Saturday, 11 February 2012

Iso Crate

This puzzle was designed by the late Robert Rose who's other well know award winning puzzle is the Six Key Mine reviewed some time back in this blog. Measuring about 4.5cm x 4.5cm x 4.5cm, this cube puzzle is made of aluminium and anodised in gold colour. Quality of my copy is only average as there were a number of marks on the pieces and the fit and finish was really not quite up to par. My copy was produced by PuzzleMaster of Canada and sold to me by online retailer Serious Puzzles in the US.

The Iso Crate consist of 8 individual L-shaped pieces and the object of the puzzle is to "assemble" the pieces to form a cube with a hollow centre. Quality issues aside, what is unique about the Iso Crate is that the individual pieces need to be "locked" together via the use of magnets. Within each L-shaped piece are 3 round magnets, situated at the ends of the piece. The trick is the find the "like" poles of the magnets in the pieces to join them together. If you have an "unlike" pole, the pieces would simply repel each other.

While not unduly difficult, the Iso Crate still provides a fair bit of challenge as I found myself trying each piece to find the matching poles to form the cube. PuzzleMaster rates it as level 8 but I think its more of a level 7. What especially is useful in aiding the solving is that all the black magnets must not be visible on the outer surfaces, so this helps quite a bit in the orientation of the pieces with each other. Also there is one piece that has a bevelled corner so this piece can act as the reference point for the rest.

Overall pretty fun to play with as you fiddle with the pieces and find them trying to steer away from each other when the magnetic poles are mis-matched. Even as I was taking the photo of the loose pieces, I had to arrange them sufficiently far apart less some of the pieces would attract and stick together. Pity my copy is let down by the less than satisfactory quality.

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