Thursday 24 January 2013

Rubenking Ghost Cube

Time for my first "twisty puzzle" review. (Finally got this finished after getting distracted with more new puzzles arriving!!!!)

Technically, the Rubik's Cube is what first got me into puzzling. My parents were clearing out one day and came across an original "Toy of the Year 1980" Rubik's Cube still in its plastic cylindrical box. Of course, being me, I snapped this up and started playing with it. This must have been about six years ago now, when I'd just left Secondary School and was starting  Sixth Form (11th grade to you American folk).

Rubenking Ghost Cube
During Sixth Form I obviously had a lot of free periods, so I spent these playing with the Rubik's Cube. I did get a job at my local supermarket during that time, so wasn't just puzzling in my spare time. Eventually I worked out how to solve it all on my own, but I wanted to get faster. So a quick search on the internet and I came across some "speedcubing" algorithms, which I printed off and began learning. To this day, I've learnt about half of these algorithms which allow me to solve a normal Rubik's Cube in a little over a minute.

It wasn't till a couple of years later I got myself a Master Cube (4x4x4) and a Professor Cube (5x5x5) and began working on those also. After that my puzzling addiction properly began with the discovery of the Revomaze series (which I will get round to reviewing soon!!).

Anyways, back to the present day. I hadn't bought a "twisty puzzle" in quite a while and was pointed to a guy (Hungab) on the Twisty Puzzles forum making modded Rubik's Cubes. Modded cubes are unique in the fact that they were once normal Rubik's Cubes, Master Cubes, Professor Cubes (or any other twisty puzzles for that matter) that have been disassembled and the pieces reshaped so that the overall shape of the puzzle is drastically changed.

Another side!!
The one in particular that I was interested in was the Ghost Cube (designed by Adam G. Cowan). The only other Ghost Cubes I had found was on Shapeways for 230 Euros. So a modded one for $80 was an obvious alternative, which I quickly snapped up.

So here it is!!! Made, lovingly by a guy in Vietnam, this one is as good as any other production made Rubik's Cube on the market, but a lot meaner!!! Also, as it is made from a Rubik's Cube, there is also no size difference between the two.

Most Ghost Cubes come with just a single colour stickerset (on the Ghost Cube it's mainly solid black), meaning you have to solve the cube using the sizes and shapes of the pieces entirely, similar to a Rubik's Mirror Blocks (which I love!!!). Mine, however, has a Rubenking stickerset, which is designed by Neil J. Rubenking. Instead of one face being a single colour, like on a normal Rubik's Cube, one face has two colours divided diagonally. It has no functional value to solving a normal Rubik's cube, though I did find helpful in some situations when solving this Ghost Cube.

Ghost Cube scrambled (slightly!!)
So, onto the solving!! It was delivered yesterday, just before lunch (while I was writing my Wil's Cylinders review!!), so as you can imagine, I got a bit distracted from writing for quite a while. I spent most of the afternoon, after pausing briefly for some lunch, playing with it and working out how to solve it. I finally managed to completely solve it again by about 4:00pm.

So it took me a good while. This is because I knew the Ghost was made from a normal Rubik's Cube, therefore I had to work out how it was "orientated", because as you can see, it doesn't have a single "shape" in the middle of a face and a standard amount of "shapes" on each side. Also, when the Ghost is in its completed cube shape, you can't rotate each face normally like you would on a standard Rubik's Cube.

I'm going to pause here because after this I will be revealing how the puzzle is orientated and works, so if you plan on purchasing one and would like to work out how it works on your own, then skip the next few paragraphs to the next break.


