After I had finished browsing, I walked back over and saw that she was still working on it. At first, we thought that the idea was just to get the pieces into the rectangular box, and of course you can do that, but it is quite challenging.
After playing around a bit, we found out that the little booklet that we had been ignoring contained a number of preset 'problems' where a number of pieces were already laid out and your task was to find the positions for the remainder of the pieces.
The problems were ranked in order of difficulty, which was equal to the number of pieces you needed to place. This was cool because you could make the puzzle as easy or as hard as you want, depending on your skill level. I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with this concept, but at the time I was quite excited that this kind graduated difficulty puzzle existed. Here I had been spending $12 on a puzzle, but this $20 puzzle was 300+ puzzles in one!
We've had a good time with it: the fact that it has a carrying case and such makes it quite easy to take on trips and such. The round colorful pieces are nice as well. The only gripe I have is that it isn't the sort of thing you would want to be fiddling with when you might need to pack up and leave quickly, like if you are waiting for your airplane to board. The box won't close until you solve the problem at hand, so you either need to figure it out or use the picture on the front of the booklet to place the pieces. That said, I like how everything packs away neatly and compactly, so I don't think I would change this to make it easier to put away quickly.
This puzzle has won a number of awards (source):
- Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal 2007
- Dr.Toy's 10 Best Games 2006 Award
- Creative Child Magazine's Top Toy of the Year Award (Brainteaser games category) 2006
- Parents' Choice Foundation's Gold Award 2006
- Mr. Dad's Seal of Approval 2006
- Toy Tips Mark of Excellence 2007
- iParenting Media Award Winner 2007
- The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval 2007
- Major Fun Award 2007 (Thinking Games)
- The Toy Man Seal of Approval and Award of Excellence and Editor's Choice awards 2007
ThinkFun makes a lot of these types of graduated puzzles, such as Rush Hour and River Crossing, which are also cool. I don't own either of these (yet), but I've played around with them a bit and they are entertaining.
Tomorrow, I'll write about some handmade wire puzzles that I bought from a street vendor in Costa Rica.