December 19, 2010

Cast Ring II

Cast Ring II is the last of the three Hanayama puzzles I tried out. I previously reviewed the predecessor Cast Ring, which I really had a good time with. Cast Ring II  was originally designed by Jose Grant, the world's foremost puzzle ring designer and craftsman who died recently. The design was modified by Nob Yoshigahara for Hanayama.

It differs from the original Cast Ring (shown to the left) in a number of ways: Cast Ring II has five bands rather than four, it has a 5/6 difficulty rating while the original was 4/6, the overall design is less curvy/woven with only two of the five rings curved. Because if this last point, it doesn't really stay together as well as the original. A slight bump will push the rings out of alignment, which I found annoying.

I pulled this one out of the package and scrambled it up, trying not to see how it came apart. Despite this, I was able to get it together in a minute or two. This was somewhat disappointing since the original cast ring had taken me closer to 45 minutes! I guess that was a while ago and I have more puzzle experience now, but I still think it is easier than the original. This was surprising since it has a higher difficulty rating.

I think the fact that there is an odd number of rings made it easier to figure out how to start. The bands on the outside just kind of flop around and pretty easy to figure out where to place. Bands 2 and 4 are a bit trickier, but not too bad.

Overall, I'd don't  recommend unless you're really into puzzle rings, and in that case you've probably got much better ones than this.. Definitely check out Cast Ring, but you can skip Cast Ring II.

On a separate topic: I'm getting married in June and am planning on getting a wedding band from Jose Grant's shop in Stamford Connecticut. Let me know if you have any advice or favorite designs in the comments! I think I'm leaning toward an odd number of bands, probably five or seven.

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