.
The SwissMad has twelve tiles, six red and six white and two sliding platforms that move vertically. Now, the interesting part is that the puzzle is double-sided, so on the backside you also have the same number of tiles and two sliding platforms as well. The only difference is that they move in the perpendicular direction in relation to the front side. Each platform movement can slide the equivalent of two tiles, up and down or left and right, depending on the side you're maneuvering.
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At first, you might get a little confused about how the puzzle works, but with time and practice it does become much easier to recognize how a movement is going to affect the other side and vice versa. The SwissMad sort of reminds me about the Svetnashki. I know the number of tiles are not the same and the concepts are different, but I can see a similarity in the pattern making principle. Both are great puzzles.
What I like about this sliding puzzle is that there are many goals and challenges for you to try and solve. The most basic one is to just think about a specific pattern and recreate it in one of the puzzle's sides. For a harder challenge, try to recreate one of the eight predetermined patterns (engraved at the corners of both sides) and see if you can solve its possible combinations on the other side at the same time. This is what the puzzle is all about. Every movement that you perform on one side, affects the tiles on the other side as well, making it extremely difficult to build a pattern on one side, while keeping the other from scrambling. For example, one red tile can have a counterpart on the opposite side being either red or white. When you're moving a particular tile, you have to take into account which color you need for the pattern on the other side, red or white. This will require a good strategy and planning ahead. For a more in depth look on this kind of challenge, see this page.
(Click to Enlarge) - Right Pic: Backside from the Left Pattern
Besides those challenges, there are many others to keep you busy. You can build a total of thirteen different symmetrical patterns. For an added difficulty, try to find which of these are possible to build on both sides at the same time. Not an easy task.
(Click to Enlarge) - Symmetrical Pattern
For extra patterns, you can create designs that represent each and every letter of the alphabet, as well as the numbers from 0 to 9 and some punctuation marks. You can check out all these patterns here. You don't have to restrain yourself to the same square orientation. If you rotate the puzzle 45º and look at it as a rhombus, there are other nice patterns you can build (See below). There's a cool virtual version here, if you want to try it before buying the actual physical puzzle.
(Click to Enlarge) - Patterns w/ Rhombus Orientation
My SwissMad puzzle came from the SwissMade.com website. They have all kinds of other cool Swiss made products as well. While you're on that, I recommend trying their premium Swiss chocolate bars, which are considered one of the best chocolates in the world.
A slide puzzle combined with the challenge of pattern-making. How much more could a puzzle enthusiast ask? There's plenty of challenges to keep you entertained for hours and plus, the size of the puzzle makes it portable enough to carry it with you anywhere.