Saturday, 21 April 2012

Copernisis

The Copernisis is, in my opinion probably one of the most aesthetically pleasing puzzles around. Anodized in gold with a deep red hue emanating from within through the circular cut-outs and presented in a nice varnished wooden box, you would have thought that this was an expensive display item or sculpture instead of a puzzle. The Copernisis is manufactured and sold by Sonic Games in the UK.


Since the introduction of the first Isis sphere puzzle back in 2006, followed by the Ramisis and now the current Copernisis, all three puzzles in the Isis range have had garnered different opinions, both positive and negative, particularly mixed reactions regarding the build quality of the puzzles. About the Copernisis, you can check out a forum thread here. The Revomaze forums also contains a discussion about these puzzles.

Just like the purple Isis puzzle which I had reviewed earlier, given the mixed comments about the Copernisis, I had no intention to purchase a brand new (and very expensive) one from Sonic Games or elsewhere. However I was still interested to acquire one to find out how the internal mechanism works. Finally when Sonic Games put up for auction on Ebay two gold Copernisis which bore "very slight manufacturing imperfections", I happily managed to snag one at about a third of their current selling price. When my Copernisis arrived, I found only a minor blemish on one side of the puzzle, probably caused during the anodizing. While it was not unnoticeable, I would have at some point in time scratched the puzzle anyway in the course of playing with it, so for me was really no big deal. Other than this "slight imperfection", externally the puzzle was pristine.

The Copernisis is made entirely of aluminium and measures about 83mm in diameter with a thickness of 30mm (including the pins). Overall the puzzle feels very heavy and solid and apart from the said blemish, quality of construction and finish for my own copy is fortunately very good.

At the top of the puzzle, there are 5 pins which can move along their respective circular tracks in clicks. As the Copernisis is inspired by the Heliocentric theory of Copernicus, that being the Sun is at the centre of the Universe and orbited by the planets around it, the pins on the puzzle represent the planets. The object is to move each of the pins such that they are "aligned" and once in their correct positions will unlock a chamber at the side of the puzzle which holds a key. With this key (which is a ten digit code number), puzzlers can log on to the Copernisis website to play a game and win prizes. To aid puzzlers in solving the puzzle, there is another hidden compartment (which can only be opened by solving, but much easier using a more traditional puzzle locking mechanism) which houses code information in the form of an equation of some sort. Additional clues are to be found on the Copernisis website and accompanying pamphlet. Sonic Games claim there are over 180 million combinations possible to unlock the chamber. To me, this is like trying to crack a safe's combination, not really a puzzle to be solved. My personal view (and I think most puzzlers feel the same) is that a puzzle should be solvable on its own, as it is, without the need to resort to any external clues or tools.


I followed a YouTube "spoiler" video which shows not only how to solve the Copernisis but also revealed the internal mechanism...the author of this video had used a screwdriver to pry open the Copernisis to show the insides...something which I would not dream of doing. Anyhow, while the pin positions in the video may solve a Black Limited Edition Copernisis, it did not do anything for my Gold, so I still had to spend some time figuring out the right combination on my own, but obviously I had something to work from already. So if there's anyone with a Gold who wants this combination, you can PM me via my Profile.

Worth getting? If you are a collector or a serious hardcore puzzler, probably you would want to own one of these; heck...you may even want to get one just because it will look so good on your desk..but the last I checked, the price of a Gold version seems to have gone up by quite a lot. My copy had no quality issues and the mechanism was perfect, but as I said, other puzzling folks have had different experiences with the various puzzles in the range....you decide!

6 comments:

  1. How did you open the equation piece? I can't move the ball bearings just right! Grrr

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  2. PM me via my Profile email and I will give you the info. Thanks

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  3. What does the "ER" and "TP" stand for? I tried looking it up but all I get is people saying "everyone should know it so let's skip it" :,-(

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  4. To be honest, I never knew what those terms meant as well

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  5. ER is equatorial radius, and TP is total planets. This comes from the hints section of copernisis.com. The rest of the values for the equation come from there as well.

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  6. Thank you for posting a picture with the thumb piece partially open. I could NOT figure out what direction it should be moving in!

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