Sunday 22 December 2013

Cast Medal

Cast Medal
Here I go again making excuses for the quality of my post today! I have had my mum staying with me for a few days. Her 5 year old laptop is showing the advanced age and is on it's last legs. I finally convinced her to buy a Macbook (as I can't support her on Windows with ease since I have barely used it in years) so we have had a few sessions of tuition and I am completely frazzled! This may make this post a little shaky!!!

Today I'm reviewing the Cast Medal - this one I saw a couple of years ago when a friend of mine brought it to work for me to play with it. I really struggled with it despite spending probably a couple of hours on it. So when my last puzzle order at Puzzle Master went in, I had to have one of my own.

The Cast Medal is only rated as a level 2 on the Hanayama 6 point scale or 6 (Tricky) on the Puzzle Master 5-10 point scale. I would suggest that this particular puzzle is actually a good bit more difficult than the rating suggests - I'd suggest that 3 (7) is a better rating. Two of the three reviews on the product page also agree with this assessment. The reviews have, without exception, been positive and mine will be too. Gabriel's review was positive here.

It arrives in the usual black Hanayama package and is really beautiful to look at being made of 2 disks of copper coloured metal joined together and with a partial ring attached to one, The aim is simply to remove the ring using the rough pathway carved into the surface of the disk and also making use of the holes in them to rotate the ring around into different positions. Initially it is not clear why there are 2 disks but quite quickly it becomes apparent that it requires you to utilise the path way on both of them at the same time. I am not particularly good at these dual maze type puzzles and this may explain why I had so much trouble. Construction quality is very high, it is 9.7 x 4.7 x 2.2 cm in size. No solution is supplied with it but it can be downloaded from here.
The first time I tried this one I just couldn't seem to make headway with it at all. I worked out the basic premise and knew what I had to do but I was unable to find my way past a dead end in the pathway. There is a way through, but for the life of me, I just could not get through. Eventually my friend showed me and I kicked myself for being so stupid! So after about 18 months, it was time for me to try again.

Having picked this up last week I had another go hoping vainly that I would remember the solution path but, you guessed it, I had no clue at all! This confirms that I am really not very bright and also makes me wonder how I actually manage to function at all! There are many days where I don't remember who I am!!

There are a few things to do: Work out how to get from 1 disk to 2 then work your way around both at the same time, then try and find a way to take it off first one of the disks and then move it around the other one again before manipulating it to the exit. I seemed to play with this one and get to exactly the same dead end as before and for the life of me I couldn't seem to get past it! Aaargh! Back and forth I went and eventually had to put it down. I tried this one on and off for a few days until suddenly had a truly euphoric Aha! moment. Suddenly I was past that dead end and the ring was off a minute or so later! Thank goodness! I am bald enough already without tearing any more out - especially on a so called level 2 puzzle!

Cast medal solved - finally!
The next challenge, of course, is to return it to the starting position - you can of course guess what happened to me with my bad memory! Yep, I struggled again but luckily did manage it eventually.

This particular puzzle is great looking (although it will get a little scratched up), a fantastic little challenge with a great Aha moment that we all seek and certainly not terribly difficult but definitely harder than the level 2 makes out. So buy it here (for only $13) and torture you friends and family with it, you won't regret it.

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