Only a few years ago, it was unthinkable that the puzzles we have today would even exist. In fact, turn back the clock to the 80s and what we have now was called "Science Fiction"! Ridiculous!
Imagine the Petaminx!
and for a completely surreal experience, how about Oskar van Deventer's 17x17x17
But most of these amazing puzzles come with a skyhigh price tag. Eitan's Star costs $100, the Petaminx will set you back $239, and Oskar's 17x17x17? Around $1,600! This is not a cheap addiction!
So when you're on a budget and you need puzzle after puzzle after puzzle, for a ridiculously low price, where do you turn?
You turn to CubeTwist, of course.
CubeTwist haven't done much lately, but a while back, they put out the
3x3x3 Bandaged D.I.Y. Kit
This is a complete kit which will enable you to make precisely 3,563 3x3x3 bandaged puzzles, including the 6 which had already been mass-produced.
I'm sorry...transmission error...
That's right. This figure comes from the world's foremost authority on bandaged cubes, Andreas Nortmann. You can read all about it on this page.
So, three and half thousand puzzles? That must cost a lot more than an arm and a leg.
I hope you're sitting down. The cost of these puzzles is ...
That's right. Less than $18 for 3,563 puzzles.
Let's Take Stock...
OK. So, 3,563 puzzles for $17.82. By my calculations, that works out to around half a cent per puzzle. I challenge you to find any other brand new puzzle which costs half a cent.
And how many hours of enjoyment will this provide? Let's average each puzzle at around an hour. This is probably a conservative estimate as many of these puzzles would take quite a bit longer. Some may have you stumped until the stars fall from the sky.
An hour per puzzle...
That's 21 consecutive weeks with no sleep, no food and no toilet breaks.
You'd want to be fairly committed to the task.
What on Earth is a Bandaged Puzzle???
If you took out your favourite 3x3x3 cube and also took out a bandage from your medicine cabinet - that's right, an actual bandage - you would be able to "bind" two or more of the cubies together.
so that when one moved, the other moved also.
and if one of the bandaged pieces tried to move where the other ones didn't want to, then none of them would move.
This is all bandaging is, at its core (no pun intended).
Bandaged puzzles have been around for a while, and you can see some examples here:
Alright. So we've accepted that with the bandaged cube kit, you could probably keep yourself occupied for the rest of your life, or marriage...whichever ends first.
But how does it work?
The kit is a 3x3x3 cube, along with all the bits required to make any of the puzzles.
The cube itself is a black plastic cube with holes in it which enable the parts to be pinned in.
For the life of me, I still haven't worked out why some surfaces have only 4 holes, while others have 6. If you know, leave a comment and put my mind to rest.
And the pieces? They start with one 3x2 piece of each colour.
There is also one 2x2 piece of each colour. This makes sense since it's impossible to place two of them on one face.
There are two 3x1 pieces of each colour...
Four 2x1 pieces of each colour...
And nine 1x1 pieces of each colour.
In providing these pieces, CubeTwist made the call not to bandage an entire face. This was smart in my opinion as there's not a whole lot you can do with a face completely bandaged.
You simply click on and click off the lego-like tiles to make a cube. A comment below reminded me that I should say something about getting these pieces off.
The key with all of these pieces is to not press them down too firmly to begin with. If you do that, you can almost always guarantee to be able to slip a fingernail in and pry them off.
If, however, they're down too tight, then I've found the best thing by far is a pair of tweezers. Without fail, the piece will pop out. Give those a go!
With these pieces, you can make each of the six mass-produced 3x3x3 bandaged cubes.
The 2-bar 4 cube
The fuse cube
And the Bicube
I've tried all five, and in my opinion, the order of difficulty ranges, from easiest to hardest,
The bicube is currently impossible for me. Maybe one day I'll conquer it...
But what about others? Here are a few from the twisty puzzles forum thread on solving these things, all invented by the master-solver Burgo...
The Alcatraz series
Big block clock
Help! I'm Stuck!
Here's the best part of the whole thing. Go ahead and make whatever bandaged cube variant you like. If you can't solve it, just pull it apart! Easy.
This Kit Is Still Available???
Amazingly, this kit has not sold out, and is still available at its original price of $17.82 US.
Honestly, I'm staggered that it didn't sell out as it's such incredible value for money, and provides anyone with the ability to take baby steps in learning to solve bandaged cubes.
You can buy it from hknowstore. I can unreservedly recommend nowstore as a seller. Their prices are good, when the free shipping is factored in, and their followup customer service is outstanding. And no, I don't work for them!
What are waiting for? If you don't have this kit yet, make sure you get one before they sell out. It is, after all, the best value puzzle money can buy.
You can also click the picture below to buy it.
So, whadda ya think? Did I get it right? Is there a better value puzzle out there? Has this post made you want to buy the kit? Leave your feedback below...