Throwing down some shapes!!!
First, I worked out that two of the centre pieces of the "faces", opposite each other, are actually the corners of the Ghost.  Both these corners you will be able to rotate, therefore rotating the entire "face". From this you can work out that one edge of the Ghost, plus three trapezoid shapes, make up the centres of each edge on this one "face" and therefore the corners of this "face" are obviously the shapes in between these "edge" pieces. Two of which will be opposite Ghost corners of an adjacent face and the other two will be triangles. These "faces", with the corner centre pieces, make the Up face and Down face on a normal Rubik's Cube. The Front and Back  "faces", however, aren't automatically at the front and at the back. On the Ghost, the centres of these "faces" are off at an angle (anywhere between 30 and 60 degrees). So, to make the Ghost Cube into a Rubik's Cube, (so all the the faces can be rotated normally), you must first rotate the middle layer (between the two "faces" with the Ghost corner centres) and line up the slices, hereby making a virtual Rubik's Cube.

So to solve it, you must look past the non-cube shape and solve it imagining it's a normal cube, which can be difficult at first. You also can't solve it in the way you would "speedcube" a normal Rubik's Cube. You must solve each layer entirely separate from the other layers (working between the two "faces" with the Ghost corner centres).

From here on you can solve it just as you would a normal Rubik's Cube (via the beginner Fridrich method) layer by layer, however, with one small alteration. Because all the pieces are different shapes they all need to be rotated correctly. This is fine with the edge pieces and the corner pieces but the centre pieces also have to be correctly oriented. Obviously with the top and bottom "faces" the centre is a corner and because you make the cross first, the centre will already be oriented correctly. The middle layer, however, is where this problem occurs.Therefore, before you can solve the middle layer, you need to make sure all the centre pieces are correctly oriented. With mine being the Rubenking stickerset, it's slightly easier to notice which are the right way round by matching up the colours and knowing where the centres end up when the cube is finished. Luckily there is a pretty simple way to orient the centres correctly, once you work out which are wrong, by moving everything already solved (which at this point is only the top "face") out of the way and just turning the face till the centre is correctly oriented, then of course putting everything back.

Once all the layers are solved, the top and bottom faces must simply be rotated so they line up and create the finished cube.


Transformer Cube =D
So, after working out how the Ghost Cube is different to a normal Rubik's Cube, I can easily solve it using the basic Fridrich method for solving a Rubik's Cube, although because of the difficulty between the two, it takes me considerably longer to solve this one!! However, I haven't had much time recently to experiment with the Ghost and work out which "speedcubing" methods will work on the Ghost and which won't (though I already know some which won't work!!), plus I don't know if this can actually be speed solved!!

The only other thing I can really say about the Ghost Cube is that, if you don't already know how to solve a Rubik's Cube proficiently, it's going to take a lot trial and error, and probably frustration, to get this looking like a cube again.

I thoroughly enjoyed solving this first time and once I have some time free, I'll work out how to solve it quicker.

That's all for now!!!!

UPDATE: Maybe a week or two after I received my Ghost Cube, the guy who made it in Vietnam messaged me on the Twisty Puzzles forum and said he'll be making a Master Ghost Cube and asked if I would like one!!!! (I previously stated a Master Cube is a 4x4x4 Rubik's Cube). Obviously I'm quite excited about this one too and I'll no doubt write a review on that, when it arrives and when I can actually solve it!!!! So stay tuned :D

DOUBLE UPDATE: ..... and I'm now getting a Ghost Cube 2x2 as well haha!!! Had to leave the offer of a Professor as well, for now!!


  1. I love my master ghost cube - white cube with black stickers. It is a SERIOUSLY difficult puzzle to solve. The 3x3 is really really easy in comparison! Good luck when you get it. It took me weeks to solve it - and I can do a standard 4x4 in just 2 minutes!


    1. Hi, from where did you buy your ghost cube and how much? Thank's a lot. Marcelo.

  2. Yeah doesn't take me long on a standard Master either. Can't wait to get my Master Ghost!! The guy who's making it just messaged me again offering me a Professor Ghost and a 2x2 Ghost as well. Only gunna take the 2x2 for the moment, seriously spending too much this pay check!!!


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