|(Click to Enlarge)|
209 is another fascinating puzzle, by Jean Claude Constantin, that uses four different mazes in combination with five pins that you need to move sequentially. I'm not sure what exactly 209 means or maybe it was the designer who didn't have inspiration for a better name. Either way, the puzzle looks stunning and that's what really counts.
Manufactured with laser-cut natural wood, in contrasting colors, and finished with transparent acrylic, the puzzle looks and feels like any other quality designs from Constantin. It's a nice sized puzzle measuring 19.5cm x 4cm in length and 2.5cm in width (that's 7.7" x 1.6" x 1"). The four wooden boards also give it a nice weight that makes it comfortable to hold in your hands.
|(Click to Enlarge) - Bottom View|
The concept of the puzzle is somewhat familiar in the way that it uses multiple mazes that need to be navigated simultaneously. This one's actually a step up in difficulty to another similar design by Constantin, the BonBon, where it uses only two mazes instead of four. There's a lot to think about as you go about solving this one with four different mazes, so be prepared for a serious challenge. You need to be constantly moving the five pins up and down to unblock the next move, as you try to push and pull the four boards at the same time.
|(Click to Enlarge) - Partially Disassembled|
There's one important thing that might be overlooked as you first try to solve the puzzle. Contrary to what you'd expect, not all four boards are to be taken out of the frame. Actually, only one of them is possible to remove, and that's the top one. The others only serve to block most of your movements. You can flip the puzzle to take a better look of the bottom mazes, but even then it's difficult at times to know which board is blocking your next move. The fact that the actual mazes are only a couple of centimeters wide and you're trying to see through four of them doesn't help either. In this case, I believe a larger puzzle would be best, as the looks were clearly favored in place of functionality.
As for the difficulty level, well it's as challenging as you'd expect from such a sequential movement puzzle. It took me well over an hour to get the board out of the frame and, as of right now, I'm yet to put it back to the start. It's that tough and I need to gather some patience to attempt another frustrating session.
|(Click to Enlarge) - Solved|
If you like an incredibly difficult challenge, then the 209 is the perfect puzzle for you. If you're easily frustrated, I would then recommend you to stay away from this one. If you're like me and you're a fan of Constantin's designs, well I guess you have no choice but to add this brilliant puzzle to your collection.
Availability: You can purchase the 209 puzzle at Brilliant Puzzles for about $30 USD. Click here to browse other puzzles from Constantin.