February 7, 2012

Reilly's Cube

Reilly's Cube is a puzzle designed by Mike Reilly and manufactured by Creative Crafthouse. The folks at Creative Crafthouse were kind enough to send me a copy to review. Thanks! (Photo by Mike Reilly)

The puzzle consists of eight blocks, each with three faces with a peg and a hole. The peg and hole can be in one of four different configurations. The goal is to assemble the cube such that all the pegs and holes fit together. Simple enough, right?

I thought so, and quickly dissembled the puzzle and expected to be able to put it back together without too much trouble. About 15-20 minutes later I hadn't made much progress: I kept getting in situations where I had one or two pieces left that wouldn't fit!

I figured that randomly trying combinations would probably take me a while, so I decided to take a more methodical approach, similar to the way I solved some of Vinco's eight-piece puzzles like Diagra and Cubicula. I numbered the different hole configurations and figured out which ones could go together, then uniquely identified each piece based on its hole configuration.

With this method, I was able to try the different alternatives much more efficiently and without worrying that I would miss something. It may sound like work, but I quite enjoyed the process! With this in hand and a bit of logic to find a good starting point, I was able to find the solution in another 30 minutes or so. It still took a fair amount of trial and error, but it was comforting knowing that I would find the solution at some point.

I was curious if there were additional solutions, so I plugged the puzzle into Burr Tools. As it turns out, there are a total of 3 solutions, all of which are pretty similar. This is generally considered undesirable in a puzzle, but it doesn't really bother me much!

The quality of the construction is good for a puzzle produced in larger quantities, but there is a fair amount of variability in the fit between the pieces. It fits well when assembled correctly, though there are some small gaps between the pieces. The snugness of the fit holds it together nicely, which I liked. You wouldn't want this one to fall apart on you! Overall, Reilly's Cube is a good little puzzle if you don't mind a bit of trial and error, though most assembly puzzles tend to have this quality. Check it out over at Creative Crafthouse!

Mike Reilly had a Kickstarter page devoted to Reilly's Cube where you can watch a video about it. He has also posted a few videos on YouTube (Solution Video and Description Video). The second video is pretty amusing with the dogs howling/barking like crazy in the background.

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