It’s Follow-Up Friday: Rubik’s Race edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And today, I’d like to return to the subject of Rubik’s Cubes!

You know, every time I think I’ve seen it all when it comes to Rubik’s Cube, some enterprising solver proves me wrong yet again. I mean, in writing three blog posts a week here for years, I’ve seen a LOT of cool things done with Rubik’s Cubes.

I’ve seen the world’s largest Rubik’s-style cube being solved, a building turned into a solvable Rubik’s Cube, a new speed-solving world record of 5.25 seconds, and a Rubik’s Cube solved one move at a time by strangers across the globe.

And now, we’ve got our first cross-disciple Rubik’s race. Anthony Brooks, a Rubik’s speed solver, pitted his twisty puzzle skills against the speed of Usain Bolt from his 9.81 second run in the 100 meters at this year’s Summer Olympics.

So…how did he do?

Granted, I think it would have been a fairer fight if Brooks was running on a treadmill or something at the time, but it’s still a funny comparison. Apparently, not all contests of speed are created equal. (Says the guy who just ate eight chicken nuggets in the time it took Bolt to run 100 meters. I don’t know if that means I won or I lost.)


Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!

PuzzleNation Product Review: Back Spin by ThinkFun

[Note: I received a free copy of this game in exchange for a fair, unbiased review. Due diligence, full disclosure, and all that.]

Imagine someone hands you a small puzzle game. You twist and turn it this way and that way, trying to line up all the different colored components so that they match, spinning and manipulating it so that one particular piece falls into place, but by doing so, three others end up somewhere else, and now you have to chase them down.

It probably sounds like I’m describing solving a Rubik’s Cube, but the same description fits cracking the latest puzzle game from ThinkFun: Back Spin.

And you know what? Back Spin is the younger sibling of the Rubik’s Cube that I wish I could’ve tried out first.

[Both sides of Back Spin, with the spheres all mixed up between the two.]

Designed for solvers aged 8 and up, Back Spin only features two sides (front and back) to Rubik’s six, but each of those sides has six small colored chambers, intended to hold matching colored spheres. Rotating the front or the back allows you to line up these chambers and swap spheres between them.

As for the spheres, there are nine different colors to sort; red, yellow, and orange are on both sides, but each side has a different shade of blue, green, and pink/purple, meaning some spheres can go on either side, but some are only meant for the front or the back.

Whether you’re moving colored spheres from back to front or rotating them in overlapping chambers to shift the spheres’ positions within the chamber — a la the sliding tiles in one of those picture puzzles — this is an introduction to chain-thinking and solving, a step up from simpler mechanical brain teasers, but not nearly as daunting as Rubik’s infamous cube.

[Alright, it’s solved! Oh, no, wait, this is only one side. Darn.
There are still spheres misplaced on the other side of the puzzle.]

And although the game is marketed as a single-solver puzzle, you really need two: one to mix all of the spheres up, and the other to unravel it. It’s much more satisfying to conquer the challenge someone else sets out for you than one you set for yourself, because you can’t help but retain some of the steps involved in mixing up the puzzle.

Having someone else mix up the spheres not only allows for a tougher solve, but the process of mixing them up for another solver is just as valuable a puzzling experience as solving it.

[Okay, this time I’ve got it. All the spheres properly placed on both sides. Phew!
(You can also see that there are only two purple spheres, since one chamber
has to allow a sphere to pass from back to front for the puzzle to be solvable.)]

Back Spin is a wonderfully vivid variation on a classic style of puzzle solving, one whose simple mechanics — a wheel that goes back and forth and holes that line up — allow for deep, meaningful, logic-based puzzling.

It encourages exploration and experimentation, staving off both the boredom and the frustration that more difficult brain teasers often spark. It’s a terrific addition to the ThinkFun line-up of puzzle games that teach while you play.

Back Spin is available for $14.99 on the ThinkFun website. To check out previous ThinkFun product reviews on PuzzleNation Blog, click here.


Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!

It’s Follow-Up Friday: Rubik’s Explosion edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And I’d like to return to the subject of twisty puzzles.

I’ve written before about the 3-D printing revolution and its effect on puzzling; now creators can customize puzzles like never before, designing mind-blowing puzzles and games unlike anything you’ve seen before.

