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Dragon Cube is a fascinating little puzzle from the folks over at Gotta Solve It. Invented by their chief mechanical puzzle engineer, Doug Engel, the Dragon Cube is able to transform itself is several different shapes. This was first introduced in 2000 as an exchange puzzle at the 20th IPP, then called Perfect Ring of Eight.
The puzzle is built from wood and painted with eight different colors, producing a very nice visual effect. Although I prefer wooden puzzles, in this particular case I think plastic would have been much more appropriate, since you're dealing with colors. Paint and wood don't always go well together, because you're more prone to imperfections. Nevertheless, the coloring was very well done and you can hardly notice any spots or blemishes. The cube is also quite small, with 5cm in diameter (2").
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Consisting of eight different dovetail pieces, your first task is to take the cube apart. You can easily do this by removing the pieces in pairs, instead of trying to separate them one by one. Once you have all eight pieces removed, there's a total of 14 shapes you can try to assemble them into. They vary in terms of difficulty, but overall they aren't overly challenging to solve.
Before attempting to solve any of the other shapes, I first tried to reassemble it back into its cube form. This was the toughest of the challenges, also because it was the first time I was solving it. It must have took me about 30 minutes to have the cube shape again. After that, the other shapes weren't that difficult to solve, and I managed to solve them within 10 minutes each. You can see three other shapes other than the cube in the photos below.
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The Dragon Cube is a total different concept from what I'm used to see in puzzles. It's quite refreshing to see such originality and it's rather fun to solve. The 14 shapes will surely keep you busy for a while, if you can solve the cube first, that is...