Svetnashki - Blue

Posted on May 22, 2018 by Gabriel | 0 comments
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It's been 8 years since I first reviewed the original Svetnashki and its other versions, the puzzle that uses polarized light. A simple explanation just doesn't make it justice, though. It was already one of my favorite puzzles back then, and eight years on, it's still an absolute favorite, probably in my top 3. It was invented by Vladimir Krasnoukhov.

What fascinates me in this puzzle is the simple process in which a clear or transparent tile can be transformed into a dark tile by what appears to be a magic trick. When a tile passes through one of the polarized filters in the back of the puzzle, it appears as clear or dark. There's no magic involved, though, just pure science. If you want to know more about the science behind this concept, check out this link.

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Over the years, as I gathered more and more puzzles in my collection, I always found myself returning to this simple puzzle time and time again. The fact that there's no right or wrong solution is also quite appealing. You make your own patterns. There's a couple of simple challenges, though, like having all the tiles appear as clear or all as dark. When you master these two challenges, you can make any type of pattern the 4x4 grid allows. Think the 4x4 grid is too small? You can also get it bigger, in a 6x4 or 6x6.

I already had in my collection the white 4x4 (my first Svetnashki), the bigger 4x4, the double-layer 4x4 and the larger 6x6. Each, a blast to play with. Since blue is my favorite color, I had to have this one as well, and because it's small, it's great to take it with me anywhere. It's a great puzzle to relax.

(Click to Enlarge) - All my Svetnashkis in one place
Closing Comments:

If you still don't have a Svetnashki, please consider your collection incomplete. This is an absolute must-have in any respectable collection. I promise you, you won't be disappointed. Playing with light has never been as fun as this.

Availability: You can find the Svetnashki Blue at PuzzleMaster for just $17.99 CAD. For other versions, check out this link.

Cast Chess - Queen

Posted on May 8, 2018 by Gabriel | 0 comments
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If the King is the most important piece in the game of chess, the Queen is without argument the most powerful. This statement is also true in the Hanayama Cast Chess, as the Queen is, by far, the most challenging one in the small collection of six. If you're solving them one by one, I recommend leaving this one for last.

Although the mechanism in each of the six puzzles is unique, the designs are somewhat similar and differ slightly from one another. This is what makes this Hanayama series so compelling and rewarding. Each puzzle will offer you something different. However, the slightest variation can sometimes mean a different approach when it comes to solving a puzzle...And the Queen stays true to this concept.

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Also, in my opinion, the Queen is one of the most beautiful puzzles of the Cast Chess collection, alongside the Knight. The detail in the crown is simple, but stunning. The shiny silver color makes the design stand out even more.

Compared to the King, the mechanism of the Queen is closer to it than the other puzzles in the series. It also has a spring mechanism, but instead of pushing, you need to pull. There's a couple of extra movements, which is what makes this puzzle much more difficult than the others.

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Closing Comments:

Being harder to solve than any of the other puzzles in the Cast Chess family also means that it's that much more rewarding when you finally solve it. With the collection now complete, I can safely say that these are now my favorite Hanayama puzzles. They're a masterpiece by both Hanayama and the original designer, Marcel Gillen.

Availability: The Cast Chess Queen is available at PuzzleMaster, together with all the others in the Cast Chess series.

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