Cast Chess - King

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The King - It's the most important piece in the game of chess. Guarding it at all costs is a must if you want to be a great player. But what about as a puzzle piece? Is it also the most important one?

Hanayama has created a superb collection with these six chess puzzles, each representing a different piece of the original game of chess. As a series, the Cast Chess puzzles are all equally impressive and important, as each one has its own secret to discover and open it. Hidden inside, a special coin awaits for you to release it, but only after you find out how the hidden mechanism works.

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Surprisingly, the King is one of the easiest to solve out of all six puzzles. Maybe not that surprisingly, as analogous to the simple movements of the King in chess. Could just be that the designer, Marcel Gillen, wanted to stay true to what each piece represents. Also true to their counterparts in chess is the relative size of the pieces, as the King sits comfortably as the tallest piece in the series.

Without revealing too much about its solution, the King has a spring mechanism that you manipulate by pushing on the top of the puzzle. It's, in fact, one of the first things you notice about it. The rest is just a simple movement and the puzzle is open. Be careful not block your mechanism, because there's a real chance of that happening.

Solution: If you're having trouble with the solution, you can download one here.

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Closing Comments:

As far as puzzles go, the Cast Chess King is not very challenging. But, because it's part of a collection that you don't want incomplete, it's still worth getting. It's a great puzzle for beginners and a great gift for any chess lovers.

Availability: PuzzleMaster is the place to get anything puzzle related, whether it's the Cast Chess King or any other in the Cast Chess series.


N-5

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Jean Claude Constantin makes very good sequential puzzles, many of which require hundreds of steps to solve, and aren't for the easily frustrated puzzlers. However, since not everybody has the patience of angels to solve unending sequences, Constantin made the N-5, a sequential movement puzzle that only require a couple dozen steps to be solved.

Made with four sliding laser-cut wooden plates, the N5 is a small puzzle, measuring just 8cm in diameter. The plates are placed in pairs perpendicular to each other. The top plates have four small mazes that have different paths, navigated by four pins. The goal is to slide the plates until you can free the small metal sphere trapped under them.

The puzzle looks a bit complex at first, but you'll soon find out that it's actually quite easy to solve, especially if you're used to sequential movement puzzles. I counted 22 moves until I could remove the sphere from the puzzle, but it could be even less. It can be solved within five minutes, and within one minute when you know the moves by heart.

I found it a bit more difficult to put the puzzle back to its original state, but I believe it was because I didn't know the moves by heart. Once you do, it's as easy to solve as it is to put it back. The difficulty level is 8/10, but I reckon it should be more about 7/10. The sequential movement is classified as 3-ary, or ternary (three states, as opposed to the binary's two states).

(Click to Enlarge) - Solved Position
Closing Comments:

I really liked the N-5 by Constantin. It's an easy puzzle to solve at any time without frustration, but still very fun to play with. Also, with just 20+ moves you can easily set it up for someone else to try it. This is recommended for beginners to practice, because there are bigger versions of this puzzle with much more moves (hundreds of moves).

Availability: You can find the N-5 puzzle at PuzzleMaster for $23.99 CAD. Check out other interesting puzzles by Jean Claude Constantin.


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