Thursday 18 September 2014

Hanayama Cast Galaxy

A puzzle designer's dream....enter a puzzle design competition, win a prize and a major puzzle manufacturer picks up your winning design and mass produces it...leading to fame and fortune! 

In recent years, a number of designers have had their IPP award winning designs produced by Hanayama. They include Vesa Timonen (Cast Loop), Dmitry Pevnitskiy & Kirill Grebnev (Cast Harmony), JinHoo Ahn (Cast G&G) and Kyoo Wong (Cast U&U). But Bram Cohen has had not one but two of his designs turned into commercial puzzles (Cast Rattle, Cast Galaxy)

Released in July this year, the Galaxy is the latest cast puzzle from Hanayama. As of the date of this blog post, the Galaxy is also the best selling cast puzzle domestically in Japan (loads of royalties for Bram, congrats!).

I bought my copy from Torito who had set up shop during IPP34 in London this past August. The Galaxy can also be purchased from PuzzleMaster and Ebay.

The Galaxy is fabricated out of steel (I think). Consisting of 4 interlocking pieces, the object is to separate them. Fit and finishing is overall good and in this instance, I actually like the shiny surface. 

Hanayama has rated it 3 stars for difficulty level, but I think it deserves perhaps a 3.5. Solving requires you to twist and turn the pieces in various directions; for most part you'll hit a dead end and be confused. But get them (just) right in the correct position and they can thereafter be disentangled. Some co-ordinate motion is required. Virtually no chance of accidental solving. 

Both the taking apart and re-assembly is more than fairly challenging. The putting back together is I feel more difficult and you have to make sure you set up the pieces correctly. However, once you get the hang of it, its quite manageable to repeat solve. Overall a nice looking, compact and fun puzzle; one of the best ones so far from Hanayama that I have come across.


  1. I really like the Cast Galaxy, it is one of my favorite Hanayamas!

  2. By the way, Bram Cohen was already famous before he invented this puzzle, he founded the company BitTorrent and could have retired at an early age.

    The 4 pieces of this puzzle are not identical, but come in two pairs. I didn't realize this at first, and it makes the puzzle much more confusing. If you get the pieces mixed up, you can reassemble and it just doesn't work.

    1. George, wow I didn't know Bram was that famous. Yes I have heard of BitTorrent. The competition version from what I can remember had identical pieces but the Hanayama version does not, but I guess necessary to make the puzzle more difficult.