Cast H&H (絡)

Posted on Aug 17, 2012 by Gabriel | 1 comments
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Besides Nob Yoshigahara and Akio Yamamoto, Oskar van Deventer is one of the designers who contributed the most designs for  the Cast Series. His genius has created many of Hanayama's most popular puzzles, such as the Cast O'Gear or the fiendish Cast Equa. The one I'm about to review, the Cast H&H, was released in July 2010 and it's another tough nut to break. The theme for this one is "Entwine".

As you can see, the H&H puzzle is nothing but two apparently identical H-shaped pieces entwined together  perpendicularly. They're as much entwined as they can be. You have the tough task of figuring out the correct sequence of movements to separate both H's and then to get them back together.

The design really catches your attention right away, as if it were some kind of art piece. This is what distinguishes Oskar as one of the most talented puzzle designers out there: He not only comes up with these outstanding concepts, but he also perfects his designs to stand out from the rest. As a trademark of Hanayama's Cast Puzzles, I would've loved to see each piece with a contrasting color (silver and gold), but seeing how the puzzle was built, I'm assuming it was made on purpose just to fool you to think the pieces are identical - Which they're not.

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The H&H is a Hanayama level 5/6, just shy of the most difficult tier, but even after spending half an hour or so solving it, I still think it's not on the same level as the Cast Equa or even one of the most difficult Cast Puzzles, the Vortex, both of which from level 5. In my opinion, even some puzzles in the level 4 were harder than the H&H: the Marble and the Donuts, for example.

Difficulty aside, the H&H is still quite challenging and irritating at times. I found myself countless times doing the same thing over and over again. When I thought I was making progress and close to finally separate the pieces, another movement was blocked by one of the several dents that didn't fit the grooves.

There are several different movements you need to perform before you can finally say "Eureka!" and only after shouting a few profanities at the puzzle. Most of the movements are intuitive, except for the middle rotation, where you basically rotate one of the pieces by 180º, and probably the very last one where you get the pieces out - I won't say too much about it so I won't spoil the fun, but you need to do a little twisting.

Getting the pieces back together is equally challenging, because you need to make the same sequence of movements, except this time it's backwards. Only when I first saw the pieces separated, I noticed that they're indeed dissimilar and not identical like I thought. It's a little hard to notice it when the pieces are still entwined, but that's what makes the puzzle so interesting - It keeps you asking "Why is it so damn hard?".

I would also say that this is one of those puzzles that can still be rather challenging when you attempt to solve it multiple times. I reckon you need several tries before you know all the necessary movements by heart, which is nice, because you get to play with the puzzle longer than you'd expect.

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Closing Comments:

Any of Oskar's puzzles always gets high praise, and the H&H is no different. The concept is not entirely a novelty among Oskar's puzzles, but its original appealing design is a welcoming addition to the Cast Puzzle family.

Availability: You can find the Cast H&H and the others in the Cast Series at Sloyd.fi.


Oskar's Official Website

Hanayama Cast (in English) - Very useful website in English, with plenty of information on all things Cast.

Hanayama's Factory Visit (Many thanks to Roxanne Wong for sharing these pictures)


rompecabezas said...

Excelente reseña. Un placer de lectura para todos los que amamos los rompecabezas.

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