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Clever Toys is a Czech based company that produces quality wooden puzzles, some of which using colored beads. An example of that is the Flower puzzle, made entirely of wood, even the beads. It's supposed to be a tricky one, but is it that difficult? Read more to find out...
The Flower puzzle is comprised by a hardwood frame, nicely polished, and three sets of seven beads, each kept in place inside three ring slots. What surprised me in the design of this puzzle was that the beads were also made of wood - usually they're made of plastic. And they're actually natural wood colors, not painted as you'd first think.
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The puzzle moves by way of a rotating wheel at the center which makes the beads swap places with one another, thus mixing it. Inside each ring you can also rotate the beads freely. The center wheel only moves three beads from each ring at a time, so you must choose carefully which beads you want to move before turning the wheel. There's a small wooden handle at the bottom of the frame to make turning the wheel much easier. The movement is smooth, it doesn't jam or anything, unless you have the beads misaligned.
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The difficulty is surprisingly easier than I was expecting. Rated as a difficulty level of 9/10, I thought this was going to be one hell of a challenge, but I solved it in about 5 minutes or so. And yes, I had it pretty well mixed, so it couldn't have been an easy to solve pattern. I honestly believe the puzzle is no harder than a level 7. I also have solved another one of their bead puzzles (seen below) and the difficulty was about the same.
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Overall, the Flower is a very fun puzzle to play with, despite being not so challenging. It's an original concept, simple but fun and entertaining. The company has a few other designs featuring beads, all very interesting and deserving of your attention.
Availability: You can get the Flower puzzle at your favorite Canadian puzzle store, PuzzleMaster. Check out other designs by the Czech company.