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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Dice (Akio Kamei)

It's been quite a while since I last posted about a puzzle box, and considering they really are my favourite puzzle genre I think it's about time I got around to it again. And as luck would have it a fellow puzzler has kindly just loaned me this particularly clever box!

This is the 'Dice' puzzle box from Akio Kamei, member of the very well known Japanese puzzle box company the Karakuri Creation Group. The original design was originally thought up by Kamei in 1997, but was then slightly modified and improved into the 2008 version seen here in the picture. This version
It is very simple in appearance (which is something that I tend to quite like when it comes to puzzle boxes), however it is not quite so simple as a puzzle. The outer panels are made from walnut, which gives the box a great feel and a nice weight, and it is medium sized at 8cm cubed. The outer panels of the box have the indented numbers 1 to 6 that you would expect to see on any dice, and these show through the lighter wood internals of the puzzle box giving a nice contrast again the walnut.

When first picking up this box you will most likely find that none of the usual stuff seems to happen. None of the outer panels will move, no matter how you seem to push, pull or slide them. After solving it for myself I reckon that it is very unlikely that anyone would be able to solve this puzzle simply by chance. You will need to use your observation skills and apply a bit of logic before this box will open up to you.

It's quite hard for myself to pin a difficulty rating on the Dice box as although I managed to solve if fairly quickly I know of several puzzlers that spent a significant amount of time on it. I guess it really depends on how the mind of each individual puzzler works coupled with their past experience of other puzzles.
The solution itself is extremely clever and quite complex, and I could understand how some people could take a while to work it out. If however you stop and think logically about what you are looking at then there is a good chance you will be able to solve it in a very reasonable time.

This is one of the more popular (and cheaper) puzzle boxes in the Karakuri series, and as such it tends to be often available from the usual suspects: Puzzle MasterKarakuri & PuzzleBoxWorld to name a few.

Also check out Brian's thoughts on the 1997 version of this puzzle box with the same mechanism.

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