Kyoto Cubing

Posted on Mar 30, 2021 by Gabriel | 0 comments

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Kyoto Cubing is a puzzle by Vladimir Krasnoukhov which was presented at the IPP-36 Puzzle Exchange Party. This is a mixture of 2D and 3D puzzles with just 6 polyominoes (3 pentaminoes and 3 tetraminoes). This is harder than it looks, especially the 3D shapes.

The puzzles comes in a 7x7 tray with all six acrylic pieces and a sheet with many challenges. There are two main goals. The first is to use the pieces as a packing puzzle and make 2D and 3D shapes. The 3D shapes proved to be quite challenging for the first time with the puzzle. You can see the images for the first three 2D shapes. Any more would spoil the solutions for others, but you'll get an idea of what it can be done using just these pieces.

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I like packing puzzles, especially 2D, that come on a tray. However, when you need to build shapes without a tray it gets really challenging, since you don't have borders to guide you and limit your movements. Also, it's much more difficult visualizing the final shape, although you can see the contours in the provided sheet with the challenges.

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If 2D puzzles are already difficult without a tray, 3D shapes are even harder, especially because the pieces are really tiny and clear, which makes it difficult to see what you're doing from various angles. The 3x3 cube is the main shape you can make, but others are also possible.

The second goal, one which involves more creative thinking, is to make a symmetrical shape inside the tray with only one empty space. I haven't managed to solve this one yet, but will keep trying, since you can use the tray as a helping tool.

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Closing Comments:

Kyoto Cubing is a very nice puzzle with many challenges into one. Considering the $20 price tag, it's really good bang for your buck. The first challenges are easy, but the difficulty curve really spikes for the 3D shapes. A great puzzle for everyone.

Availability: The Kyoto Cubing puzzle is available at PuzzleMaster for $19.99 CAD. Check out other puzzles by Vladimir Krasnoukhov.

JP Lock Bronze

Posted on Mar 9, 2021 by Gabriel | 0 comments

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Jean Claude Constantin has many creations to his name when it comes to lock puzzles. It's always fun to discover how to solve these unique puzzles, which most of the times don't even need a key to open. Instead, you need to figure out a way to open it by using other methods. One of these puzzles is the JP Lock Bronze, a new (easier) version of the JP Lock Holz.

The design is really nice, with sliders all over the surface with an acrylic covering. These sliders are the "key" to open this lock. The size is relatively small, measuring 9.2cm x 12cm (3.6" x 4.7"). The sliders feel a bit loose, but don't worry, the puzzle won't fall apart. They're screwed pretty tight. The movement itself is smooth, which is good considering it's a wooden puzzle.

I never played with the original version, so I can't compare them, but knowing the original had a cover that didn't allow you to see the internal mechanism, you can guess which one was more difficult. Having said that, this acrylic version feels way too easy to be rated as a level 8/10. I managed to solve this in two minutes, which is more like a level 5/10.

I can see why the original was a difficult puzzle, and probably worth a difficult level 8/10. The spheres you see in the puzzle would be hidden and you wouldn't know what was blocking your movements. Guided by intuition and feel, opening it would be a real challenge. Aas it is, half of the puzzle comes already solved by showing you what's happening inside. Is it still worth it? Depends on what you value in a puzzle, the challenge or the design.

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Closing Comments:

The JP Lock Bronze, unfortunately, is more like a collection item than a challenge. The acrylic cover kind of spoils the solution for you, but as a whole, it's still a nice looking puzzle.

Availability: The JP Lock Bronze is available at PuzzleMaster for $43.99 CAD. If you prefer the original version, it's also available here.

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