Friday, 17 June 2016

Pachinko Box

Wil Strijbos’ latest sequential discovery puzzle has been in the works for a while – it’s been prototyped, it’s been tested and it’s finally been perfected – and a couple of weeks ago it was unleashed on a community eager to be puzzled. 

Several painful seconds elapsed between receiving the email announcing the new puzzle and my sending the reply asking to be puzzled… and a couple of days later a friendly delivery man (yes, they do exist!) deposited a rather heavy box at Puzzling Times HQ. 

Sod’s Law dictates that on the first evening I only had enough time to remove it from its shipping box… admire the nice sturdy inner box, take it out and admire its shininess. 

The next evening I did get to play though…

It’s a solid, handsome aluminium box, similar in size to Wil’s Angel Box – the obvious distinguisher is the sprung plunger sticking out the one side of the box – think Pinball launch-mechanism, or indeed, if you’re au fait with them, a Pachinko machine. There’s a little window on the side that allows a view of the plunger trapping a shiny marble against an internal wall in the box. On the top of the box there’s another window through which a Russian 2 Ruble coin is visible… there are one or two tiny holes around the box, a T-shaped slot on one side and a single round hole in the bottom of the box – which looks about marble-sized. 

First order of business must surely be to play around with the marble and the plunger, so if you’re like me, you take a deep breath and release the marble and then immediately try and replace it back where it was, clamped in place by the plunger – if only so that you can convince yourself that you can get back there again if you find the need to… turns out that’s pretty trivial. So you may as well get a bit more adventurous… 

Peering into that first little window I spotted a potential exit for the marble, although it seemed, rather unhelpfully, to have something rather severely in the way… 

After a while I managed to navigate to another area and duly found the marble in my lap – that hole IS large enough it turns out… marble in one hand, (very locked-up) Pachinko Box in the other – what’s a bloke supposed to do? I’ve got the marble out, but Wil’s instructions were to remove the second coin – and so far I’ve only seen one coin. Clearly there is (a lot!) more to be discovered… 

Gingerly the marble goes back into the hole it came out of – and immediately check you can remove it again (confirmed! Tick. Move on.) before peering through the slot and the hole to see if there’s anything else interesting looking in there… nada, at least there’s nothing to be seen… and now the real puzzling starts! 

From there you’ll find a few tools and begin a wonderful little odyssey that slowly reveals the box’s innards – usually just a bit too late to actually be useful in solving that stage, but great to confirm what you thought you knew! 

Toward the end of the journey you're rewarded with a wonderful Strijbos touch: a tantalising view of the second coin… you just can’t actually do anything about it until you solve a few more aspects of the puzzle. 

It’s a really fun sequence of events that forces you to use your imagination and skills in some unusual ways – there’s a wonderful use of tools at one point that had me grinning like a Cheshire Cat – it is delightful. 

By the time you remove the second coin, the box is pretty much laid bare… there’s only one little piece of the puzzle that you need to imagine as it remains blocked from view…

…and as a bonus, resetting the puzzle for the next victim is simple and quick!

Another great puzzling journey from Wil.


  1. Absolutely beautiful puzzle. Classic Wil. Brought big smiles to my face after lots of frustration :-)

  2. How long would you say this one took to solve?

    1. I've said it took about an hour and a half spread across two evenings - with some THINKing (c) in between...

  3. Mine is on the way to New York now so I'm playing with my Angel Box in preparation. Great review but would you say it's harder than the Angel Box. How would you compare the two in terms of difficulty.

    1. ...they're quite different and I'd find it hard to compare difficulty between them - both are multi-step multi-tool adventures... and bith put a smile on my face. FWIW, this weekend one of my mates said he liked it more than the Angel Box.

    2. My review,if I may,less steps,just as difficult as my Angel.I love it.Wil is devious!