Friday, 23 May 2014

Seven & A Panic Attack

The last couple of evenings I had the opportunity to play with two very different puzzles. Both while challenging, were not unduly difficult. Fun (not frustration) was the order of the day.


The last time I came across something entitled "Seven" was the thriller movie with Morgan Freeman and Brat Pitt. If you have not watched it, do won't regret it.

Seven (the puzzle) is no less thrilling. It is a 2D packing puzzle by Minoru Abe, who is very well known for his cute and whimsical, colourful and some extremely difficult sliding block puzzlesMinoru Abe puzzles are retailed by Torito in Japan. Unfortunately they do not ship internationally. Your best bet is to buy from CU-Japan unless you happen to have a friend who lives in Japan who can get it for you. My copy came to me courtesy of puzzle blogger Roxanne Wong, who got me a copy while in Tokyo last year during IPP33

As far as I know, Minoru Abe designed only two packing puzzles, the "Seven" and the "9 Puzzle" (the latter which I will review another day). If anyone is aware to the contrary, please drop me a note, thanks.

The Seven consists of 7 pieces (all Hexominos; ie 2D or 3D shapes made from 6 square units) and the accompanying tray. Object is to fit the red piece outside of the tray into the tray with the rest. None of the pieces are identical. The pieces and tray appear to be made of pine with the pieces painted over to give them that colourful look. Very well made with both the tray and pieces really thick and chunky and nicely packaged in a blue cardboard box. One corner of the tray has been deliberately cut away to leave space in the packaging for the red piece that needs to go in.

It took me about 5 to 10 minutes of fiddling with the pieces to solve. Only one solution I think. A rather pretty and fun packing puzzle that is not too difficult.

Panic Attack
I am not a fan of wire or string type puzzles. In fact I have only a few in my collection, one of which, the "Tricky Dick" which I had blogged about quite while back and the others are several handmade jungle puzzles.

Panic Attack was loaned to me by puzzle designer Goh Pit Khiam. I had mentioned to Goh that I found wire puzzles too difficult and frustrating and he told me to give Panic Attack a shot. And I am very glad I did. And I also did not for a moment panic while playing with it.

Panic Attack (as marketed by PuzzleMaster) was designed by Kirill Grebnev and was entered for the IPP26 Puzzle Design Competition under the name of "Love Secret", which subsequently was changed to "Clear Heart". Check out the interesting reasons for the change on Kirill's site.

The object is to get the yellow loop completely off the wire heart. At first glance Panic Attack seems like its impossible to solve; no way out for the loop. But this "impossibility" is more illusory than anything else! I am not sure if readers here would agree with me, but wire and string puzzles are probably the biggest group of puzzles which resemble "impossible objects" (things that appear to defy physical laws) first sight.

The first evening playing with Panic Attack, I couldn't figure it out and left it. However the next night, out of nowhere I extracted the loop within minutes of trying! With a bit of practice I even managed to repeat solving it in seconds!

It is not too difficult as a puzzle, but pretty tricky. A nice a-ha moment when you solve it. What I like about it is that the design is relatively simple looking. You know its probably hard, but It doesn't intimidate and put you off....unlike the wood and rope puzzles where the rope is so long, it entangles even before you start to seriously work on the solve. And certainly Panic Attack is also nowhere near the difficulty of a puzzle like Tricky Dick.. I am now even seriously considering other similar type wire puzzles to buy!

Both Kevin Sadler and Gabriel Fernandes have reviewed the Panic Attack on their blogs so you may wish to check out their comments.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you enjoyed it - maybe we'll see you become an expert at these and review lots of them? I'll look forward to it!