January 5, 2012


Recently, Jeff Chiou of MagicPuzzles.org was kind enough to loan me a few of his puzzles, one of which was M-Box by Hideaki Kawashima of the Karakuri Creation Group. Check out Jeff's review here.

This particular box was made available by lottery a few months ago (November, I think), which means that if you're interested in purchasing the box, you can enter your name in a drawing, and if you win you get to purchase the box.  This is the Karakuri's way of addressing the problem of too much demand for some of the boxes with limited availability. I was tempted to enter the drawing for this one, since it was pretty reasonably priced, but I think I forgot about it!

The panels of this box are arranged in what I'll refer to as the Cubi-style that was developed originally by Akio Kamei (I think). They have a nice brick pattern that has been cut into the surface of each panel.

Sometimes it can be tough to find out what the first move is on a puzzle box, but in this box, every panel moves! The vexing part is that after you let go, the panels spring back into their original position. Pretty puzzling! First I tried one hypothesis about how to open it, and that didn't work out, but in the process I discovered something that led me to the correct solution. I think it probably took me about 5-10 minutes, but this one could easily have had me going around in circles for quite some time, had I not had that flash of inspiration.

The solution itself is quite good, I like how it is fairly logical if you spend a little while understanding the box. One neat thing about the mechanism is that the springing was implemented with a combination of springs and magnets. I can definitely hear a spring in there, but when I open it up, I see magnets causing the springing action for at least one of the panels. It is pretty neat how you can't feel the difference.

Some may not like the springing-back aspect, but I found it enjoyable. Just watch out that it doesn't spring out of your hands! Overall, I really enjoyed this one!


Please don't post spoilers! Thanks for commenting!

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