Twelve Piece Burr Ball


Today I review the 03rd (out of 4) IPP competition puzzle which George Miller sent me as a gift. George, being this time both – designer and producer – entered the competition in 2011 with this puzzle called “TWELVE PIECE BURR BALL”. He renamed it “ALPHABET BALL” when used as an IPP exchange puzzle at IPP 2013 in Narita / Japan. You can also see a hint from George on the package “if you know the alphabet you know the solution”.

The puzzle came disassembled and I just knew from an old photo of a puzzle block how it should look like. However, I quickly had a plan to follow which was more complex than necessary as I found out a few minutes later. After using the simpler solution that I tried I could solve this beautiful mechanical puzzles in about 45 minutes time. The hardest part for me was the start because after putting 2 to 3 or 4 parts together the “construction” is not easy to hold and progress at the same time. In addition I unfortunately broke one of the 12 part during assembly process due to using too much force (the material is quite a bit flexible but I guess I am just eating too much and have therefore some power reserves). It was nevertheless possible to build the “ALPHABET BALL” and put the small broken piece into the construction so that it cannot be seen (I already asked George for a spare part but if anyone has the ability to produce such a part from this material please let me know). From a difficulty point of view I rate it a 6 out of 10. If you cannot work with the given clue you will have a VERY hard time to put it back together but proceeding on the assumption that everyone will theoretically know what to do after a little while it is just about average difficulty.

Finally, this puzzle is similar to UTOPIA for me --> it is just great and I can really, really recommend to buy one if you see it at a puzzle party or in the worldwide web; it is sooooooo much fun to solve (the disassembly is rather easy because you already know what to do). Till now one of my absolute favourites and that is why I hope for a spare part. Unfortunately you cannot buy it in a shop anymore and therefore you need to be at the right spot and time.