Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Orion

Name
Orion

Designer
Osanori Yamamoto. For other designs by Osanori, click here.



Manufacturer
Pelikan.  Currently available from PuzzleMaster.

Type & Classification
Interlocking, sequential movement

Dimensions
7.2cm (Length) x 7.2cm (Width) and 3.5cm (Height).  

Materials & Construction
A combination of 5 solid hardwoods giving the puzzle a very beautiful contrasting finish. The square frame is Mahogany while the pieces are Wenge, Acacia, Paduak and Maple. As with all Pelikan puzzles, the quality and manufacturing is superb. Fit is snug and overall everything feels a bit tight but the pieces can still slide ok. Those living in humid countries may have to "dry out" their puzzle before play.

Overview
Designed in 2014, this is a very recent release and like the earlier Mysterious Galaxy and Galaxy Z, bears a space themed name, "Orion"

Object is to disassemble the 4 pieces that interlocks with the square frame. At first glance, the four pieces (which resemble jigsaw pieces) all look identical. However, as you start playing, you will discover that only two of the 4 pieces are identical. The frame also has a protrusion at one of the inner corners.

All the pieces can move in rectilinear fashion, sideways, up and down. When they are spread sufficiently far apart, each of the pieces can also rotate. I tried various moves for the pieces taking into account their shapes and notches and that one particular corner of the frame; all the while sure that one of the pieces had something to do with that special corner. However, it turned out I was barking up the wrong tree. After being stumped for several days, I threw in the towel and checked the solution, only to discover that the way to extract the first piece was not what I had expected. I had over-complicated things and missed the obvious. 



Firstly all four pieces must be in their correct orientation relative to the frame. Then the right sequence of moves for each of the pieces must follow next and only then can the first of the 4 pieces be removed. I counted 14 moves to get the first piece removed. Once the crucial first piece is out, the rest is easy. Reassembly is the reverse of everything.

I am not certain if the original solved state of the puzzle has everything lined up ready to go or one has to rotate the pieces around the frame to get them in the right positions. My guess is that it would be more difficult in the case of the latter.

Difficulty Level
Very difficult. But relatively easy once the first piece is out. And you need to make sure that the correct piece goes back into the frame first, since all look similar and can get mixed up. The wrong piece means you'll end up stuck. Not a whole lot of moves and with some practice, manageable for repeat solving.

Summary
A very interesting design with just 4 pieces and the frame. Looks deceptively simple (as compared to the high level burrs out there), but is anything but that. The subtle differences in the shape of the pieces add to the complexity and challenge.  And since it comes in 5 different contrasting coloured woods, the puzzle also displays very nicely.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for the presentation of my works.
    I am watching your blog always happily.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Osanori, you're most welcome. I enjoy your puzzle designs very much.

    ReplyDelete

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