Rudenko Clips

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After five weeks reviewing the different puzzles available from Roscreative, by Valery Rudenko (English), I finally reach the last puzzle, the Rudenko Clips.

First released in June 2010, along with the Doser, Mosaic and Matryoshka, the Clips puzzle is another great implementation of the Tower of Hanoi concept. This small and very simple puzzle has seven clips in three different colors and measures 8 x 6cm (about 3" x 2.4"). The rules are also simple, but with a big exception: It's not possible to cheat.

I would have preferred if it were seven different colored clips instead of just three, but there's a reason for that. You can play other types of game with different rules: Besides getting all clips from one sector to another, you can also get clips in all three sectors with different colors. For example, get only red clips in sector 3, green clips in sector 2 and yellow clips in sector 1. Below left is one example and on the right, a table with other examples.

(Click to Enlarge) - Other possible playable games

The puzzle has three sectors and you have to move all the clips from one sector to another, one at a time. The same rules from the Tower of Hanoi apply, in other words, you can move a bigger clip onto a smaller one, but not the other way around... And here's the interesting part: even if you wanted to cheat, and tried to move a smaller clip on top of a bigger one, it's physically impossible. Another obstacle at moving clips the wrong way is the separation of the sectors, which prevents more than one clip to pass through at the same time.

The design of the puzzle is fantastic, something worth praising. The simple concept is great at hiding the complexity involved in it, and the thought that went into the making of a cheat-proof puzzle is just amazing. A nice feature is that the puzzle is double-sided, meaning that it can be used by both left-handed and right-handed people. It's a great feature for me, being left-handed to be able to enjoy the puzzle in the same way. Another nice design feature is that the clips aren't perfect rectangles; they have a subtle slight narrower diameter towards the top, which allows them not to tangle so much with with the other clips when you're moving them.

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Solving the Rudenko Clips requires a lot of patience and concentration on your part. The puzzle has five levels of difficulty, so you can start by moving just three clips to another sector and then work your way up until you reach the seven clips.

Just for you to have an idea of the steps and level of complexity in this puzzle, the Rudenko Disc and Rudenko Matryoshka (both related to the Tower of Hanoi as well) required a minimum of 127 moves from one sector to another, and the Rudenko Clips require a staggering 729 steps, mainly because of the limitations when moving clips from one sector to another.

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My take on this whopping number of steps is that it's not much harder than the less complex puzzles. It just takes more time to solve and requires much more concentration, especially not to lose your train of thought, and believe me, you will most certainly lose it. I had to gather my thoughts a few times and check where I was, before venturing any further. The other puzzles took about 10, 15 minutes to be solved in the first time, but this one took more than an hour. My advice to you when solving it is that it's best to solve it in one go and not to leave it half solved for another day, because it can be difficult picking up where you left off.

I added below two interesting documents about the Rudenko Clips, one explaining in more detail the facts about the puzzle in relation to the Tower of Hanoi.

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Video: Youtube video with the designer, Valery Rudenko, showing the Clips puzzle.

Closing Comments:

The Rudenko Clips is definitely not for the casual player. It can be frustrating at times, particularly if you're close to the end and lose your concentration, but at the same time, it's a wonderful challenge and very rewarding when you finally solve it. Would recommend it to any sequential puzzle fan.

... And there you have it. Five great Russian puzzles from Roscreative and all designed by Valery Rudenko. My favorites were the Disc and Mosaic, but the others are not far behind. They're all fantastic collector's items.

Availability: You can buy Rudenko puzzles at Hendrik Haak's Puzzle Shop, from Germany or Labirint.ru in Russia (English translation here). For wholesale, contact Roscreative directly.

Now available on PuzzleMaster as well.

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