Posted on by Gabriel | 2 comments
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Glückspiel is a Constantin puzzle that requires a lot of dexterity and hand-eye coordination. German for "Gambling", the name of the puzzle is indeed a gamble if you're not used to disentanglement puzzles. You'll find yourself struggling to put some order into the chaos caused by four mere pieces that just don't like to be close together. Can you reassemble the puzzle after you separate the pieces?

The Glückspiel feels very much like a Cast Puzzle. Although a little bigger than the average Hanayama flagship series, the design and build quality is quite similar. There are four identical pieces, made from thick metal and coated in a silver finish, just like any regular metallic puzzle. At the center of mass is a metal pin with two wooden discs at each extremity, which keeps the pieces from naturally collapsing.

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The first part of the challenge is to remove this pin and have the pieces move around each other freely. Next you'll need to find a way to separate every single piece from each other. At first, this is not an easy task to figure out, because the pieces are very well entangled - This reminded of the Cast Devil, with a similar solving process. After you have all pieces free from each other, you have to reunite them and form the original shape...And here lies the real challenge. This is a level 8/10 puzzle, and I partly agree, if not for the tough reassembly. I would say around 8.5-9/10.

I was able to separate all the pieces within a couple of minutes. It's not hard to figure out how the pieces interact with each other or how they should be separated. The problem, however, is to get all the pieces in the correct orientation and position in order to keep the central pin in place and stable. This took me about half an hour.

I found it very difficult to find the right orientation of each piece, because even if you know how they should appear when assembled, it's hard to visualize how they should be positioned at the point of entry. This was more or less a trial and error exercise until I found the correct position for every piece. In the meantime, I was also struggling to keep the pieces in the right configuration at all times, since they were always collapsing after almost every slight movement. This is why a great level of dexterity is needed. After this, getting the pin to fit in place is a walk in the park.

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Closing Comments:

Glückspiel by Jean Claude Constantin is a little different from his other more popular creations, but it's still a superb design and intriguing enough to give it a try. Again, Constantin proves that he's a jack of all trades who can design and build any kind of puzzle.

Availability: I got the Glückspiel at PuzzleMaster, but as of writing this review it's out of stock. Check back soon to see if it will be available again. Nevertheless, you can always check out other fascinating puzzles by Constantin.


Michel said...

Nice review Gabriel, you're spot on! Well in my opinion anyway :-) I encountered the exact same as you. Took me a lot of time getting it back together. Funny enough when a put it away for a moment I then solved it instantly...

Gabriel said...

Indeed, this was a very pleasant surprise, although I always expect great things from Constantin. I found it a little looser afterwards, though. Maybe it's because of the wood, I'm not sure.

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