It’s the puzzle version of a wolf in sheep’s clothing – or moreover, an innocent-looking puzzle with a challenging solvability factor. Simply snap 36 boldly-colored plastic tower pieces, six each of six colors, into a square base with 36 welcoming receptacles. Make sure the finished puzzle forms a perfect cube, each color appearing only once in each row and column, all the same height. You’ve just solved 36 CUBE, the latest mind bender from ThinkFun, Inc.
Not so fast, say the likes of world class puzzle solvers like Nick Baxter, Captain of the U.S. Sudoku Team. “Its friendly look fools you into thinking it’s easy, but 36 CUBE takes perseverance and practical smarts to solve,” says Baxter. “Its solution lies in an ‘a-ha’ moment, an insight equally discoverable by almost anyone willing to spend time with it, be it kids or champion puzzle solvers.”
We knew we had something special during product testing, watching people work out the solution,” said Bill Ritchie. “We saw how reason alone can’t solve this puzzle. There is a counterintuitive element that, once realized, leads to an unexpected, and trust me, incredibly satisfying finale.”
36 CUBE is the brainchild of Dr. Derrick Niederman, an MIT Ph.D. who develops puzzles for fun. He came up with the idea while writing a book on whole numbers, after unearthing a mathematical supposition from the 18th century. “It struck me as the basis for a potentially great 3-D puzzle, and what eventually became 36 CUBE,” says Dr. Niederman.
Dr. Niederman says there is something magical about the number six. “When cubed, it creates quadrillions of possibilities,” he explains. “It is what makes something so seemingly simple in appearance really so stunningly complex.”
Jerry Slocum, a puzzle historian and one of the world’s top puzzle collectors, finds 36 CUBE one of the most engaging puzzles in his extensive collection. “My first impression was that it was quite a beautiful puzzle. Its three-dimensional character and colors are very striking. Out of the 30,000 puzzles I own, it’s quite distinctive and unique. When I host puzzle exhibitions, I always put puzzles out for children to try. This is one I think they’d love to get their hands on.”
36 CUBE is available for the suggested retail price of $24.99 now at Barnes & Noble, Calendar Club, specialty toy stores and www.ThinkFun.com. An online trial version is available at www.ThinkFun.com/36cube/.
About ThinkFun, Inc.
Now celebrating its 30th year, ThinkFun is the world’s leader in creating addictively fun games that ignite 21st century thinking skills and give children an early advantage. Its broad range of games, brainteasers and puzzles are breaking new ground in homes and on the web. ThinkFun stimulates crucial brain development in logic, visual/spatial, math, language, focus and reasoning, preparing kids for a world where math, engineering, coding and creativity are of increasing importance. Visit us at www.thinkfun.com.