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What happens when you combine one of your favorite puzzle types with your favorite designer? Nur 8 (literally translated as "Only 8", a.k.a. 8-Puzzle) happens... Designed by Jean Claude Constantin, Nur 8 has a very interesting sliding mechanism like no other puzzle I've ever seen.
So, as the name suggests, the puzzle consists of eight numbered pegs that slide in any of the four main directions, but with some restrictions. There are these slots running across the length of a sliding platform that have different paths, like a maze of some sorts. The idea is to move all eight numbers to the bottom part of the puzzle with the correct order. As any good maze is proof, doing that won't be a walk in the park. A little planning and good strategy should more than enough to solve it without a hitch.
The design is simple but elegant. The usual contrasting wood colors are present, with a dark tone for the frame and a lighter color for the sliding platform and pegs. The numbers on the pegs are engraved, so you don't need to worry about them fading away with time. It measures 15.5cm by 7cm (6.1" x 2.8"), which is big enough for comfortable play.
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The puzzle comes with the numbers in the correct order, but in the upper part. As you try to move the numbers to the bottom you'll see that it's not possible to arrange them from 1 to 8 straight away. You'll need a bit of a controlled chaos. In other words, you shouldn't worry on how to get the number 1 in its correct position on your first moves. For the platform to move freely from left to right and vice versa you need to make room for other slots to become free, since there's only a gap between the upper and bottom parts large enough for one peg to go through at a time.
The solving process can be described as sequential movement, but not n-ary. There's no right or wrong sequence per se, just a sequence that can take more or less movements, depending on your skills. As far as difficulty goes, I didn't find it much difficult. It took me about 10 minutes to solve it. From a scale of 1 to 10 I'd say this one's about a 6. Much easier than it looks, actually.
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Nur 8 by Constantin is yet another gem when it comes to original concepts. Being a sliding puzzle fan as I am, this is the icing on the cake. A simple looking puzzle and yet so fun to play with, despite not being very challenging. A must-have for any Constantin fan.