Wednesday, 15 February 2017

ZooLogical Garden #1

Here's a 2D packing puzzle that has occupied me for the last couple of evenings. The ZG#1 looks like your typical packing puzzle but comes with a twist...literally! Designed by Mineyuki Uyematsu (MINE) in 2013, it has a 3-unit piece anchored to the tray. This is a restraining piece that adds to the difficulty of the puzzle, even tho' it is able to rotate 360 degrees.

The four loose pieces look pretty "simple" enough and are precision laser cut to resemble the shape of "animals", hence the name of the puzzle. Don't know about you, but I can (see) a chicken, snake, skunk and coyote! The tray is a regular 7x7 grid square.

There are two challenges here:-

#1 - Place all the three white pieces into the tray
#2 - Place any two pieces AND the red piece into the tray. (Problem-it doesn't say which two to use)

Simple looking but the puzzling is anything but simple. In fact it is damn challenging especially #2.

I didn't have too much problem with challenge #1 for this puzzle, partly because I design some 2D puzzles myself and have played with a number of them, and some with rather odd solutions (hint). However challenge #2 eluded me all the while. It is very difficult because you need to first find the two correct white pieces and then combine them with the red piece. (my interpretation of challenge #2). Despite my many attempts at trying the (three) possible combinations to figure out which of the two white pieces to use, nothing worked. I could have been using the right white pieces  all the while (and didn't know it) but still couldn't manage to solve the puzzle.

With the aid of Burr Tools (thank goodness it works for this puzzle), I was able to narrow down the two required pieces and from there arrived at the solution; something which I have no hesitation to admit that I wouldn't have been able to do on my own. 

For packing puzzle lovers, definitely a must-get (unfortunately from what I can tell, its not available on MINE's site at the moment). When I bought it from MINE during the IPP in 2013, I remembered it was not expensive at all. So I would say its good value for money with plenty of puzzling; two challenges - the first easier (but probably will be hard for many, except seasoned packing puzzlers) and the second a real toughie!

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