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Dan Gilbert became a household name in the puzzle community back in 1991, when he invented the world's most popular edge-matching puzzle, the Triazzle. His most recent creation, the Plexle Puzzles, are a series of six edge-matching puzzles where each one has a different theme.
When I first saw this new series of puzzles and learned that they were also designed by Dan Gilbert, I had to include one with my latest PuzzleMaster order, since I enjoyed the Triazzle so much. I went for the Plexle Puzzle with the Wood theme, but there's also Fire, Gold, Water, Stone and Space themes. As I understand, the other themes differ a little in shape design, although some shapes do appear to be similar. Currently, PuzzleMaster doesn't carry the Space one, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.
The Plexle consists of 16 wooden pieces, all dissimilar, showing different shapes in its edges. You need to match all the pieces in a 4x4 square, but keep in mind that only the shapes matter, not the orientation of the pictures. There's only one correct solution, so you might need to experiment a little.
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The design of the pieces is done by gluing stickers to the surface, simulating the wooden texture. The sticker job is nicely done, so you won't have to worry about stickers peeling off. Curiously enough, the wooden theme is actually made with plywood, but so are the other five themes, as only the stickers change... It would've been nice to have the Gold theme made with actual gold pieces, wouldn't it?
The Plexle Puzzles appear to be quite challenging, and judging by their PuzzleMaster rating, level 7/10 (Challenging), they should be, right? - Wrong... These are actually pretty easy to solve once you figure out how exactly the pieces fit together. If you don't want spoilers, skip the next Italic paragraph:
In my opinion, these puzzles were poorly manufactured, for one simple reason: The pieces don't quite match as they should be when two apparently compatible shapes could make a perfect fit. Instead, only the actual piece belonging to the solution will match exactly with the opposite shape, so all you have to do is find the perfect fit. It's a shame, because what could have been a challenging puzzle, became just a trivial task.
The Plexle Puzzles are a classic example of a great concept ruined by poor manufacturing work. The cuts in the pieces aren't perfect and that spoils the whole experience. I believe this could have been avoided, had they chosen cardboard instead of plywood - Works better in this type of puzzles.
You can still enjoy playing with it, and if you happen to fail to discover its real problem, which I highly doubt it if you're an experienced puzzler, it might take you a while to solve it... Otherwise, they're just mere collectible items. Sorry Dan, but I still prefer my Triazzle.
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