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Svetnashki puzzle

The Svetnashki puzzle is designed by Oleg Kasyanov.
Contrary to other puzzles, a crucial component of this puzzle is polarised light.


The composition of this puzzle is pretty easy:
The background consists of a 2 x 2 grid, whereby neighbour grid cells have different polarisation directions.
Analogously each of the 15 tiles have a polarisation filter.
If a tile moves from one grid cell to the next,
then the colour changes from transparent to opaque or vice versa.


Another feature of the puzzle is that the movements of the tiles are restricted
which is due to a transparent acryl disc on the front.
Therefore only the following movements are possible:
The tiles which are situated along the edges can be slided along the edges.
As the tiles on the inner rows and columns cannot be touched,
they can only be shifted about one position by gravity.
Shifts in the real challenge (see below) have the feature
that no tile may be hold on and thus all tiles in one column get shifted downwards.
That is why no gap can be created in the center.

The task is to order the tiles in such a way that either all tiles look opaque or transparent.
It is of course also possible to create any other pattern.
The imagination is unlimited.


Warm up challenge:

If you hold a tile, then you can also create a gap in the center.
Then, the puzzle is like an ordinary 4 x 4 sliding puzzle.
Thus, it is very easy and can be solved in less than 5 minutes.
To solve it, it is sufficient to bring one row after the other into the right order
beginning from the top.


Real Challenge:

If you play the puzzle this way, then no tile may be hold on
and thus all tiles in one column get shifted downwards.
That is why no gap can be created in the center.
The puzzle is similar to Row and Column Shifting puzzles.
In my opinion the Svetnashki puzzle is more like a 2D Twistypuzzle than a sliding puzzle.
The level of difficulty is much higher than in the warm up challenge.
My approach to a solution is to order the first two rows correctly.
Subsequently, in most cases only two tiles need to be changed.
So I try to order the third and fourth row correctly by involving the two outer tiles
from the second row and making a kind of circle movement with the tiles from the third row.

The number of combinations (<8192) is contrary to other twisty puzzles not very high.
If you try about 100 different combinations per minute,
then the puzzle can be solved with the try and error method in a short period of time.


The Svetnashki puzzle is available in different sizes and different variations.
For a puzzle collector I would recommend the Svetnashki 4x4 classic version.
It is an eye catcher due to its aesthetical composition.
The 4 x 6 and 6 x 6 should be more difficult to solve, than the Svetnashki 4x4,
as there are more tiles in the center. Therefore, I would recommend them to a twisty fan.
Both puzzles should be similar to Crossover (Nintendo).

The design of the Svetnashki puzzle is excellent, especially the light effects.
It remembers me of a caleidoscope. I enjoy turning the puzzle
and looking at the different patterns which get created.
It does not only look exquisitely, the puzzle design itself has another advantage.
Who does not wish by looking at his jumbled Rubik's Cube that it would be in order?
In case of this puzzle, this can be achieved pretty easy by the warm up challenge.
In my point of view, the idea of the puzzle mechanism has also been a success.
The Svetnashki puzzle is a good combination of sliding puzzles, where only one tile is slided
and 2D twisty puzzles, where several tiles are simultanously shifted.

The Svetnashki puzzle is well suited for any age.
Small children may delighted about the tiles changing their colours like in a caleidoscope.
Grown-ups might more enjoy the challenge, which is not too difficult.


You can buy the Svetnashki puzzle on the official website.