Sunday, 3 July 2011

Blind Labyrint 1A & 1C

It has been mentioned more than once on the internet that the Blind Labyrint (no, its not misspelled) is the grandfather of the Revomaze. I could not agree more with this statement. The Blind Labyrint series of puzzles were designed in the early 1980s by Lauri Kaira. According to Sloyd where I acquired both puzzles, only about 2000 units were made. Sloyd informs me that there are actually only two puzzles in the series, graded 1A and 1C (there is no 1B in between), the 1C as being difficult. Both 1A and 1C are still available and Sloyd has categorised them as collectors' puzzles.



The puzzle is entirely made of aluminium, comprising two main parts, the maze portion and the sleeve portion. The maze is "inscribed" (if this is the appropriate word to use) onto a burnished aluminium tube. The maze does not run the entire length of the tube but rather ends just somewhere before the halfway point. I suppose if the maze did run the entire length, the puzzle would undoubtedly be a lot harder than it is. At the other end of the aluminium tube, a short section of the black sleeve is attached permanently.  The second part is the sleeve portion which is entirely in black and holds a small (steel) pin used to navigate the maze. When the puzzle is solved, both parts form nicely into a single black tube. The puzzle is 3 1/2 inches long and has an external tube diameter of 1 3/8 inches.

The puzzle components are overall well made and of high quality. Fit and finish is generally good.....subject to one caveat which I shall elaborate below.

The object of the puzzle is of course to navigate the maze with the pin attached to the black sleeve, and to move the sleeve to cover entirely the burnished aluminium tube. 1A is a one-directional maze meaning that there is only one entry point for the pin. The pin will follow a single twisting path towards the end. Version 1C which is the hardest has two entry points and the maze is an "open" design, with a various paths to the final solved stage but fraught with numerous dead ends.

Blind Labyrint 1A & 1C in the foreground
Being somewhat ambitious, I started with 1C first. I managed to surprise myself when I was able to navigate the pin from start to finish rather quickly, at most 15 minutes I think. Feeling rather smug that I had solved it so quickly and wondering if the puzzle truly deserved its 1C rating, I started to backtrack, ie to navigate the maze backwards and remove the sleeve from the tube. Here is where I had to swallow my ego and pride after over an hour of struggling....I somehow could not seem to find my way back out! No matter what I tried, I keep getting myself into a dead end and had to find my way back to the starting point to start over again...(sounds familiar with the reset in the Revomaze?).

In the process of trying to disassemble the puzzle, at one point I got both the tube and sleeve jammed pretty badly and had to use a certain amount of force to free both parts. While doing so, I heard certain sickening crunching noises as metal rubbed against metal, much like scratching your nails on a blackboard. Thankfully after several attempts over a couple nights, I finally managed to dislodge the sleeve from the maze tube.

Here is where the downside of the puzzle shows itself. Unlike the Removmaze, the pin on the sleeve is not spring loaded. The maze itself also has relatively sharp edges at the bends. As a result moving the pin through the maze is not as smooth or easy as one would have liked. In fact you will hear rough grinding noises from time to time as you twist and turn. Perhaps the tolerances may be too tight, which results in a lack of sufficient "free-play" of the pin within the paths of the maze. One must avoid using any force or the pin will jam as I had experienced. An almost gentle delicate touch is required to push, pull or twist the sleeve through the maze tube to avoid getting stuck and possibly damaging the maze . Handled carefully, the puzzle was problem-free.

Notwithstanding the above, one must remember that this series of puzzles is 30 years old! They were made at  a time when technology was not as advanced, unlike today's modern puzzles like the Revomaze which have the benefit of computerised and precision manufacturing techniques.

2 comments:

  1. Lovely review Jerry! I have wondered several times about buying these but did not think they would ever match my revomazes. I hope your grinding experience didn't do any permanent damage.

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  2. Thanks very much. No these puzzles cannot compare with the Revomazes. But then again, the Blind Labyrint puzzles were made nearly 30 years ago. I suppose pretty advanced for those days. Nope, grinding didn't do any damage, at least from what I can tell:-)

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