Everyone’s favourite Greek puzzle maker, Mike Toulouzas,
recently put a copy of his 7-Piece Nightmare puzzle up for sale. He’d made a
short run of them and had a spare copy or two and I was delighted to be able to
snag one of them.

7-Piece Nightmare was one of Mike’s entries in the 2005 Puzzle Design Competition in Helsinki.

As you might expect from the name, there are seven pieces to
be packed inside a neat little box with a lid on it. The pieces all consist of
a number of half-squares glued together in a variety of configurations, so that
in total you have three layers of 4 squares on each layer. Two of the pieces
have triangles in three layers, with the remaining pieces spanning two layers
each. The shapes are pretty funky and take a bit of getting used to…

Mike has alternated the colours of the triangles on the top
and bottom so that you end up with either a chequerboard pattern or a windmill
pattern on the faces (Iroko and Eucalyptus woods) … and the central layer is
all a single colour.

Mike describes the puzzle as surprisingly difficult – and with
only seven pieces, it is rather tricky!

I’m still not sure whether knowing that one side of the
completed assembly is a chequerboard and the other has a windmill pattern
actually helps or not – at the start of the solve, pretty much any piece could
form part of either of those patterns, and it’s only after experimenting and
wandering down a blind alley or two that you’re able to deduce the orientations
of one or two key pieces.

The search-space is dramatically reduced once you’ve got a
few of the pieces together, but it’s still a long way from a trivial task to
slot the final pieces together – the combinations he’s chosen seem to be
particularly confusing (at least to this amateur puzzler!) and several times I’ve
found myself only one or two pieces form the final solution and still not at
all certain that I’m on the right track.

As you’d expect from Mike’s work, the fit and finish is
superb – the detailing on the box is stunning, from the decorative inlays
around the corners to the detailing on the top of the handle on the lid.

A beautiful object that also happens to be a great puzzle –
it may only have 7 pieces, but I’ll wager it’ll give any puzzler a decent
challenge – and if you don’t simply enjoy playing with the wonderful handiwork
then there’s something wrong with you! :-)

That's a nice box! Where was it up for sale? On PP or through Mike direct?

ReplyDelete...sort of direct... :-) ... it almost made it onto PP.

Deleteas always a fantastic puzzle from Mike and a very nice review from you

ReplyDeletehappy puzzling

Bernhard

Thanks Bernhard! :-)

Deletehi allard.thank you for the nice review again.This gives me a boost to make more.What can i say.

ReplyDeleteExcellent - my work here is done! :-) Looking forward to seeing what comes out of the workshop next, Mike!

DeleteNice write up Allard. Until your review, I was thinking of getting one for a while. Now I just have to do it instead of just thinking about it.

ReplyDelete