Posted on Jul 14, 2017 by Gabriel | 0 comments
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(Click to Enlarge)
Ever since I started my puzzle collection, slide puzzles were among my favorites. Any puzzle that has a sliding mechanism to solve fascinates me. Be it wood, plastic, metal or glass, the material is not important. Size doesn't matter either, as anything from a 3x3 grid onward will interest me the all the same.

Design and execution is what I value most in a slide puzzle. The actual concept and how that idea was translated to the final product is what in the end will captivate my attention. After all, a puzzle is eye-candy, too. This and more is why Butterflies by Raf Peeters is among my top 5 favorite SmartGames ever.

Simplicity wins over complex and overthought concepts this time. How a mere 3x3 slide puzzle could have this effect on me is hard to explain in words, but I'll do my best. If not to justify my love and enthusiasm for this puzzle, at least I'll try to convince you on why you should add this puzzle to your collection.

(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge 6

Let's start by packaging and design.

SmartGames have introduced recently their latest packaging, which not only reduces materials and size, but is also very practical for on the go puzzling. The puzzle itself is bigger than your traditional pocket-sized slide puzzles (15cm or 5.9"), but in this case it actually works best, because you need a bigger puzzle to appreciate the artwork.

Each of the eight tiles is decorated on one side with a unique configuration of different butterflies and half butterflies (we'll go into that in a moment). The other side is empty, because you won't need artwork on all eight tiles at the same time on many of the included 48 challenges. The actual sliding of the tiles, which is the most important part in a sliding puzzle, is smooth and without any blocking or jamming.

(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge 28

How does it work?

In essence, Butterflies is not that different from the classic numbers sliding puzzle. The main goal, however, is a little different. Instead of trying to put the tiles in a specific order, the Butterflies puzzle works with edge-matching. It's not as straightforward as ordering numbers, because you need to study the tiles and work out where each one belongs. I'd say that it's a tad more difficult than a numbers puzzle, but if you can solve those you'll be fine with this one as well - It just takes some time to adjust how you think about this logic.

Each tile will have at least half a butterfly. After you set up a desired challenge from the booklet, the goal is work out how to put all the butterflies in their complete and symmetrical shape, just by sliding the tiles. Only sliding movements are permitted. Also, you can't leave half butterflies next to the boarders - That would be mean...

Another interesting aspect of this puzzle is that all 48 challenges can be solved in 32 moves or less. Can you do it for all of them?

Here's a tip for when you run out of challenges:

1- place some tiles on the board like you were setting up any of the other challenges, but make sure to leave only complete butterflies. Remember, you're setting up the final stage as if the puzzle were already complete.
2- now place any remaining tiles on their empty side so that the board is filled.
3- take a photo of the complete pattern.
4- Finally, mix all the tiles so that they appear to be all scrambled and take another photo.

Do this a dozen times or more and you'll have several new puzzles to solve!

(Click to Enlarge) - Challenge 38

Closing Comments:

If you haven't worked it out by now, I absolutely loved the Butterflies puzzle. It's such an enjoyable little puzzle, and very hard to put it down once you start. I'm a sucker for sliding puzzles, and the design and concept of the Butterflies has it all in its favor. I'd love to see other grid sizes with the same design, maybe a 4x4 and a 5x5 - bigger sizes would start to feel overwhelming.

I highly recommend this one if you have an interest for sliding puzzles.

Availability: You can find the Butterflies puzzle at Amazon.com and many others from SmartGames.

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