January 25, 2011

2010 Karakuri Club Christmas Presents (Part 2)

To lead off my second entry about the 2010 Karakuri Club Christmas Presents, I've chosen Hideaki Kawashima's Snake Cube, since it is another one of my favorites this year.

It has a striking appearance, with the red wood contrasting with the light wood. Due to the arrangement of the panels, the pattern looks a bit different depending on which angle you look at it. I prefer the angle shown in the photo, since the three red panels swirl together nicely. Kawashima mentioned that he named it Snake Cube because of its appearance, but I don't really see the snake aspect. Still, I like it!

It only took me a few moments to find the first move, and I progressed fairly quickly after that. The solution requires more than 10 moves, but they progress in a logical pattern. That aspect of the solution is what I really liked about this puzzle. Kawashima mentions that he had a number of possible solution patterns to choose from based on the underlying mechanism, and this was his favorite. I agree that he chose well!

I think most will find this to be moderately difficult, but not too bad. I've shown it to a number of people, and the place where most get stuck is actually the last move where you remove the lid. I think most folks who are into puzzle boxes will have seen this before, but less experienced folks may not expect it the first time they see it.

It is a nice looking box that is an interesting variation on a sliding-panel box. Not too difficult, but still enjoyable and satisfying solution. Overall, I really liked it!

Next up is Tipsy by Tatuo Miyamoto. He posted an interesting description of this one: "The theme for this work is 'Drunk Japanese Fathers'. After an evening of drinking late with other company employees, Fathers often bring home some kind of food or snack for their families. A common food is sushi."

I don't quite understand the story in relationship to the box, aside from one small aspect. It may make more sense in Japanese! I won't reveal which aspect, so I don't give away too much.

The box has a nice appearance, but is surprisingly light. This is due to the very large compartment inside, which some may like. Unfortunately, this lightness makes it feel a bit like a cheap Bits and Pieces puzzle box, but the construction quality still seems to be up to snuff (other than the issue I note below). I'm not a big fan of the ribbon sticking out of the middle.

This one probably gave me the most challenge out of the six boxes I purchased, aside from Kamei's box which I will write about tomorrow. It seems pretty impeneterable at first. After a minute or two, I discovered something, and was pretty delighted by what it implied. Even getting to this step is pretty challenging, and after that it is a bit puzzling what to do next. Due to a combination of clues, however, I was able to piece together the next step. The mechanism is actually related to another puzzle he has made, which I think helped me slightly.

It is at this point that the puzzle gets a bit annoying: after the 2nd step on this one, the box should just open. However, it does require a bit of unintended fiddling to actually get it to release. I wondered if this was part of the solution, and confirmed on the solution sheet that it was unintentional. Oh well! It makes for a bit of an added challenge, even though not intended. Still, I would have preferred for it to work as intended.

For this reason, I don't like this box as much as the others I got this year. That said, I did have a good time solving it and am glad that I purchased it. Even with the lesser boxes, you still can't really go that wrong with the Karakuri Creation Group!

Tomorrow, I'll write about the last two boxes I purchased this year.

All posts in this series:
Part One
Part Two (you are here)
Part Three

1 comment:

  1. I agree w/ you wholeheartedly on the MIyamoto box, with respect to the actual opening of the lid... I had solved the puzzle, yet was afraid to damage it! I wish the lid opened easier, once you did the correct steps...

    I hope the Snake Box is available for people that didn't have it for presents, as it looks to be a great box!



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