Cast Cake

Posted on by Gabriel | 0 comments
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If you have a sweet tooth, this will be a good one for you. Hanayama's latest offering is a sweet beauty, the Cast Cake. Designed by Bram Cohen, who also designed two of the most beautiful puzzles in the Cast series, the Cast Marble and the Cast Galaxy, the Cast Cake may not be as impressive-looking as its predecessors, but its concept is just as ingenious.

With a quarter of its circumference "eaten", the Cast Cake is comprised of three identical layers. These layers can rotate independently from each other, although rotating them may prove to be a difficult task for someone with sausage fingers, since the puzzle is very small (4.1cm in diameter = 1.6"). The whole puzzle is made of a metal that looks like bronze, but aesthetically I reckon it would have been nicer to see some contrasting colors, like we've seen before with other Hanayama puzzles. Other than that, the puzzle looks pretty enough.

As you may suspect, the goal in the Cast Cake is to remove its three layers from the outer frame. You won't be able to remove them all at once, so you have to find a way to do it in a sequence. I couldn't come up with a strategy other than using simple trial and error while rotating the discs back and forth. It may not be an optimal solution, but it does get the job done.

Hanayama rates the Cast Cake as a level 4/6, and while having a hard time with it, I do think it's an appropriate rating, which is not without surprise, since Hanayama does tend to miss the mark when it comes to properly classify their puzzles in terms of difficulty level. Putting it back to its original position is way easier, since you can see the grooves on the pieces and how they fit together.

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Solution: If you get stuck, you download a solution guide here.

Closing Comments:

Being designed by Bram Cohen, my expectations towards the Cast Cake were completely fulfilled and I wasn't disappointed. Sure, the design could've used a couple of different colors, but that's merely a matter of taste and opinion. I can easily recommend this one to anyone interested in Hanayama puzzles.

Availability: You can find the Cast Cake along with the whole Hanayama collection at PuzzleMaster.


Cast Padlock

Posted on by Gabriel | 2 comments
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When you think of a puzzle lock and how it should be solved, the first think that comes to mind is probably: how do you unlock it? What's its locking mechanism? It's a fair assumption, given how puzzle locks have been presented before. However, designer Jin-Hoo Ahn (who also designed the Cast G & G) takes a completely new approach and makes us think of puzzle locks in a whole different manner with the Cast Padlock. The theme for this puzzle is "obstinacy".

Although it appears like a regular puzzle lock, the Cast Padlock doesn't have a functional keyhole. You won't be unlocking it, but rather taking it apart. Four pieces make up this intriguing design, but in order to solve it, you'll definitely need some "obstinacy". What's more, the solving process is not at all straightforward, so be prepared for a tough challenge.

One aspect of the puzzle that stands out immediately is its tiny size. This a puzzle that measures only 4.3cm x 3.3cm (1.7" x 1.3"). IT's a tiny devil, is what it is...

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The four pieces that comprise the puzzle can rotate freely around the common central point. But, alas, rotating the pieces alone won't get you anywhere. You need to find an exact position that lets you separate the round semi-circles, but for that the two elliptical pieces in the middle need to be positioned correctly as well. It's a discovery journey in itself, as you learn how the inner mechanism works and keeps the pieces interlocked.

I found this puzzle extremely difficult to solve. It took me a few days to completely understand how the pieces interacted with each other. As if taking it apart wasn't a hell of a challenge, putting it together again is no small feat. This is rated as a level 5/6 by Hanayama, but in my opinion it's definitely a 6/6. If you like your puzzles crazy difficult, I can highly recommend this one, and you won't be disappointed.

Solution: If you need the solution for this one, you can download it here.

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Closing Comments:

The Cast Padlock is unique. There is no similar design out there and so, nothing to compare to or take hints from. It's a beautiful and awe-inspiring design, and therefore another worthy member of the Cast family.

Availability: You can easily find the Cast Padlock and all the others in the Cast series at PuzzleMaster.


Cast Chess Puzzle - Pawn

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For centuries, people have been fascinated with chess, a game that requires deep concentration and logical thinking. Its pieces, symbols of a society that once dominated all walks of life, represent everything, from the ordinary people (Pawn) to the highest power (King). It's no wonder then, that Hanayama decided to make Marcel Gillen's designs into a special edition collection of their flagship brand, the Cast Puzzles. For me, at least, it was enough to fascinate me all over again, just as much as when I first learned how to play chess.

The Cast Chess collection is a series of six different puzzles, each representing a piece from the original game of chess. Since the Pawn is the first to move in the "battlefield", I thought it best to start with it as well. It's a simple piece, but never underestimate a pawn...

The Chess puzzles are among the most beautiful by Hanayama. They're chrome plated, which gives them this premium and polished look. They're also about the same size as a regular Cast Puzzle, with the Pawn measuring 5.5cm x 3.7cm (2.2" x 1.5"). Each puzzle has hidden inside a coin with its respective name and symbol engraved on it, and your goal is to find out how the mechanism works in order to free the coin.

As for their difficulty level, the Chess puzzles are not officially rated by Hanayama, so it's more of an opinion based on whoever solves them. Each Chess puzzle has a different solution, so their difficulty will be varied as well. Nevertheless, expect a challenging puzzle and you won't be disappointed. I would rate the Pawn in the Hanayama scale as a level 4/6.

The Pawn has a very deceiving and clever mechanism which, even though it can be challenging to figure out, it can be solved by accident. I know, because it happened to me. I solved it, but I didn't know at the time how I did it. I had to inspect and study the mechanism to really understand how the puzzle locks and unlocks, which in itself is a challenge on its own.

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Closing Comments:

The Chess Pawn is a great start to this special collection by Hanayama. It can be attempted by anyone, even if they're not familiarized with puzzles and, as a collector, it's with great pleasure that I add this stunning-looking puzzle to my collection. Great as a gift for both lovers of puzzles and chess. Can't wait to review the rest of them.

Availability: You can get the Cast Chess Pawn and all the others in the series at Brilliant Puzzles.


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