Posted on Jun 7, 2012 by Gabriel | 2 comments
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(Click to Enlarge)
Having already reviewed a few puzzles from Vinco (Václav Obšivač), their common denominator is high quality and design originality. The Kamarad, a six-piece coordinate-motion interlocking puzzle, is no different.

The Kamarad has such a brilliant and original design that it'll be very hard to write about it without giving too much away about its solution. It's one of those puzzles that you should experience on your own and find out for yourself how it works. There's one phrase that perfectly describes it: "Looks can be deceiving". With this in mind, I'll try to describe it with no major spoilers.

The puzzle is comprised by six identical pieces made from natural wood and the different colors indicate, at least, two types of woods. It measures about 6.3cm in length (2.5") and it's coated with some type of wax that helps disassemble and assembling it. The goal, of course, is to find a way to take it apart and then return it to its original shape.

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When looking at the puzzle, the first thing that comes to mind is a burr puzzle: One of the pieces should slide off pretty easily - although not every burr is as straightforward and simple as this - leaving the inside mechanism visible. So, the first thing I tried was to push on the various pieces and see if any of them would move. However, there's one thing rattling inside the puzzle, a small bead, that quickly shatters the burr notion. Knowing that inside of a burr there are intersecting pieces, there's little to no room for a bead. With the help of this bead it shouldn't be that hard to imagine how the interior of the puzzle looks like. Now that you have a pretty good idea of the mechanism, you still need to take it apart. I'll leave this part for you to figure out, but I'm sure it won't be much of a challenge.

This puzzle is rated as a 3/5 level of difficulty, and given the fact that the bead gives you a nice clue about the interior of the puzzle, I'd say it's about right. Were the puzzle not featuring this bead, and it could very much be classified as a level 4.

After successfully taking the puzzle apart, you still have to reassemble it. While it might not be harder than figuring out how to take it apart, it still requires a good level of dexterity and hand coordination. You will find yourself a few times having to get the bead inside again, as in the process of reassembly it'll fall off quite easily.

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Closing Comments:

Overall, the Kamarad is a fantastic design and the concept is a pleasant surprise once you discover how it works. As with many of Vinco's puzzles, besides their high quality you can also count with very affordable prices, taking into account the type of puzzle and level of craftsmanship. A must-have for any collector.

Availability: The Kamarad came from Brilliant Puzzles and it's available for about $20 USD.



George said...

Isn't this puzzle equivalent to Stewart Coffin's Expanding Box?


Gabriel said...

I don't have that one from Stewart, but it does has a few similarities. Maybe because it uses the same coordinate-motion concept, although Vinco's design has the particularity of looking very much like a burr, which for someone solving it, could be very deceiving.

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