Eureka Puzzles and Games and picked up a few more Hanayama puzzles: Cast Loop and Cast Amour. Cast Loop came highly recommended by David, the owner of Eureka. He said it wasn't too difficult but was an interesting little puzzle. It is designed by Vesa Timonen and is based on the design of a puzzle ring for his girlfriend. It won the Puzzler's Award and Jury First Prize at the 2007 Puzzle Design Competition at the International Puzzle Party.
As I left the store, I unpackaged Cast Loop and decided to see if I could solve it on the walk home since it was a nice day. It was a difficulty level 1 of 6, I thought doing it while avoiding walking into a lamp post would be more challenging. I solved it after about five minutes, but it definitely was a cool little puzzle.
Two magnets hold the loop closed when you solve the puzzle, though I prefer to keep it in an unsolved state in case somebody picks it up without me around. It comes with a leather strap that you could use to wear it as a necklace, but I don't think my girlfriend would appreciate that. Check out Oli's review of Cast Loop here.
Cast Amour, by Akio Yamamoto, when I returned home. It consists of a flat heart shaped plate with four holes in it. There are gold male and female symbols going through the two holes. The goal is to remove the two gold pieces from the silver plate.
I found this puzzle to be fairly easy, it took me about 5 minutes, about as long as Cast Loop, though I didn't like it quite as much for a few reasons. The silver plate is thin by necessity, but it has a flimsy feel/sound as you manipulate it. It also doesn't sit very well on a table or something due to its shape, which loses points for me.
Tomorrow, I'll write about a classic puzzle from "China" that is fun for one or more players!
Puzzle Pod Junior
1 hour ago