Saturday 11 February 2023


Hajime Katsumoto has produced some wonderful packing puzzles so it didn’t surprise me when 4 PAC joined Penta in a Box, Slide Packing and 5L Box in winning an award in the 2021 Nob Yoshigahara Puzzle Design Competition.

I had a little trouble tracking down a copy until Saint Nick popped one in the post to me last Christmas – thanks Nick!

This is another lovely, honest packing puzzle. You get four identical PAC-men (PAC-mans?! Nah…) and a box that is clearly large enough to accommodate all of them – the only little wrinkle is the clear acrylic top that restricts access to just a slit on the one side. There are a number of handy holes in some panels to allow you to manipulate things inside – so that’s probably going to be necessary…

When you start putting your PAC-men into the box, you’ll find you’ve got a fair amount of room to re-position things. Once you’ve got a couple of them in there, your freedom of movement starts getting significantly reduced, and if you’re anything like me, by the time you’re trying to get the last PAC-man in there, the hole is either in the wrong place, or something’s in the way – which may be two sides of the self-same coin, I guess.

I spent a while exploring different ways for the pieces to interact. I spent some time trying to analyse what the final insertion absolutely HAD to be (I kept having doubts because I couldn’t see how to get to the stage just before that…) and then I spent a long time fiddling with a few pieces inside the box and rearranging them until the cows came home…(not a spoiler).

Sometime during all of that, the weirdest thing happened: I realised that I’d achieved exactly what I’d been trying to set out, but I hadn’t recognised it as I was looking at it from the wrong side – yeah, not the sharpest crayon, eh?! From there it was a short little shift, shimmy and drop the final piece into place and I was done – fat smile time.

A super design from Katsumoto-san, beautifully made by Lensch-san, and generously gifted by Saint Nick – thank you (all) for a great puzzle!

No comments:

Post a Comment