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If you're familiar with the work of Maurits Cornelis Escher (best known as M.C. Escher), then you've probably seen several puzzles that depict some of his best pictures. In my collection, I have a few of these and today I'll show you a couple of them, one of which is my most recent acquisition from PuzzleMaster, Birds, Fish and Turtles, produced by Loncraine Broxton - The Lagoon Group.
This is basically a classic 15 Puzzle slide concept, except instead of numbers you have to work with a picture, which by the way is a lot more difficult to solve. Actually, there are 16 tiles, but in order to mix and solve the puzzle you need to slide down one of the tiles to get an empty space. The drawing used in this puzzle is from Escher's Symmetry collection, which features some of his most impressive work. This is actually one of a six puzzle collection currently available at Puzzlemaster.
Despite its very affordable price, this is a high-quality sliding tile puzzle. It measures 11 x 9cm (4.3" x 3.5") and the tiles are painted and coated with a glass-like finish, which produces this extra shiny appearance and smooth surface. The tiles also slide very well and jamming is almost non-existent, unless you have any tile misaligned.
|(Click to Enlarge) - Left: Stars (1948); Right: Birds, Fish and Turtles (Symmetry Drawings)|
PuzzleMaster rates this as a level 7/10, but this will very much depend on your skill at solving sliding puzzles. If you can solve any 15 Puzzle with very little effort, then this one is just a tad more difficult, considering you're visualizing picture fragments instead of numbers, and you need extra time for thinking which ones match each other's edges.
The hard part is memorizing the picture in order to solve it once all tiles are mixed. Since this is a symmetrical picture and there's no particular beginning or end, you have to rely on memory to know which tile is first. Then, it's just a matter of matching the fragments to make the whole picture again. If you find yourself stuck at times, there's a small black and white picture at the back with the drawing, to help you visualize where each tile goes. PuzzleMaster doesn't offer you a solution, but I think you won't be needing it. If you're having trouble with the sliding puzzle concept, you can find numerous tutorials online about the 15 Puzzle.
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The Birds, Fish and Turtles is a wonderful collector's item and if you really like the concept and idea of M.C. Escher puzzles, there's five more to collect. For any slide puzzle fan, what more can you ask?
Availability: The Birds, Fish and Turtles is available at PuzzleMaster for just $7 USD, as well as the others in the collection. For more M.C. Escher or Escher-like puzzles, check out this page.