Thursday 10 May 2012

Oskar’s Domino Tower

Several seriously talented craftsmen have produced versions of Oskar van Deventer’s Domino Tower. According to the pencil signature, my recently acquired copy was made by Tom Lensch in 2006, but other versions have been produced by Scott Peterson and John Devost. 

Oskar’s design is delightfully simple with four identical pieces, each consisting of 6 domino-shaped blocks, that interlock to form a tower. Given the size and shape of the pieces, you’re almost certainly going to pick up the tower in a grip that will push the pieces together, which might leave you a little confused for a short while. 

A bit of experimenting, particularly with less obvious ways of gripping the pieces, will soon have the four parts sliding apart until they collapse in a pile ... and unusually, putting them back together is almost easier than taking them apart – applying either a little bit of coordinate motion or a couple of moves to make space for the last piece...

Most of the fun is to be had in playing with the bits and experimenting with alternative ways of putting the pieces together to form different sorts of interlocking shapes and experimenting with different patterns and colouring on the shapes you’ve made. 

I reckon that Oskar’s Domino Tower is the wooden puzzle-equivalent of a stress ball or worry beads – therapeutic to just fiddle with and play around with the pieces sliding across one another...

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