Posted on Jul 4, 2012 by Gabriel | 2 comments
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(Click to Enlarge)
I ended last week with a review for a Jean Claude Constantin's puzzle, and what better way to start a new week of reviews than with another one of his designs? - Hercules is a clever little puzzle that will put your packing skills up to the test. It was an exchange puzzle at the 22nd IPP in 2002.

Also known as the 22nd Labour of Hercules (direct relation to the 22nd IPP) or 5 L Dose Neu, the puzzle comes with 5 identical L-shaped pieces and the object is to get them all inside the tray. Solving the puzzle might not be a Herculean task, but it can still be quite tricky.

Mostly known by his wooden puzzles, Constantin produces his own version in different woods, which look very nice. The version of the puzzle that I have, though, is manufactured by Bits and Pieces, in aluminum and coated with different colors. The tray is made of wood painted in black and measures 11.8 x 11.8cm (4.6").

I should've known better by now not to trust anything coming from Bits and Pieces, but since I was getting more puzzles from PuzzleMaster, I thought this one looked very interesting, and despite previous bad experiences, I decided to take a chance. Turns out, I'm yet to get one good clean puzzle from them.

I wasn't very surprised when I first look at the overall look and presentation of the puzzle and saw many imperfections in the coating finish - There are cut marks and spots everywhere, which in no way hinders your puzzling experience, but for a collector, like me, I can't help but wonder why they don't make a greater effort in making a flawless-looking puzzle. I'm not asking too much, am I?

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The L-shaped pieces are in fact comprised of two C-shaped parts joined at a 90º angle. This is easier to notice in the wooden version, as C pieces were actually used and glued together to make the L pieces. The bottom part of the L has an indentation the same size as the top, which is sort of a hint as how the pieces should be packed.

Solving-wise, the Hercules is a level 7/10 difficulty, and unless you're an absolute beginner, it takes no more than a few minutes to find the solution. The puzzle is described as having only one way to fit the pieces into the tray, but the solution I found is actually different from the one provided, and in my opinion, more elegant. So, there's at least, one more solution for the puzzle.

Solution: Check out the provided solution and mine.

Closing Comments:

Jean Claude Constantin should prohibit Bits and Pieces from producing any of his puzzles. If I was a puzzle designer, I wouldn't be very flattered to have my designs butchered like this. I made the mistake of ordering another Bits and Pieces puzzle, by Serhiy Grabarchuk, with my latest PuzzleMaster order, and guess what? - It's even in worse condition than this one. Unless you really like the puzzle for its actual concept and as long as you don't mind imperfections (imperfection being an understatement), I can't recommend any puzzle from this company, at least made from metal.

As for the puzzle itself, and being a packing puzzle fan, all I can say is that the Hercules is a really good challenge. It's simple enough for anyone to try it without being too frustrating, and still be satisfying.

Availability: You get a copy of the Hercules puzzle at PuzzleMaster for $17 CAD.


Anonymous said...

is there a way to completely solve this puzzle

Gabriel said...

Hi, of course you can completely solve this puzzle. There are at least two solutions as you can see from my review above.

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