Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hachette 3D Puzzle Series, vol. 1

Hachette is one of two international publishers selling serialized kits and/or magazines in Japan, which include TV show DVDs, 3D printer kits, drone and robot kits, etc. Hachette actually had a similar 3D puzzles line about 8-9 years ago, which consisted of 50 puzzles that came out one every 2 weeks. I'd missed most of those, and only discovered the series just about the time that it ended. I could only get a couple of the backissue volumes from Kinokuniya bookstore, because all the earlier ones were sold out.

(Game history page, this one for Mancala.)

The current line will only have 18 issues total. The first one is 499 yen ($4.50), which is why I picked it up. The other ones will probably all be about 1,100 yen each. If you get the full subscription right now, you get your choice of one more puzzle plus a copy of Mancala, or the "casino" game (the one where you have a dice box with wooden counters with the numbers 1-9 on them. Rolling a specific number on the dice lets you flip the counter over.)

(Paper puzzles page.)

Each volume will come with a magazine. The first mag is twice as long as the regular ones because it's advertising for the series. The regular magazines will be shorter and all follow the same pattern. First will be a section on the history of a specific game, then there will be several pages of paper logic puzzles, including magic squares, Sudoku, and elimination grid puzzles (the kind where you are given the names, occupations, and cities of 5 people, plus a list of clues linking them together.) There's also a classical painting memory game (you look at the painting for a few seconds, then try to answer questions about it from someone else, such as "how many people in the painting?", "what animal is in the picture?", "where in the picture is the animal?", etc. All of the pages are 3-hole punched, so you can store them in a binder.

(Memory puzzle painting.)

Three of the issues are things in the same vein as the Rubik's cube, where you have to scramble, then unscramble them. One of those looks kind of pretty, so I may get it just based on its looks. However, I normally don't like those things. One toy is going to be the Tower of Hanoi, and the rest look to be 3D wood puzzles like the ones I'd gotten from capsule ball dispensers last year. In fact, the Hachette line has 3 identical duplications of the capsule ones I already have and another 2 are just fancier versions of the capsule puzzles. Overall, I'm only interested in 7 or 8 of the issues, not including #1, which I already have. The next one I want is #6, which won't be hitting the shelves until sometime in May, I guess. On the other hand, the magazine cover shows 3 other puzzles that aren't in the series, so I don't know how they figure into all of this.

Ok, the toy for vol. 1 is this assembly puzzle. All the pieces are the same, and they form a cube about 2.5" to a side. The holder has a flat corner so you can display the finished puzzle on-end like a kind of trophy. But, the pieces slide around easily and if the holder gets bumped, you're going to find yourself trying to pick every single piece up from off the floor. This is going to be like a jigsaw puzzle - lose one piece and the entire thing becomes worthless.

As of this writing, I haven't tried putting it back together. But, I've got a pretty good idea of what the trick is. When I get a free hour, I'll sit down and see how well I do. As for the paper puzzles in the magazine, there are a couple I want to try, including the Sudoku one, and the elimination grid. If you want to cheat, the solutions for those are at the back of the same issue.

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