Scott’s Toy Box: Puzzle Games
My favorite kinds of solo games are puzzle games. Playing a puzzle game allows you to use your brain while enjoying yourself. Sometimes it can be frustrating when it seems like you can’t solve the puzzle, but it feels wonderful when you have figured out the solution. Here are some puzzles I’ve found recently.
Lonpos or Kanoodle
The first game can be found under the name of Lonpos or Kanoodle. The pieces are brightly colored balls that you connect to make into different shapes and are stored in a black case that also serves as the puzzle board. It comes with books that help you set up each puzzle. The books show you where to place some of the pieces, and then your job is to place the rest of the pieces into the 11x5 rectangle. The puzzles range from missing one piece (very helpful when you get stuck on a puzzle and want to put the game up) to starting with a blank slate. You can turn the case upside down and use the same pieces to create a pyramid (which are also included in the books.) This is a great puzzle that you can take anywhere to play. It costs $12 at Amazon.com.
Next is the 36 Cube. 36 Cube is marketed as the hardest puzzle in the world, and I have to agree. 36 Cube is somewhat like a 3D Sudoku puzzle. There is a gray base with different-sized columns attached to it and then columns of different colors and sizes that fit on top of the base. You have to place the colored columns on the base without the colors repeating in a vertical or horizontal row. They also have to be placed where they are level. This puzzle is hard. I couldn’t solve it without a little help. Even after I found a picture of the solution and placed the first three rows correctly, I still had a little bit of trouble filling in the last three rows. If you really want a challenging puzzle, this is for you, but if a challenging puzzle would drive you crazy, you may want to stay away. The one drawback of this puzzle is that once it’s solved, there is nothing left to it except a cool-looking art piece. It costs $18 at Thinkgeek.com.
Finally, we come to Perplexus. Perplexus is a clear sphere that has a silver ball and a maze inside of it. The object is to get the ball from thestart position to the end of the maze. The maze is divided into three sections with a start position for each. So if you get through the first part and mess up in the second, you don’t have to go all the way back to the beginning. This also allows you to practice each part so you can prepare to go through the whole maze smoothly. The direction of the maze can be confusing, but it is numbered from 1 to 100, so you can easily see where to go. Although the game is more bulky than the ones above, it doesn’t have multiple pieces that can be lost. It costs $25 at Thinkgeek.com.