June 7, 2011

Cast Seabream

Cast Seabream is the second in a series of six marine-themed Hanayama Cast Puzzles designed by Akio Yamamoto. Puzzle Master sent me a copy of this puzzle to review. Thanks!

Like the rest of the series, Cast Seabream is finished in contrasting gold and silver, with a brilliant shine. It has a sturdy feel and a good weight in your hand. The two fish, a seabream and mackerel, are quite nicely sculpted as well.

Like Cast Shark, which I wrote about yesterday, this is rated a difficulty level of 1 on Hanayama's scale, which goes to six. After a bit of fiddling, this one came apart pretty easily, probably in about 3 minutes. Folks that I gave this one similarly had a pretty easy time with it.

The solution path felt pretty straightforward, there are a few obstructions, but generally it works like you would expect. As such, it wasn't one of my favorites of the series.

One annoying aspect is that there isn't really an easy-to-identify starting position, which can be problematic if you are just passing this puzzle around. Folks may leave it very close to the solution, so others will find it trivially easy. I had to check the solution to figure out where the start was, since I had forgotten.

One cool thing I found out in looking at the solution is that this puzzle will actually stand upright! You can balance the gold fish on his fin, which in fact provides three points of support. If you get the silver fish in the right spot, it will balance nicely. While it isn't super-stable, it will stay like this provided your table/shelf isn't bumped too hard, which looks pretty nice!

In all, I thought this was a good puzzle, but one that you could pass on if you're not intent on collecting the whole series.

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