And twisty puzzles like the Rubik’s Cube are a favorite of many 3-D puzzle designers.

You may remember last year when I wrote about the world’s largest Rubik’s-style puzzle, a 17x17x17 twisty puzzle known as the “Over the Top” Rubik’s Cube, created by Oskar van Deventer.

Well, Oskar’s masterpiece has been one-upped by the folks at Coren Puzzle, who have created a 22x22x22 Rubik’s-style cube!

Composed of 2,691 individual 3-D printed pieces, they’ve had some difficulty bringing their new puzzle to fruition, as you’ll see in the video below, posted a few months ago:

Yes, the first attempt to assemble this monstrous puzzle literally exploded in their hands. (Twice!) But they persevered, and now, please feast your eyes on the new record holder:

And here I sit, having never solved an actual Rubik’s Cube. This one might be a bit too much for me.


Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!

It’s Follow-Up Friday: Rubik ‘Round the World edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And today, I’d like to return to the subject of twisty puzzles and the Rubik’s Cube!

history

[Picture courtesy of Rubiks.com.]

It’s been over 40 years since Erno Rubik created the first working prototype of the Rubik’s Cube, and over the decades, these unmistakable little cubes have changed the face of puzzles and games.

We’ve seen the world’s largest Rubik’s-style cube being solved, a building turned into a solvable Rubik’s Cube, and just this year, a new speed-solving world record of 5.25 seconds became the mark to beat for competitive puzzlers.

This puzzle has truly global appeal, and perhaps no video provides more telling proof of that fact than the one I have for you today.

A globe-trotting YouTuber named Nuseir Yassin brought a Rubik’s Cube with him as he explored eleven different countries, and he accomplished something I’ve never seen before: an international group solve of a Rubik’s Cube.

Not only that, but each person who participated was only allowed 1 move before passing it along. One twist, one turn, one shifting of blocks. That’s all.

And guess what? It worked.

Just watch, and marvel at a truly unique and inimitable puzzle-solving experience:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: puzzles make the world a better place.

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!

It’s Follow-Up Friday: Rapid Rubik edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And I’d like to return to the subject of twisty puzzles.

Obviously the most famous twisty puzzle of all time is the Rubik’s Cube. It’s one of the most recognizable puzzles in the world, and there are entire tournaments dedicated to speed-solving those signature cubes.

As you may recall, I’ve written about Rubik’s Cube world records before, but you’ve never seen a solve like this. Collin Burns set a new world record for speed-solving a 3×3 Rubik’s Cube.

His solve was so fast that he could’ve solved a dozen Rubik’s Cubes or more in the time it’s taken you to read this far. Check it out!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huh4GEPKYt4]

Collin’s solve took 5.253 seconds, shattering the previous record of 5.55 seconds. Absolutely mind-blowing.

I wonder if Erno Rubik had any idea his eponymous cubes would’ve inspired something like this.

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!

 

It’s Follow-Up Friday: Rubik Ridiculousness edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And I’d like to return to the subject of twisty puzzles.

17x17x17_rubiks_cube_11

Last week I wrote a post discussing how 3-D printing is changing the way Rubik’s-style puzzles, or twisty puzzles, are being constructed.

One of the puzzles I mentioned was a monstrous 17x17x17 cube known as the “Over the Top” Rubik’s Cube, created by 3-D puzzler Oskar van Deventer. It’s the world’s largest Rubik’s-style puzzle, and a visually staggering artifact.

Well, as it turns out, not long after that post went live on the blog, I discovered a video of a twisty puzzle enthusiast SOLVING the 17x17x17 Over the Top puzzle:

Solved in seven and a half hours over the course of five days, this puzzle whiz (who goes by the YouTube handle “RedKB”) documented the entire process, then did a time lapse to compress the video into six minutes, as you can see in the clip above.

(For the fascinated, he’s also uploaded the entire seven hours of solving so you can see the complexity of the cube in its full, mind-boggling glory.)

It’s one thing to discuss these puzzles, and quite another to watch someone accept the challenge and then conquer it. A truly impressive puzzly effort.

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! You can share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and be sure to check out the growing library of PuzzleNation apps and games!