Sunday, 8 March 2015

LL Puzzle

I got this beautiful 8 piece packing puzzle from the good folks at Torito during the IPP33 Puzzle Party in Japan two years ago.

The packaging is mainly in Japanese so I can't tell what the name of the puzzle is nor its designer. However a couple of puzzlers have since informed me after seeing this post that it is the LL Puzzle designed by Nob Yoshigahara.

This is a very nicely made puzzle. Again, not sure what the type of woods were used. [Edit: The wood for the box is very likely Cupressaceae, which is the type of wood used for traditional sake cups; thanks to Satomi Beattie for this information]. But the puzzle emanates a very nice fragrant and pleasantly pungent woody smell. The finishing is very good. The puzzle costs 1,944Y, slightly over US$16/-, inexpensive for such high quality. Unfortunately Torito does not ship internationally, so you will need someone who lives in Japan to get it for you. If not, UK based CU-Japan may be able to get the puzzle for you.

Object is to unpack and repack the 8 pieces into the box frame. While it is probably not that difficult to design a 3D packing puzzle using pieces of all different shapes and sizes, I think its a real challenge to design the pieces all to have a certain theme, certain number of units, congruent shapes etc. In this case, each of the pieces consists of two different coloured "L" shaped pieces joined together with each "L" consisting of 3 units. Each of the 8 pieces are 3D hexaminoes (ie 6 units) with different orientations.

To unpack is pretty simple. But to repack after scrambling the pieces is very tough. The bi-coloured pieces add to the confusion as well, since there is no symmetry to the external colours of the puzzle in the solved state. Normally in situations like these, I photo-document the moves just in case I get stuck. Burr Tools of course would also help. With the aid of my photos, I managed to get everything back into the box after trying for quite a long time without them.

If you are into packing puzzles, this is a neat one to own and superb value for money. And the nice smell comes free with it!

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