Hendrik Haak’s IPP31 Exchange puzzle was an interesting little puzzle box called the Laby Box – and when I recognised it on one of Wil Strijbos’ recent email offerings, it didn’t take long to ask for one. [Yeah, yeah, recurring theme noted, again...]
Laby Box is a nice-sized, possibly even useful-sized box with a locking lid comprised of two parallel maze keys with three interfering pairs of pins running in tracks perpendicular to the mazes – got that?
You need to manoeuvre the maze keys out of the way in order to release the lid – but those pesky pins do a pretty good job of getting in the way!
Handily Hendrik’s given you a couple of hints to get you started, like those two little holes on the ends of the maze strips to make it easier to pull them out from the starting position – unfortunately Hendrik’s also a crafty little sod, so near the beginning he sends you off in precisely the wrong direction.
The maze strips themselves are delightfully simple designs, however the combination of having to get through two of them at the same time while navigating three pairs of joined pins makes for a neat little challenge. There are a couple of places where I found myself wondering how the heck I could go forward, and then needing to take myself back quite a bit in the process – sometimes not quite far enough and then ending up in a bit of a loop.
Once you’ve released one of the mazes, the second can be slid out and the acrylic lid removed to give access to the box.
I rather liked the Laby Box – it’s really nicely finished for a mass-market puzzle, the bits fit together very nicely and the puzzle offers a decent challenge, even if the simplicity of the maze keys might lead you to believe otherwise.
If you’re interested in getting one for yourself, you could either try Wil, or get one directly from Hendrik Haak’s excellent web shop.