December 16, 2010

Cast Plate

After grabbing some pizza and solving Cast Bike, I hopped on the subway to make my way home. As I was waiting for the train, I pulled out Cast Plate and started to fiddle around with it a bit. It is an old design that has been adapted by Nob Yoshigahara for the Hanayama Cast Puzzles series.

It is a bit hard to tell from the photo, but the vertical bar at 12-o'clock is actually a ring with a gap in it. You rotate the ring until the gap is at one of the holes, and then can pivot the gap to a different hole. In this manner, you can navigate the ring to the gap in the ridge around the plate and get the ring off. Sort of complicated to explain, but pretty intuitive.

I got on the train and ended up sitting next to an older gentleman. We got to chatting about puzzles while I continued to work on this one. I offered him Cast Bike, but he wasn't interested in trying it out. I fiddled around with it for about 10-15 minutes, going around in circles quite a bit. It is really difficult to visually judge which holes can reach to which other holes, so you sort of need to memorize what you have tried. This is a bit tricky while trying to carry on a conversation, but finally was able to get the ring off!

I have since played around with it a few more times and can appreciate some of the cool ideas that Nob threw into this maze. For one thing, there is a little lump in the plate that obstructs your path just as you think you are about to reach the exit. I thought I was almost done, but in fact I was only about half way there. There are also a number of loops that make it easy for you to go around in a circle and end up going back the way you came. That said, I think it is correctly rated at 2 out of 6 difficulty level.

This is a fun puzzle I think anybody could enjoy. It sort of sucks you in because it is easy to fiddle around with and feel like you are making progress. One downside to this one is that the ring is a bit difficult to turn unless you have it lined up just right. The reviews on Puzzle Master indicate that it loosens up over time, but I haven't played with mine enough to notice this yet. Still, it isn't a huge problem and doesn't detract much from an otherwise solid puzzle.

Thanks to Puzzle Master for making this review possible!

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