Wednesday 6 February 2013

Wil's First Box

This is another review of one of Wil Strijbos' sequential discovery puzzles, like the Lotus Puzzle that I reviewed not so long ago.

It is called the First Box, which obviously means it's the first box puzzle Wil designed: 
"I designed this puzzle around 1984 and it was my first puzzle box. At that time I produced only six of them (for Jerry Slocum, Nob Yoshigahara, Dick Hess, Edward Hordern and James Dalgety). Now I have reproduced this design in an improved metal version (previously it had been made of Formica or a similar material)." - Wil
Wil's First Box
This redesign is made completely out of Aluminium and is anodised in Wil's trademark blue with his signature in one corner. The box itself is quite weighty (in fact it weighs about 745g!!), which kindly suggests there isn't a lot of space inside. Shaking it, you can hear a few things rattling but it's difficult to tell exactly how many. There is a rounded nut on the top, one hole in the left side and a hole in the bottom. Because of this, one of my mates expertly resembled it to a "Fat Tardis"!! Through the hole in the bottom you can see a smiley face (sad face actually!!) that you've helpfully been told that you have to remove. Other than that, there is nothing else to this puzzle ....  EASY, right!?!

As is with all of Wil's puzzles, no magnets, no banging, no external tools (or power tools!!) and no force in any way, is needed to open this box!!

The only concern he had with the first version of the first box (first first box!?!) was that it came with a separate tool. Since the redesign, he's found a nice little solution to overcome that.

Sad smiley in the Hole at the bottom
So the journey to opening this box based on sequential discovery, you have to make a certain move or complete a certain step, before you can move onto the next step. However, most of the steps are completed inside the box, which you obviously can't see. Therefore, as with the Washer Cylinder, there is relatively no feedback given by the puzzle to suggest you are progressing. The only feedback is the rattling from the pieces inside.

The obvious first step is to try the lid, nope nothing. Next is the nut on the top, again nothing. It's not until (in my case!!) quite a while after, fiddling and puzzling, you eventually come across the aforementioned tool. 

Using the tool, you progress on the journey with more rattling pieces, uncovering some pins that appear across the holes, every once in a while, and if you're lucky the lid may become looser.

However, without properly understanding the internal gubbins, the solution could remain hidden for a long time. It averted me for about a month and a half!!!! Until finally, one day, after thinking about it long and hard, it came to me and lo and behold, it was open!!

First Box completed with smiley removed
(now happy smiley!!)
And what a fool I did feel, for having not thought of it earlier!!! Albeit a quite heavy and large box, the internal mechanism is actually pretty simple, which is why I like it so much. Until you actually think about what you can hear and (occasionally!) what you can see, then you can be stuck going in circles, like I was.

I must admit, I did ask for help at one point from a fellow puzzler/blogger Allard, but because of the simplicity of the mechanism, he told me he couldn't really help without giving the solution away. He wasn't completely useless though. He did tell me to work out what I could do already with the puzzle, then eliminate alternatives, and basically try harder!!! But it worked haha!!

Anywho, Wil's First Box is definitely a great puzzle and is up there with my other favourites of his, the Washer Cylinder, the Lotus Puzzle and (just recently, after forgetting how good it is!!) the Aluminium Cross, which I'll get round to reviewing eventually.

Although it's a bit expensive (at 160 Euros, approximately £140), it is definitely worth the money. It will keep you puzzling for a while and because it's made out of solid Aluminium, I have no worries lending it out to people at parties, except that they drop it and break their foot!!!

That's all for now!!

PS: Once again, the only way to obtain most of Wil's puzzles is directly from him. So, if you're intrigued and want to know more, or wish to get in contact with Wil to be put on his mailing list, send me an email on my blogger profile and I'll be happy to send you his email address and/or answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, Google is your all knowing best friend!!!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome - I'm not completely useless!! Must tell the wife that! Cheers Jamie! :-)


    PS Nice post!


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