17 March, 2010

Where are the corners?

A new toy from the Rubik stable

You’ve heard me talking about my Rubik’s Cube family, not once, but several times and also about the other non-cube members of the puzzle family. Well, today I bought another non-cube puzzle. This one contains three clear spheres that are hooked together with pivots, and if you look through, you can see six little coloured plastic balls, nestling in the centre sphere. The outside one’s got knobs on, and there’s a steel ball bearing on each of the two inner spheres. So not only do you have to fight logic, but now you have gravity to contend with too. It’s called the Rubik’s 360°, and it's not like any other puzzle I've ever played with.

Why another puzzle?

I’d like to use the excuse that I was getting ready for Brain Week, but frankly that’d be a bit pointless after Saturday. No, I simply liked the look of this puzzle, and thought I’d add it to my collection just because I like it. It also happens to be my equivalent to purchasing an Easter egg—except this one will last much much longer, after the chocolate has become a dim and distant memory. It's also better for my waistline, not that I have much of one anyhow. In addition, I would like to add a couple of other puzzles that I don’t already have, the Megaminx and the Holey Megaminx. I suspect the second will be easier to do because there’s no centres to match the rest of the face against, but I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong before... anyhow, they  both have twelve faces, each  face shares its pieces with five other sides, and they do look quite difficult. One variant has six colours, where opposite sides have the same colour, but the other variant has twelve colours, to remove the chance that two pieces with the same colour pairing can get mismatched. No doubt there'll be other puzzles I want to lay my hands on. Not only are there single-layered versions, but there are double-layered Gigaminx, three-layered Tetraminx, and four-layered Petaminx, though I've no idea what the last one looks like. I've also seen online versions of the Megaminx, and it's easy to use but hard to get used to without the real thing in my hands.

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