Saturday, 9 March 2019

Takarabako Box

Rick Jenkins has spent a goodly while apprenticing at the feet of the master – learning the sweet craft of dreaming up and then handcrafting puzzle boxes from Robert “Stickman” Yarger.

Having seen Rick’s fine handiwork on the Hexagram Puzzlebox, I was interested to see what he’d be producing when he struck out on his own… so when the Takarabako Box was announced I joined the orderly queue.

I did have a few moments of doubt when some pictures of the partially finished product appeared and it looked a little, err, rustic. I stuck with it and when my box arrived I was delighted that I had: the finish on this box is excellent! In fact, I’d go so far as to say that by releasing those initial pics, Rick may have done himself a gross injustice.

The box has a complex lattice covering all six faces and at first there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot you can do… you need to spend a little time getting to know it, and in the process, finding a few things that will probably be interesting at some point – but in my case – weren’t accessible just then… it should be said that there are also a good few red herrings thrown in there as well: it’s always nice to see a puzzle designer having a bit of a laugh at your expense – both literally and figuratively!

I ended up massively over-thinking this one and imagining all manner of hugely complicated mechanisms and interactions, and ended up being slightly embarrassed – delighted, but embarrassed – when I finally opened it up.

The final reveal tells you a lot about Rick’s craftsmanship and his confidence… lesser mortals wouldn’t (and probably shouldn’t!) attempt what he’s pulled off here… seeing things in the altogether show just how simple they can be, and yet cause so much confusion – at least inside this puzzler’s head…

Here’s hoping that Rick keeps on making puzzle boxes for a long time – Cheers!

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