"Castle" is one of two puzzles that came to me from the Pelikan Workshop. If you have not checked out their new revamped website, you should. They have now got a nice clean looking and user friendly interface with nice photos of their puzzles for sale.
This is my first puzzle from designer Tzy-Chung Chein, who has done over thirty-six designs to-date. My copy of the Castle is made from Dark Oak, Mahogany and Maple. Construction and quality is excellent and everything fits well and slides smoothly. The finishing details are also amazing; just look at the decorative inlays at the four corners! At 9cm x 9cm x 6.5cm, this is a large puzzle and easy to hold and play with.
But Pelikan has gone a step further and taken their creations up a notch above the other handful of well known puzzle makers; Pelikan now laser engraves their puzzles with the puzzle's name. For the Castle, its found on one of the pieces. A really nice touch.
The Castle consists of a box cage and four congruent pieces. It is not an easy interlocking puzzle to solve, at least not according to its relatively high level 18.104.22.168 solution. The pieces are normal regular burr pieces but the cage which holds them has 8 protrusions inside, one of the most I have come across. Despite this, I actually managed to take the Castle apart and put it back together without the aid of Burr Tools. Not the intended way unfortunately, but via a short cut as the design seems to allow for an (unintended) rotation of one of the pieces.
As a result, I got the first piece out in just under 10 moves! But still not easy by any means as the rest needed multiple moves especially the third and last piece which took me a while to figure out. Later on I configured Burr Tools for the Castle and indeed, as I discovered, the 34 moves for the first and second pieces are very tough; which I doubt I could have figured out on my own.
The Castle is one of about half a dozen new puzzles recently offered by Pelikan, now available on their site. I am sure there will be more new designs which will follow soon. At 35 Euros, the Castle is also great value for money given the craftsmanship that comes with it.