Saturday 25 February 2012

G Factor

G Factor

Yes I know I shouldn't have! But I really enjoyed the last group of Puzzle Master wire puzzles.  They were beautifully made and most of them were a real challenge without getting me tied into knots! So I have ordered a new batch from Puzzle Master which I will be reviewing over the coming weeks. I really couldn't help myself - I actually blame the Yak for tipping me over the edge - it was so different that I had to try more.

Last Saturday I got up very early for a trip to Devon - yes visiting James Dalgety's puzzle museum, a dream come true! I am actually having serious thoughts about going to live with him - there is so much stuff there that I reckon if I hid in a corner he might not find me for weeks!!! (apart from the sound of drooling and mumbling - Precious!!!) For the journey I packed a whole load of new puzzles to play with and upset the adjacent passengers!!! Also I brought one or two in case James hadn't seen them before (silly me!!)

So, on the train down (2½ hour trip), I thought I'd start with the G Factor, a rather attractive 3 part puzzle in which you have to remove the G shaped wire piece.

It comes in Puzzle Master's usual clamshell packaging with very simple instructions. It is level 8 out of 10 (I personally would put it as a 7 but I have seriously been practicing these puzzles now). It is beautifully made and finished with a very solid construction. There was an odd white residue on it when I took it out of the box but it has polished up very nicely. No solution is provided but if you need one then it is available for download here.

This puzzle really does remind me of a puzzle from Livewire puzzles in Canada - the Have a Heart puzzle and an identical one from House of Marbles in the UK - the Heart attack puzzle. I reviewed these a long time ago here. I enjoyed the original versions and suggested that everyone should own one because it is a classic. If you look very closely then you will see that these puzzles all share an identical base shape and the only difference is that this new one has the removable shape bent around on itself. So, what is the point of getting this one? I did ask myself this question on the train when I realised the similarity! Suffice it to say that the Puzzle Master version is made significantly harder by the unique shape, in fact the 90º bend at the very end makes the solving much more awkward as lining everything up is significantly tougher.

So there I was on the train, fishing around in my bag and out came this thing, much to the amusement of my fellow passengers. When the jingling started, I did wonder whether I should not have chosen the quiet carriage!! After a little examination (not the medical type!) I recognised it for what it was but having been such a long time ago, I could not really remember the solution to the original - it has been 6 months (with my memory, I barely remember who I am most days). I did have a vague idea what to do but the shape prevented a really fast solution.

I jingled for a few minutes and "aha!" - I was back where I started! Hmmm! Not sure where I went wrong I tried again and this time managed to transfer the G from one loop to another. From then it was quite easy to extricate. I think the whole thing took me about 10-15 minutes. So, even with an audience, I had managed to solve it (I got a small round of  applause from a lady opposite!) - amazing! Who'd have thought I'd ever get to do it in public!!! Blush!

I put the pieces down to take a few notes and then tried reassembly about 10 minutes later - this was MUCH harder than the original - the exact starting point becomes absolutely crucial. If you don't do the first move just so, then all subsequent moves are blocked (in the original it is not crucial how you orient the pieces). This was a really nice little challenge. It only took a few minutes but very enjoyable.

Should you get this one? If you already have the version from Livewire then I would say maybe not (unless you are a collector like me). However, if you don't yet have the original, then I would actually buy this one in preference - it is most definitely a better challenge!!

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