March 22, 2011

Cast Coil

Cast Coil is the latest puzzle released by Hanayama and I was quite eager to give it a try since I'm a big fan of the Hanayama Cast Puzzle series. Puzzle Master sells it  and was kind enough to send me a copy to review. Thanks! It was designed by Edi Nagata who I had the pleasure of meeting in Japan last summer.

It has a distressed, aged appearance which is similar to Cast Enigma, though rather than bronze it has silver and gold tones. You can't tell from the photo, but upon playing with it briefly, you'll see that there are two pieces. I think I prefer the shiny finish over this type of finish personally, but that's a matter of taste. This type of finish feels a bit dirty, but some may like the fact that it looks like an ancient relic or something. Plus, you don't have to worry about fingerprints! It has a nice weight in your hand, though isn't quite as hefty as something like Cast H&H or Cast Marble

This one is rated a three out of six in terms of difficulty. I actually spent longer than I would have expected on this puzzle given the rating, though I feel like my mind hasn't been particularly sharp recently. Not enough puzzles! Anyways, I think it took me about 20 minutes to get this thing apart for the first time, and another 20 minutes or so to really master it to the point where I could do it reliably.

It requires a total of about seven moves to disassemble, most of which are rotational moves. People are more accustomed to linear movement, so it is the rotational aspect that makes this one difficult. Also, there are a lot of dead ends and I found it difficult to keep track of what I had done before. The pieces are practically identical, but they are different, which also plays a role in making this one challenging.

Unlike puzzles like Twist The Night Away or The Tangler (both are awesome puzzles by Tom Jolly), which are based on a proper cubic geometry that happens to have enough room for certain twisting movements, Cast Coil has some material removed to enable certain twists. This adds to the difficulty, since it moves in ways you would not expect, since it is hard to see and remember where these notches are.

The first move was a bit tight when I first started working on this puzzle, which was somewhat annoying. It took a good amount of effort to get the pieces moving, but after I made that move a few times, it loosened up. Not a big drawback but something to be aware of.

Overall, I think that Cast Coil  is a solid puzzle and would  recommend checking it out. Not one of my absolute favorites in the series, but definitely one that is worth getting.


  1. Ah ... I hadn't noticed the pieces were different. I find the puzzle very confusing. Sometimes I can take it apart quickly but then I can't get it right back together! But I was assuming the pieces were identical ...

  2. I'm glad to hear that it isn't just me, George! I hope that observation that the pieces are different isn't too much of a hint, but I guess it doesn't really help all that much. It just broadens the search space a bit...


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