As we’ve come to expect from Endo-san, Tunnel Cube isn’t just a cracking little puzzle – it is presented beautifully! In this case, the pieces arrive in a lovely little frame that keeps everything in place and has some extra little decoration on it for no good reason other than to make it look brilliant.
Remove the pieces from the frame and you’ll find nine tri-cubes, eight of which are attached to a frame-piece – the goals being to build a couple of variations of a framed cube… of course given the number of ways the frame pieces meet the tri-cubes, your options for building a neatly interlocking framed cube are somewhat limited – introducing a nice element of challenge!
I mention challenges – there are two: one is to build a cube with a tunnel through the centre using the eight frame bits and leaving out the simple tri-cube; and the second asks you to build a complete, framed cube using all of your bits.
Through my gentle puzzling / general bumbling around I managed to find quite a few ways of getting all bar the last piece to fit together, however, the final piece that I had left over was invariably either not in the right orientation or expected the attached tri-cube to be somewhere else entirely.
It turns out that both of the cube assemblies, tunnel and full, are well-less-than-trivial and a bit of planning will actually help you narrow down the search space… and then, just when you think you’re done, all you have to do is put the pieces neatly back into the frame so that they lock into place and won’t spill out into the next puzzlist’s lap… that’s pretty non-trivial too!
As always, this puzzle is beautifully made, with stacks of extra little inlays and details just to make it look good – another little gem from Endo-san that brings you three intriguing challenges.