Sunday, August 12, 2012

UnHinged Puzzle

Today I have a treat for you.  The puzzle is called UnHinged and is manufactured by Thinkfun.  The puzzle consists of 10 hexagons connected by hinges.  You also get and instruction booklet with 40 challenges from beginner to expert.  The objective is to look at the illustration and twist and turn the hexagons until it matches the picture.  The beginner challenges are fairly easy but expert may have you puzzling for a while.

I love the fact that this puzzle isn’t a one trick pony.  The 40 challenges are a welcome change in my puzzle collection.  When I first received this puzzle, I was concerned about the hinges themselves.  The hinges are made of plastic and we all know that plastic will break rather easily if bent.  I’m happy to say that none of the hinges have snapped.  Although, I would say that if you muscle the hinges in the wrong direction then I’m pretty sure they will snap.  I was a little rough with my puzzle but as long as you don’t turn the puzzle in a way it shouldn’t go then I think you will be fine.

The inventor of the puzzle is a guy name Steve Moore and he works for an interesting company in the U.K. called fuse.  I guess they are all about making innovative toys and puzzles.  Someone must have liked this puzzle because it won the 2012 New York Toy Fair best puzzle award.  I’m not on any judging panel but I will say that it appears that UnHinged has been influenced by some puzzles that I really like.  For example, it has elements of Tangram in the sense that you have to look at an illustration and then make your puzzle look like the picture.  I also think the inventor may have been inspired from the works of Greg N. Frederickson.  Particular his book called Piano-hinged Dissections: Time to Fold.  In that book, Frederickson demonstrated how to change the shape of polygons into other shapes through the use of hinges.  Another possible inspiration for the puzzle is works from the great mathematician and puzzle designer by the name of Henry Ernest Dudeney

Overall, I love this puzzle because it is quite portable, it has a high replay value, and you can make your own creations.  You can create your own shapes and then make your own illustrations through using your favorite drawing program on your computer or drawing them out on a piece of paper.  Then you can revisit your own illustrations and see if you’ve made something truly diabolical.  I would also suggest putting the puzzle and booklet in a ziploc plastic bag to reduce the chance of losing the booklet.  I received this free review copy directly from Thinkfun.  If you want to see a video demo of the puzzle click here.

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