Sunday 14 January 2024

Brass Monkey Sixential Discovery [BM6]

The daddy has arrived.

For five years now Steve and Ali have been bringing us an evolving series of puzzles - all with precisely the same form factor. In fact, if you just glanced at them, you’d probably think they were all the same thing… spend a little time with them and it immediately becomes apparent that they’re very different!

There was the simple standard burr, the one that reminded me of another entire series of puzzles, the one that seemed to be welded together, the one that made you laugh out loud, and now there’s this one… the one entire series has been building up to: Brass Monkey Sixential Discovery is, in my humble opinion, the daddy!

Aside from the marks to identify the number in the series on the ends, this one looks exactly like every other BM in the series… same size, weight and appearance…

The solve on this one is something else entirely – there’s a clue in the name - this one is a rollicking ride through some new uncharted sequential discovery territory - this is some next-level prize-winning stuff… and if I was on YouTube you’d probably all be accusing me of being too click-baity… but trust me on this one.

My first acquaintance with this puzzle came through a prototype that arrived in the mail - I spent several hours over a couple of sessions trying to bash my way through several virtual brick walls… the start for example kept me really confused for a while…nothing like having a lump of brass literally mocking your inability to even find the first step!

Once I was in, I could see that I was going to enjoy this little guy A LOT. There’s some early exposure to some exquisite little tools that you’ll be absolutely itching to use… and you won’t be disappointed. The mechanisms and the tools are really clever and innovative, and each mechanism you get through puts a smile on your face…

At some point you’ll come across a monkey and when you’re done, you’ll have the opportunity to Feed the Monkey – cue gratuitous product reference.

The first time I ran through it all I was left somewhat astounded at the number of little bits and pieces strewn around the desk, having started with “just” a six-piece burr… reassembly felt a little daunting but some Think (c) will see you right…

Once I’d done that I sent off some highly effusive congratulatory messages to Ali and Steve who immediately asked me exactly how I’d solved a couple of specific aspects and when I told them (I was particularly proud of one of my approaches) they “ummed” and “ahhhed” and duly set about changing some of the tools a little to stop anyone else doing that… a few weeks later some replacement bits arrived and I set about re-solving it and replacing the bits… and it’s even better now because it forces you to do things the way they’d intended (even if my way seemed so good, theirs is even better!). They’ve tweaked a couple of bits to make things more predictable and more honest, and they are now happy that it’s ready to be inflicted on puzzlers everywhere.

This thing is literally as far removed from being “just a six-piece burr” as you could possibly imagine - Ali and Steve had some serious ambition to try and cram all of this into that form factor, and the engineering is sublime as usual… I’m a huge fan of this one - I defy you not to think it’s awesome.

If you're interested, Steve and Ali currently have a special offer with free shipping on all orders placed by the 21st of January. [They're already shipping... this isn't one of those pay now and get your (insert favourite example here) puzzle later scams!] 

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