Brain Dice

Posted on Mar 15, 2016 by Gabriel | 1 comments
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I haven't reviewed a puzzle from Recent Toys in a while, so I was very curious to try their new puzzle Brain Dice, designed by Andrea Mainini. In short, this is probably the best puzzle I've seen in the last year - Very original design and extremely addicting. But, since this is a review, I'll elaborate some more on my thoughts about this one.

One thing that I always liked about Recent Toys is their ability to find new and original ideas, and transform them into superb puzzles. I have many puzzles from their extensive catalog, but finding a favorite would be a tremendously difficult task. As for the Brain Dice, I reckon it's one of the best from their entire catalog. That says a lot about it, no?

The first thing that captures your attention when you first look at the Brain Dice is its six dice, one in each side. The puzzle uses actual dice that you can see in any board game. Each side is surrounded by four arms, each with a rotating knob that shows three circles (each of the three circles can be either blank or black). You will only count the circles that are shown in black.

The goal of the puzzle is to first remove the dice from the frame and scramble them. Next, place the dice again, one by one, in the frame with the side that's facing you on the top. Finally, you need to rotate the four knobs in each side of the puzzle so that the sum of the black circles is equal to the number on the dice. It's simple to understand, challenging to solve and, most importantly, very addictive. And the best part? Whichever dice combination you have on the puzzle, there's always a solution, so you just need to keep trying until you solve it.

The difficulty of the puzzle is rated by the manufacturer as a level 4/5, and I completely agree. It's not frustratingly hard, but still challenging enough to keep you hooked and always coming for more. This is what makes the puzzle addicting, and of course, it's quite fun to play with.

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Closing Comments:

The Brain Dice is a superb puzzle and one that should not be missed by anyone remotely interested in puzzles. It's one of the best by Recent Toys in years. If you like a good challenge, this one is definitely for you.

Availability: You can find the Brain Dice on many puzzle stores. Brilliant Puzzles and Amazon are just two examples.


Posted on Mar 1, 2016 by Gabriel | 6 comments
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In the world of packing puzzles, peanuts are a tough nut to crack (fun fact: they're actually legumes and not nuts), especially because of their irregular shape. Not surprisingly then, puzzles with the peanut theme are very challenging for a good reason.

Besides the Peanuts puzzle, featured in this review, I know of only another puzzle with peanuts - the Glass Puzzle Peanuts by Beverly Enterprises. Both are very challenging, although I only had the pleasure of playing with the version you see here, designed and built by Jean Claude Constantin.

The good thing about Constantin's Peanuts is that it's a flat 2D puzzle, unlike Beverly's 3D one. Nevertheless, don't be fooled. This is still quite a challenge to solve, so don't underestimate it. I know from experience that 2D puzzles can be just as difficult as their 3D counterparts, if not more in some cases.

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The Peanuts puzzle features 10 unique peanut-shaped pieces, although some of them are unusually irregular, even for a peanut...but that's what makes it so interesting. The pieces are laser-cut, so they fit perfectly inside the hexagonal frame. Another interesting aspect of this puzzle is that each individual peanut piece has its own shell that can be separate from its kernel. This doesn't exactly make the puzzle that much more difficult, since you can easily tell which shell belongs to what kernel and vice-versa, but it's nonetheless a neat feature of the puzzle. For example, you can solve the puzzle first with the shells only and then pack the other pieces at the end.

As hinted before, this is a very difficult puzzle to solve due to the irregular shape of the pieces. Notwithstanding, you can actually take advantage of the inner shape of the frame to tell which pieces fit or don't fit in a particular part of the frame. This makes the puzzle a little less frustrating, but just barely... Be prepared for a real challenge.

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Closing Comments:

Constantin's Peanuts puzzle is a real treat for puzzle lovers. It's quirky and has all the right ingredients for anyone looking for a tough but rewarding puzzle. I can't recommend enough this one. Give it a go, and I promise you won't go nuts.

Availability: Brilliant Puzzles is the place to find the Peanuts puzzle. You can also get other great puzzles by Jean Claude Constantin.

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