Bitcoin Maze #1 and #6

Posted on by Gabriel | 2 comments
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It's been almost seven years since I've reviewed a puzzle from Robrecht Louage. At the time, the 8 Stars Labyrinth was yet another great design that I had the pleasure to play with. Fast-forward seven years, and this time, Robrecht presents us with not only one puzzle, but six. This is the Bitcoin Maze, and it's already one of my favorites.

The first design (Bitcoin Maze #1) was entered at the 2021 Puzzle Design Competition. Trespa is Robrecht's material of choice for his puzzles, which has a solid feel in the hands unlike laser-cut wood, not to mention that the white appearance looks stunning. Michel van Ipenburg, who has collaborated in the past with Robrecht when they made Larva and Ladybird, came up with the idea for a series of six puzzles, and what an idea! Each puzzle feels different, and that's expected, since each one provides a different internal maze. #1 is supposed to be the easiest, while #6 is the hardest... In theory.

The goal of the puzzle is simple... There's a coin (a Bitcoin at that! - First time I held one in my hands) placed in a sliding platform enclosed within a frame with a labyrinth. Inside, however, there's a steel ball (or more than one) that's preventing the platform to go all the way out of the frame. Your task is to completely remove the coin from the puzzle. There's a position which looks like it's out, but you still can't remove the coin, so it needs just a bit more effort. The coin needs to be out of the puzzle.

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The funny thing is, design #1 felt more difficult than #6. I started with #1, since I was told it was the easiest, but just couldn't solve it completely. The coin was at that position mentioned above, where it's almost out, but not quite. For a change of pace, I picked up #6 and to my surprise, I solved it within 5 minutes. Luck, perhaps? I kept trying with #1, but wasn't having much luck. It took me more than a hour fidgeting with it, trying to figure out the internal mechanism to finally remove the coin. I still haven't solved it a second time, but this is what makes these puzzles so good. You can try to solve them multiple times until it becomes second nature.

Difficulty may be relative when it comes to hidden mechanism puzzles. You can't see what's going on inside, after all. You have to rely on your other senses, and sometimes you may solve it quickly or more slowly. Either way, you get to feel like a safe cracker and that's what these puzzles give you. A wonderful experience like no other type of puzzle.

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Closing Comments:

The Bitcoin Maze is a great return to form by Robrecht Louage and I totally recommend it. Whether you're choosing just one or go for the whole series as a collector, you won't regret it. And you also get that shiny coin, so more reason to get it.

Availability: To get a copy of the Bitcoin Maze, please contact Robrecht at: rlouage(at)telenet(dot)be. Note that the e-mail is presented that way to avoid spam. You just need to change what's inside the brackets with a "@" and a "."

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