Simple Solid Ring Maze
SIMPLE SOLID RING MAZE
In 2011 (IPP 31 in Berlin) Japanese designer Yuta Akira came up with the mechanical puzzle SIMPLE SOLID RING MAZE and entered the IPP competition of said year. In those days the puzzle was out of wood plus the metal ring but meanwhile it is available from the famous Japanese company Hanayama in a heavy bronze metal version and is called CAST BOX. It is widely available through different internet puzzle shops and costs usually around 10 Euros.
The goal is simple: remove the ring from the cube and put it back to the START position. The bronze cube has a few grooves at different locations throughout the object and the metal ring is not fully closed. There is a little gap and on one end of the gap is a kind of notch enabling the ring to pass through some grooves if the metal ring is correctly orientated. After a bit of fiddling around it seemed I drove in circles around the cube. That was until I recognized a different route and that took me to the “exit”. Playing time so far about 10 minutes. Only the next day I tried to put it back to the “START” position and astonishly this second challenge was a bit harder. Of course you can bring it back quite quickly but to get it done as per the picture on the Hanayma packaging it took me about 25 minutes. From a difficulty point of view Hanayama rates it a 2 out of 6 on their scale which is about right.
This is a nice pocket puzzle which is also suitable for kids or to bother your friends or colleagues at work. The price is on the low side and therefore it is also great as a gift. The Hanayama collectors will buy it anyways and serious puzzlers will most probably concentrate on more difficult puzzles.