## Friday, 3 February 2012

### V-Cube 7 - Illusion

I solved my first 'twisty' puzzle!!! And no, I'm not counting the time when I pried apart my childhood Rubik's Cube.

Okay, so that may not be a very big deal to many of you, but I've always had huge problems whenever it comes to solving two particular types of puzzles. One half of those are puzzles of the wire 'disentanglement' variety, and the others are of the 'twisty' variety.

Recently I came across a range of puzzles by the Greek twisty puzzle manufacturer V-Cubes (or Verdes Innovations if you prefer). These were twisty cubes of the 7x7x7 variety as opposed to the Rubik's Cube 3x3x3, but were only composed of two colours. The puzzles in this series are called V-Cube 7 - Illusion, and are considered to be a good starting point for anyone looking to get into twisty puzzles, like me! Not that I need to get into any other puzzle varieties mind you...it just sort of happened this way.

Just by looking at the picture it doesn't actually look as though the cube can be scrambled as each side is perfectly identical. However one side has a reverse checker-board pattern, and this is the side that you scramble into all of the others. Thus the puzzle is to essentially solve the one irregular side of the cube, and then all of the other sides will automatically be solved as well.

I have to admit, due to some kind of fear that I have developed against twisty puzzles it took a good few hours before the cube was scrambled properly. I kept doing a couple of turns and then putting it back again. I hated the idea that I may never be able to get it back to it's starting position again. To solve this dilemma I gave the cube to my other half, who although has no interest in solving puzzles did actually take quite a keen interest in scrambling this one. Personally I think she just likes to see me suffer.

I worked out a good method in my head for solving this cube. I started by finding the only centre cube that was a different colour, and then started solving it from the inner pieces outward. Then I got the edge centres in place, followed by the rest of the edge pieces. The corners did not need solving as in this puzzle they are all of the same colour. Getting the edge pieces right actually took longer than all of the others as I had to keep the solved pieces in position whilst bringing them into place, which is much harder than it looks!

It actually only took me about 30-40 minutes to solve this the first time, and each time I did it afterwards I became quicker as I was picking up the methods needed to solve it.
Now I don't think that I'm anywhere near the stage of picking up a proper 7x7x7 with six different coloured sides, but I will be much less afraid of giving many other twisty puzzles a go from now.

The quality of the V-Cube - Illusion is really nice! The cube feels weighty, turns perfectly and hardly ever catches. They are available in four different colour patterns (yellow/black, white/black, red/white, green/white) and they currently retail for around 30 Euro (or 40 USD). I bought mine directly from the V-Cube Online Store.

1. I really love the V-cubes. I have a 5x5 and a 7x7 in 6 colours. They are not too bad to solve (although not trivial) and despite the size and complexity they are really smooth and hardly ever lock up.

They have just released a 3x3 and it will be interesting to see whether they are better than a standard Rubik's cube.

Kevin