Monday, 13 June 2016

Stickman #18 – Sphere Box



Toward the end of 2008 Robert Yarger made a run of 31 little round puzzleboxes – number 18 in his series of numbered designs, it was dubbed the Sphere Box. 


Upon first inspection, it looks like a ball trapped inside a wooden cage – so your first instincts might be to try and release the ball from the cage… and that would probably be useful, except the cage is pretty snug around the ball… and the ball has a few pins protruding from its surface which tend to get in the way of manipulating the ball around inside the frame… 

Hmmmm… 

OK, so let’s look at this object in a little more detail: the frame appears to be built up of two layers of wood bonded at right angles – and reading Rob’s notes on the puzzle over here, that was deliberate to add strength – to the point where it was “so sturdy it can practically be stood upon” – and No, dear reader, I am not tempted to test that in any way, shape or form – I can vouch that the frame is pretty sturdy and will certainly withstand an enthusiastic puzzler’s handling. 


A couple of the rings on the cage have notches in them that look like they’ll allow those pesky pins on the ball through them – which is great, but there are only two of those notches – and there are three pins, so even if you line things up neatly, you still find a pin getting in the way somewhere…


As you might expect with one of Rob’s little beauties, not all is as it seems initially, and there are a few features to be discovered that will assist in freeing the trapped ball… although it takes quite a bit of manipulation and understanding of all the “features”, and sometimes exploiting them in unusual ways – do all that and you’ll be rewarded with being able to release the trapped ball – which turns out to be in two halves – with Rob’s trademark little Stickman logo inside it.


It looks unique – I’m pretty certain that you’d be hard-pressed to name another puzzlebox in the shape of a ball trapped in a cage – and if you could, I’d wager a lot that it wouldn’t be nearly as good-looking as this little gem.


You can read Neil’s thoughts, and even see a video of the puzzle in action (with some spoilers), over here.

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