Saturday, 28 June 2014

Egg

Update 24 October 2017 - Dear Reader, please check out my new puzzle blog and e-store at http://mechanical-puzzles.com

Name
Egg

Designer
Wil Strijbos. For a list of Wil's other puzzle designs, click here.



Manufacturer
Wil Strijbos (under his Streetwise Puzzles label). Priced at 190 Euros each (excl S&H). Please PM me via my Profile email if you wish to contact Wil for availability.  This is a limited edition series and I am not sure if any Eggs are left.

Type & Classification
Sequential movement; trick opening

Dimensions
9.5cm cm (Height) x 7.2cm (Diameter). Weight is 0.5Kg.

Materials & Construction
Aluminium and steel.

The Egg is a large and heavy puzzle. Quality of construction is excellent both externally and internally. Everything is built to fine tolerances. Visually, the Egg sports a very nice unique magenta anodised finish with a matt texture, giving it a distinctive and elegant look. If there was a beauty contest for best looking puzzle, the Egg would definitely rank amongst the top 3 for aesthetics. 

Overview
In a puzzle world where the choice of material for most designers is dominated by either wood or plastic, Wil Strijbos stands out as perhaps the only puzzle designer to use metal (mainly aluminium) to make most of his puzzles. Not just the occasional one now and again, but quite consistently as he churns out several different designs every year (no doubt some are very expensive) but which usually sell out very quickly.  

There is a history about the Egg and how Wil took nearly 30 years to come up with the present Egg puzzle today. In Wil's own words from his newsletter....

See the picture I took (below) when I visited James Dalgety in December 2011. The date on the bottom from the EGG says 1986, so it is now at least 28 years ago that I created this EGG. This first creation will be also in the collection from Jerry Slocum, Dick Hess and in some other collections. 



Maximum production at that time was less then ten. In the 90s last century a company tried to produce the EGG. The result at the end was a broken EGG, too difficult to produce they told me. So when I saw my EGG again in the collection from James Dalgety I decided to give it a try. See the result in the attachment. I’m very proud of the result and I hope you will enjoy playing with it. I’m sure it will be a nice addition to your puzzle collection. 

The object of the Egg is to separate the two halves. Both halves can rotate within certain limits. That's all the feedback one gets when you first handle the Egg. It is obvious there is something holding the two halves together yet allowing limited movement; so the challenge is to figure what this restraining mechanism is and how to release it. 

The Egg is made very challenging by the fact that the mechanism (or trick) is hidden. However, Wil has not made it so hidden that it becomes a pure guess work type puzzle. In fact this is a sequential movement puzzle, meaning that you will need to make the right moves in the correct order to solve the puzzle.

Experienced puzzlers would typically employ some of the more usual tricks as the first step to see how to split apart the Egg. I tried a couple of moves and managed to split the two halves about 10mm apart. First step crossed. From here I was able to take a little peek inside. But unfortunately not much to go on since the main mechanism was still largely hidden from view. However enough for me to start formulating in my mind some theories of how the two halves might be held together. 



This was where I remained stuck for the next several hours as I tried to grapple with the two Egg halves. I employed all the techniques I knew while trying to figure out the mechanism in a systematic and logical manner. But as in most cases, random experimentation won the day and I crossed the next hurdle. The Egg was now split apart more, about an inch or so and I was able to see more of the hidden mechanism. Although this was still insufficient, nonetheless I had something to work with, and was able to narrow down the possibilities on how the internal mechanism might work. A bit more experimentation here and there and I "broke" the Egg apart; solved!

Although not too complicated by any means, the various parts of the locking mechanism and they way they interacted to secure the two halves of the Egg is rather clever. I had read Kevin Sadler's review of the Egg on his blog and he mentioned the challenges of properly re-setting and re-solving the puzzle. I agree. Its tough. After I had reversed the steps to re-join the Egg, I found myself stuck again trying to re-solve. Took me another good forty five minutes or so (even though I thought I had gotten all the steps right) to split the two halves again. This second time round, I made sure I took lots of pictures from all angles and carefully documented the (correct) steps for re-setting and repeat solving. Thereafter, I could resolve quite easily.


From left: Pelikan Egg, Egg #22, chicken egg and quail egg.
Difficulty Rating
From my own count, there are broadly about 10 steps to solve the Egg. Steps 1 to 5 can be found pretty quickly; especially for those who have previous experience with Strijbos puzzles. The real difficulty comes from Step 6 onwards. 

Just to give some perspective; of the more recent puzzles from Wil, I would rank the Egg harder than the Lotus and First Box, probably about the same level as the Angel Box (although the latter has well over 20 steps and takes a lot more time and effort, but gives you more A-ha moments along the way). For the Egg, you could get stuck after Step 5 for a long time without further progress. No force is required; in fact a gentle touch is necessary towards the end stages. (Edit 29 Nov 2014:-With regular practice, you can solve the Egg in under 45 secs (I timed myself once).

Summary
A beautifully made puzzle that not only looks good but provides a very challenging solve. Once you get the moves correct, its quite manageable, making it a puzzle you can pick up and put down for a quick play.

NOTE: For those who are stuck, please feel free to contact me for hints. While its extremely difficult to describe the solution in words, I can email you photos of the internal mechanism to help you along. However, even with photos it still remains a difficult solve, but you can certainly deduce the process/sequence with the help of the photos. 

2 comments:

  1. Strangely enough, I found the Angel Box extremely easy and straightforward, while several months on I'm still hopelessly stuck with the Lotus!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the Angel Box has many many steps but overall, with the exception of several, a lot of the steps can be discovered as you play because there are less items that are hidden (unlike the Lotus mechanism) where trial and error is unlikely to work.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...