|Bermudaminx - Venus is supposed to be the easiest!|
The only puzzles that I have managed to spend time on have been to try a new sliding piece puzzle designed by the incredible Laszlo Kmolnar and not get anywhere at all with it and then in desperation to return to a bit of twisty puzzling. I have a bit of a backlog of twisties that I need to get through before I order some more. My friend Martin has recently lost his job with one of the city councils in England and to try and help support himself, he has set up a twisty puzzle store in the UK offering very good prices - I wanted to catch up with my backlog before ordering a few extras. If you are buying twisties and you live in the UK or Europe then have a look at what Martin has to offer - he's very reliable, in fact you will probably know him from his YouTube channel.
Quite a long time ago I decided to buy the Bermudaminxes and they arrived en mass requiring stickering which can only be described as a truly soul destroying process. But eventually I had all eight of them ready to go and even scrambled one:
|Eight scary minxes - the scrambled Mercury has been like that since I got it!|
Eventually when I realised that I had a list of new ones to order from Martin, I decided it was time plus, believe it or not, I hadn't received any new wooden beauties for a while and the disentanglements that are backlogged in my queue are proving impossible:
I have put these aside for the moment and have decided to go back to the Bermudaminxes for a "refreshing change". I got advice from Jamie a while back for which order to begin them and he chose the Venus as a suitable start point. This may be the easiest but LORD! my head hurt for quite a lot of the week and Mrs S exercised the laser burning stare and the Whack! Ouch! many times due to my muttering and effing and blinding every evening.
So what is the difficulty and why should you have a go? To really describe these I should start at the beginning. The important thing is to look at the name - Bermuda...MINX. These are basically a Megaminx with some alterations made. A megaminx is a dodecahedral twisty puzzle which can be solved pretty much in EXACTLY the same way as a standard 3x3 Rubik cube.
The Bermudaminxes alter things by changing the shapes of various centres to introduce odd positioning and blocking of moves. I have shown the Venus minx which is the one I started with this time around. The top white face shows one of the face types. As you can see, the effect is that it blocks the movement of other faces - the green face cannot move and neither can the one to it's left. The other thing you can see on the right hand image is that the orange face is blocking all the adjacent faces - it needs to be offset by 36º during the solving to allow anything to move. This isn't really blocking but it just means that you have to solve that face with everything skewed and then move it into place at the last moment. Phew!
There is a third face type which is less blocking but more confusing:
|3rd Face type - cream|
Once the basic method is understood - the first thing to establish is which face should be the down face i.e. the start face. It took me a day to realise that my habit of always starting with the white face was causing me a real problem with the end game. Having white down meant that in this particular minx the top half of the puzzle contained both the blocking centre types and they seriously interfered with the way I solve the last face - I could not do it that way! Looking at the puzzle I determined that if I started with the red face then both the hat shaped and the diamond shaped centres would be below the equator and thus would make the first half a challenge but not interfere with the end game much. I went at it on day 2 in this manner and seemed to be making progress.
|Top face - correct edges and no parity|
Let's just say that not mucking it up was a tall order for me - I duly did that and Derek could practically hear my howl of anguish across the Atlantic and the whole of the US continent! Another ½ hour and it was done! Phew - only another 7 to go!
I have recently realised whilst looking at the puzzle in detail for the blog post that they actually give even more value for money. The "simple" Venus version was solved with red as the down face but I have just realised that I can also meet the criterion of having both "abnormal" faces in the lower half by solving the green face as the bottom one. This will put the others into different positions and potentially give me an alternative challenge - twice the value for money! After that maybe I will have to see whether it is possible to solve the minx with the funny faces in the top half.
All of that has challenged me before I even attempt any of the others - some of them have the non-pentagonal faces adjacent to each other and some have up to 4 of them in one single puzzle. I actually think that my initial plan to always have them in the lower half will prove impossible with the harder versions - Lord help me!
Come on boys and girls - buy a Megaminx and learn how to solve it (no harder than a standard cube) and then buy a few of these Bermudaminxes and try them yourself - you need nothing more than beginners cube method and a bit of thought! I know that puzzlers of your calibre can do it - especially if a dimwit like me can manage. Martin will be able to get them for you - or you can buy them here or here or here.
So now I am off to attempt the Venus with green face first and start again on Laszlo's sliding piece puzzle - I have been at it for days now! Wish me luck?
|Made from Livecubes - I need to flip the triomino on the right|