Bee Box

Posted on Oct 1, 2015 by Gabriel | 6 comments
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Jean Claude Constantin has raised the puzzle designing standard so high that it's difficult to find other designers that not only are as prolific, but also as successful as the German craftsman. I've move than 100 different puzzles from Constantin, and so far I've loved each and every one of them. Today, however, may be the first day that I've seen one of his puzzles that I truly didn't like that much. The culprit? The Bee Box...

The Bee Box is essentially a trick box, which features a hidden mechanism that one needs to figure out before being able to open. This box is beautifully made from two contrasting types of laser-cut wood in the shape of a beehive. While laser-cut wood is far from being a quality material, it actually keeps the price down without losing too much in the visual and presentation department. So far so good... But the positive aspects stop here.

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What I love about puzzle boxes is the fact that I get to discover their secrets, how their mechanism works. Well, this one is nothing like that. As soon as I picked it up to inspect it, it opened right in front of me almost by itself and presented itself to me with a handful of balloons. At first, I thought the mechanism or some other part of the puzzle was broken. How can this be? Is that all there is? Is there anything I'm missing? Indeed, there was, but not what I was expecting.

Turns out, after some investigating, this is a puzzle you prepare for others to solve, not for you to enjoy. The goal is to fill one of the included balloons with air or water - yes, water is suggested, which is a great idea if you want to preserve your wooden puzzles - and put it inside the box so it will engage the lock and prevent it from being open. Now, the other person has to find a toothpick that's hidden in the outer casing of the box and puncture the balloon through one of the holes in the bottom and release the pin that's securing the lid. That's it.

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Closing Comments:

For me, puzzles are something I enjoy doing on my own. Because of this, I didn't find anything to like about Constantin's Bee Box but the fact that I collect puzzles and this one looks nice. It's a shame the puzzle's description doesn't mention any of this, otherwise I wouldn't have got it. Nevertheless, the idea is clever and if you like to present your friends with challenging puzzles, this may be a good choice. If you're like me, though, and you prefer your puzzles to be a challenge for you and not others, then you should skip this one. Sorry, Jean Claude.

Availability: You can get a copy of the Bee Box at Brilliant Puzzles for $34.95 USD. If you like Jean Claude Constantin's puzzles, you can find more here.



Otis Cheng said...

I have the exactly same feeling as you when I received my Bee Box. Also I don't think the mechanism is robust enough to lock the box.......I'm not a good puzzle solver but at least I wanna try, so I hate to know the solution before trying a new puzzle. Sadly, Bee Box you're forced to know the solution first.

Gabriel said...

Hi Otis. I'm glad I'm not the only one with these feelings towards this puzzle. It's a shame, because it's a really good looking puzzle.

Az said...

I agree with you guys, but how could have it been the other way? I mean, they cannot sell you with the balloon already "prepared" inside because with time it becomes flatter and flatter or can even explode during the shipping...

Gabriel said...

Hi Nick, my criticism wasn't about the execution of the mechanism, but the fact that it wasn't a puzzle for ourselves to solve. You have to prepare the puzzle for another person, which is a bummer if you like to solve your own puzzles. Also, the description could've alerted for that, saying that it wasn't for you to solve.

Az said...

yeah, you feel like more a puzzle crafter than a puzzle solver :-)

Gabriel said...

No, it's the opposite. I very much prefer to solve them than to create them :D

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