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Friday, May 22, 2015

Zobrist Cube: mechanical puzzle of the month

Photo original

A story: almost 20 years ago I bought a Burr Set of puzzles from Interlocking Puzzles.  The set consisted of 30 to 40 pieces and made 314 6-piece different burr puzzles. It cost $150. I was hesitant because I didn't really understand what a burr puzzle was.  When I got it, I worked my way through all 314 puzzles.  Took about a month.

Zobrist Cube Code Classic II Cube

The Zobrist Cube comes from Al Zobrist. I saw an advertisement for it in Discover Magazine.

Al Zobrist is the brain behind this monster set. At first glance, the Zobrist Cube looks like an ordinary Soma Cube: assemble the pieces to form a 3x3 cube.  However, The Zobrist Cube should be renamed as The Zobrist Cube Set because it comes with 33 pieces - most are unique, some are duplicates.

Each pieces has an embossed letter on it.  The Zobrist Cube Set comes with a manual that describes over 20 THOUSAND  cube combinations.  Fortunately, these are grouped into easy & hard levels.

At the top of the hard levels is a great quote from Stewart Coffin who describes these harder puzzles as '30-minute' puzzles.

Having done a bunch of Soma Cube variations over the years, I instantly headed to the hard ones.  The first one I did in 10 minutes.  The next one - I gave up after 30 minutes.  I skipped to somewhere in the middle and solved the next 3 in about 5 minutes each. I may have been lucky.

Al has turned this puzzle set into a game: 2 people square off, and select 2 random puzzles (with different pieces of course) and see who solves their first.

Zobrist Cube Classic I and II Cubes
Somebody, somewhere in this great land, is going to take the time to solve them all. It won't be me.

$35: perfect gift for a kid, adult, a graduation present and for yourself.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pepe Porcupine: free puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

Screenshot 4
Pepe Porcupine is another Sokoban puzzle.  There are approximately 300 levels. Fortunately, you can skip around.  I've done about 10 levels at the easy/and hard levels. 

I'm not sure if these levels are original or copied. It's a good set of puzzles, especially for anybody who's never done a sokoban puzzle.

The all-time greatest set of sokoban puzzles: Box World, which has 100 levels.  In the mid-90's, I paid $5 for it and got many many hours of entertainment.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Puzzle Number 9: free puzzle app for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1    iPhone Screenshot 2
Puzzle Number 9 has the potential to be a good point scoring puzzle app. The object is to combine numbers randomly placed on the 3x3 grid to form 9's. Then, two 18's become a single 36, etc. You can swipe in any direction, including zigzag.

What's the problem? Suppose you've got a 144, a 72, a 36 and an 18 - that's already 4 spaces occupied and the remaining 5 numbers may not have a combination that adds up to 1.

There are 25 undos, but to get more you have to watch horrible ads or pay $.99.

I want to like this game, but cannot.

The best 9-themed point scoring puzzle app: NineOut, which I reviewed about 3 years ago. That's one of my favorite point scoring puzzle apps.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Pictograffix: picture puzzles for ipad and kindle

Pictograffix Puzzles
Laurie Andriot contacted me 6 months ago about her iBook: Pictograffix Puzzles. 'Pictograffix Puzzles contains brain teasers that  will exercise your mind in a fun way. Pictograffix Puzzles have appeared in Games magazine. Now with Volume 1, you'll have 50 word games - either picture puns or traditional rebus puzzles to decipher. The object is to guess a name, place, title, or phrase by the pictures presented. Be careful, these puzzles are addictive!'

These puzzles are divided into easy, medium & hard puzzles. Some of them are very hard, and I had to look at the solution. Here's what's really good: you can tap on a single image to get that word. For example, if the picture is showing an arrow pointing at the top of a bed. Is the word: bed, blanket, cover?

Pictograffix is perfect to do with somebody else.  Really fun!

This book is only $.99 at iTunes.

$1.99 at Amazon

This Friday: I'm blogging about a very cool mechanical puzzle.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Routy - Puzzle with Infinite Levels: free puzzle app for iphone, ipad

iPhone Screenshot 1  iPhone Screenshot 2
Gabor Eifert recently contacted me about his puzzle app game Routy - Puzzle with Infinite Levels. The object is to get the smiley face to the bananas by using the formulae at the top.
iPhone Screenshot 3  iPhone Screenshot 4
It's a bit difficult to describe.  Look at the very top of the first image.  The smiley face  will travel in a certain direction - with respect to the orientation of the mouth - and then come to a stop. Then tap on the next formula and see if he lands on the banana.

I did the first 20 levels or so without much thinking: I just tapped out the 6 possible permutations when there are 3 formulae.  As you can see from the last image, the harder levels have 4 formulae.

Routy - Puzzle with Infinite Levels is okay. If you play this game, and get to level 162, do leave a comment below!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Hook: puzzle app game for iphone, ipad

Hook has been on my radar for a while.  A student of mine showed this to me a while ago. The object is to tap on the black dot various times to withdraw the crossed swords without the swords getting hooked.
As you can see from the diagrams, they look like circuit boards.
The big black dot sends the energy either directly to the swords/hooks or to antennae which will then relay the signals. Along the way you will have to turn switches to direct the energy.

What could be better: The lines could be thicker and easier to read.  How about giving color to some lines?

There are 50 levels and I did them all. (I'm so glad that there are 'only' 50 levels. Too many puzzle games have too many levels. You may recall the puzzle app that has 10,000 levels.) I like this game. Bravo Maciej Targoni for coming up with an original concept. Hook is definitely a candidate for a PAGY award.

(There's a clone version called Solve The Knot which is a complete rip-off. Yes it's free, but you'll pay for it by having to watch the same ads over and over.)