October 12, 2016

House Collection

I love sets of things, so I couldn't resist picking up this fairly inexpensive set of building-themed puzzle boxes designed by Hiroshi Iwahara and recently released by Karakuri Creation Group. Here's a few sentences about each:

Church has a single move that is quite simple to find. I did like the padauk on the roof and the detail on the cross and door.

Windmill technically has two moves, but most will solve this one in a few seconds. Looks fairly nice with the octagonal shape.

Oops House is the simplest looking box in the series, and is described on the KCG website as having a lock. However, it is very easy to accidentally open it before you even feel like the lock is a problem (or notice it in the first place).

I think I liked the looks of Design Housing the most, it has a lot of nice little details an contrast in the wood. However, this one opens with a very simple single move which you'll likely find as soon as you pick it up.

The concept behind this Four Color Palace puzzle is that you can change the color in the windows. The solution is fairly simple and not unique, but it did take me a minute or so to find it. As I mentioned, this is probably my favorite of the group.

Sharp Roof House looks nice as well, with the pointy padauk roof. The windows and door are nice details too. I'd say this is slightly harder than most of the other puzzles in the series (other than Four Color Palace), but this one-step solution probably won't keep you busy for more than a few moments.

So in summary, I'd say they look nice, but they're not nearly as good as the small box series, cake series, or cube series. To be fair, I thought they would be pretty simple based on their descriptions, but they were even simpler than I had expected, with four of them being quite trivial.

I think Four Color Palace is the best of the lot, and Sharp Roof House comes in second. If you like the look of them and want something quite simple in your collection, give these a shot, but don't be surprised if they're simpler than you expect!


  1. Thanks for the review. Well, thanks to you, I won't buy them :)
    I am expecting to have puzzling fun for more than seconds...and these puzzles seem to take few seconds to solve. Despite their nice look with the wood used, I feel Iwahara is more used to crafting more difficult puzzles. Actually he could not have released so many different puzzles at the same time if they were more difficult.
    Nice review and glad you're back to blog about puzzles! :-)

    1. Glad you found it helpful! I'm a big fan of Iwahara so I was hoping these small boxes would be more clever. Definitely check out the small box series if you don't have them, they don't look as interesting but they're good! Cake series and cube series are also pretty good.

  2. First, thanks for restarting your blog.

    Second, how much did the puzzles cost? Good craftsmanship & overall design are important. Equally so is the time needed to solve.

    1. They were only $60, so pretty good value in terms of craftsmanship/design. Still, I think the small box series, cake series, and cube series are better puzzles for the money.

  3. Great to have your blog back Brian.

    I agree with you that the small box, cake and cube series were good puzzles.

  4. Hi Brian:
    Great to see such a puzzle box blog,I see you write some reviews about the secret base box,I'm always wondering how the mechanism works inside,for the original version,Is it opereted by a gear wheel,and for gear rail?


    1. Hi Gary, I think it uses a pin-in-groove system. Pretty clever!


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