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George Miller is best known in the puzzle community as a puzzle prototyper, helping designers to transform their ideas into something real and palpable. However, he doesn't just make other people's ideas come true, he also does this for himself with his own designs and he's pretty good at it. One of such puzzles is the Flexi Cube, a versatile puzzle with six different challenges made by Brainwright.
What I really liked about the design of the Flexi Cube was its bright colors and the unusual shape of the pieces. The ability to build the cube into different color patterns is a very welcome bonus for those of you that are not satisfied with just one solution - Mind you, there's only one solution for each of the six challenges.
The Flexi Cube basically works like the classic Elastic Cube (seen here from my collection). Each of the 12 pieces is connected to two others by an elastic string, allowing you to bend them in any direction. When solving one of the challenges, two pieces can be joined together to form one of the six faces of a cube, much like a jigsaw puzzle. The idea is to turn the flat pieces (2D) into a cube (3D). The cube is small, about 4.7cm in diameter (1.85"). The pieces are made of thick and durable plastic and the string is of very good quality - won't break unless you really stretch it to ridiculous lengths. When a cube is made it will hold together quite firmly until you disassemble it again.
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I didn't solve all six challenges, but was able to make three of them in a relative short time (10 minutes). Overall, I didn't find it very difficult. The challenge that was probably harder to make was the one that asks you to get each side of the cube with different colors. I'm just not sure if my interpretation of "all sides different" is the same as them, because what I ended up with was each side with two different colors, but opposite sides have the same color combination. Now, if that's not the solution, then I guess I found a seventh challenge, since it doesn't match any of the others. The easiest challenge might be getting one single color on each side (there are six different colors). Here, you just need to find a way to join two pieces of the same color together and then work your way until you have all six sides with a solid color. The third challenge I solved was more like a random solve, ending up with four different sides and two of the same color.
(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge "All Sides Same"
Even though I didn't find the puzzle that much challenging, I honestly thought it was really fun to play with. I like how the pieces fit together with their curved inside shapes, and the possibility of multiple solutions is an added incentive to keep playing for a bit longer. By being a simple design devoid of any complexity, anyone with a curious mind can easily pick it up and try to solve any of its six challenges. You can also fold it into other shapes other than the cube - Thanks for the tip, Pantazis!
Availability: The Flexi Cube is available at your favorite Canadian puzzle store, PuzzleMaster. Check out more cool puzzles by Brainwright.
(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge "All Sides Different"
(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge "4 Sides Different 2 Sides Same"