October 12, 2009

Cast Dolce and Cast S&S

I went down to Eureka and picked up two more Hanayama puzzles and brought them home to give them a try. The first one I attempted was Cast Dolce, a design by Akio Yamamoto. This puzzle has a very nice appearance with a gold female symbol interlocked with a silver male symbol. The pieces are quite sturdy and have a nice finish.

I enjoyed solving this one quite a bit: similar to Cast Baroq, another Akio Yamamoto design, this one has a fairly lengthy solution. You keep thinking that you are close to the end when Yamomoto throws in another twist. When the pieces are finally released from each other, it is quite satisfying.

Putting it back together is slightly less challenging than taking it apart, though definitely not trivial since the solution is fairly long. One thing to keep in mind: you don't have it completely back together until the pieces are as shown in the picture above. There is a groove that allows them to fit together this way, and if the groove doesn't line up, you have a few more steps to go.

Overall, a great puzzle. I would agree with Hanayama's difficulty rating of 3/6 on this one. It took me about 5-10 minutes to solve. I brought this to a party yesterday and folks had a good time with it. The simplicity of an interesting two-piece puzzle is definitely appealing to non-puzzlers, I think.

The second puzzle I tried is called Cast S&S. This one is deceptively tricky. You need to pay carful attention if you want to really master this puzzle. At first, it may seem like the interactions between the pieces are somewhat unpredictable, but once you get an understanding of it, you will be able to figure this one out.

One downside to this puzzle is that it is not immediately obvious when it is in it's starting configuration. This has the advantage of making it more difficult to find the ending position, but I think that it is a bit dangerous since many people won't be starting from the start.

This puzzle has a nice copper finish, and is quite well made. I agree with the 3/6 difficulty rating on this one as well. Overall, a good puzzle!


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