Posted on Apr 7, 2014 by Gabriel | 2 comments
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Puzzle design is an art and Jean Claude Constantin is, to me, one of the greatest artists in this subject. He not only creates amazing new concepts and ideas, but he also has enough creativity to present those designs in a beautiful fashion, always surprising me further with each new creation.

The puzzle you see in the photos is called Brochettes (French for Skewers). It's quite rare for Constantin to name his puzzles using other languages other than German, but it's a welcome change. Brochettes consists of 10 skewers, each one unique in color combination and number of cubes. The puzzle comes in its solved state, and the pieces are laid in a 5x5 grid creating a colorful mesh with cubes that looks chaotic at first, but it's actually an organized chaos.

Each skewer can have one, two, three or even four cubes attached. Since the sticks can hold a maximum of five cubes - a limit that's not reached - you will see that it's possible to create different arrangements for the position of the cubes in each skewer. Unlike what you may think, the skewers are not placed in a knitting pattern (a constant movement of underneath and over its perpendicular line). That would be true had the cubes been pointing in opposite directions, but they're actually facing the same direction, as you can see in the photo below, where they are all separated.

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All cubes have a notch at the bottom so that the sticks can go through them. When solved, the puzzle shows a mixture of the cubes in two possible positions, flat or showing the notch. It doesn't show a particular sequence,though, of which cubes are facing up or down. It's more like a random pattern - that organized chaos.

This is quite a challenging puzzle. It's rated as a level 4/5, but don't underestimate it. It can be a 5/5 for some puzzlers. Since there's not anything like this puzzle around, it will be difficult to get a good idea of how it should be solved or the best way to go about it. My strategy, which is a stretch to call it that, was to lay a few skewers on the tray, parallel to each other, and try different combinations with a couple of skewers perpendicular to them and see if I could find a perfect match.

This is basically a packing puzzle, albeit a little different from the traditional 2D filling puzzles, so you can't really do much more than trial and error (unless you're going at it with a mathematical analysis). Nevertheless, it still took me over an hour to solve it, so it's definitely a tough nut to crack.

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Closing Comments:

Brochettes is a great puzzle. It gives you a new challenge unlike anything you've ever saw, and just for that it's refreshing enough. But it's not just the new concept. The presentation is gorgeous with different kinds of natural wood, something Constantin has already accustomed us with his countless brilliant designs.

Availability: Brochettes is available at Brilliant Puzzles for about $35 USD. Check out more puzzles of Constantin at their page here.



Jerry said...

I can't comment on the puzzling aspect but very nice design and colours. Very original idea for a packing puzzle too.

Gabriel said...

Indeed. When choosing puzzles from Constantin, I don't even need to know what the goal is, just that it looks great :D

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