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Great Minds Nelson's Barrel Puzzle Review

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This is a wooden barrel-shaped puzzle from Professor Puzzle that is named after Horatio Nelson an English Admiral from the 18th century, whose body after he died in battle at sea was stored in a wooden barrel full of brandy to help preserve it for the long journey in a ship to Gibraltar, that can be disassembled into 12 smaller separate pieces.


The separable pieces come in different shapes, for the most part, apart from a few that are identical and mirror each other but a lot of the pieces do share some similar properties in that a number of them are rectangular-shaped pieces with grooves cut into them where they fit together although the grooves are different sizes which are, however, a clue as to how they piece together. A lot of the individual pieces also have rounded edges and sides that form the overall barrel shape and this will help give you some clues as to how the pieces come together rather like when you put together a jigsaw and start with border pieces that have straight edges. There are two parts in particular that give you almost the skeleton or shape of the barrel and they are probably the two pieces you should start with and go from there. Another aspect of the barrel to note is the engraved rings at the bottom and top of the barrel of which there are 4 in total as this is another clue to help you piece the barrel together because small distinct or unique features are often big clues as to how to solve a puzzle. The first part of the challenge is relatively straightforward and that is to take the barrel apart and it is important while doing this to remember as much as you can how the pieces fit together and how they came apart unless you want to make the challenge more difficult and figure it out as you go along. Once disassembled the next challenge is the most challenging part which is to put it back together again and this can quite often be the most difficult part with a lot of assembly puzzles. To put it back together again and get it back to its original barrel form you have to remember the way and the order the parts of it fitted together. This will test whether or not you have fully understood the way in which the puzzle fitted together as you took it apart as well as how well you have remembered how you took it apart. Although the pieces only fit together one way they can be put back together in different orders so there is more than one way to get to the final solution so this can keep the challenge fresh when you do it again. The puzzle will fit in your hand and is not that heavy in weight when in barrel form but you will need a clear surface area when taking it apart due to all the smaller lighter in weight pieces it contains that you need to keep track of as they could easily get lost and would be a pain to replace if you could at all. The smaller pieces mean it is not suitable for smaller children and even though it has smaller delicate-looking pieces it is made from strong and reasonably tough wood meaning it should not break or snap easily although applying excessive force to the pieces is not recommended and not really necessary as the pieces should fit together and come apart without the need for excessive force so if you are applying excessive force then you are doing it wrong and should stop before you break it.

This wooden brain teaser should last a long time as long as reasonable care is taken of it meaning keep it dry and out of harm's way such as don't leave it on the floor where a dog could chew it or somebody could stand on the pieces.

The puzzle as a whole and the individual pieces are easy to grab a hold of even when it is in barrel form there are grooves and flat edges to get a grip of so it won't slip out of your hands when playing with it although you should do this over a table just in case it does as you don't want it to slip out of your hands and the pieces scatter everywhere. The pieces fit together and interconnect in a compact and tight way so when all put together they will stay in place unless, of course, you move them but they are not so tightly locked together that they will become stuck and sliding the pieces apart also works smoothly with little friction or big risk of them becoming jammed. The puzzle would look great on a shelf or as a desk ornament as it has a classic wooden design that is not so big as to take up a lot of room so could easily be stored away as well but being displayed would make it immediately at your disposal if you want to have a go with it because you are bored or have some spare time.


The puzzle is small and light enough in weight to carry with you to whatever destination you may be going be it in your pocket or in a rucksack without it weighing you down or taking up too much room but you will need a fixed location to play with it and a place to lie it down so you can keep an eye on all the separable pieces. The puzzle does have some replayability because once you have solved it you can try to disassemble and reassemble it in the quickest time possible by avoiding putting the wrong pieces together so, therefore, do the whole puzzle with no false moves so you can say that you have fully mastered it which should take some time to achieve as there a lot of parts to it and therefore moves to perform and memorise but practise makes perfect. The puzzle is a quite complex sort of jigsaw puzzle and takes quite a long time to solve the first time around as there are a number of wrong moves you can make because there are a lot of pieces to it so the difficulty rating of 3 out of 5 that it has been attributed seems fair which means it is of a moderate level. I would say this is mostly a memory test and a trial and error puzzle and maybe this is not one for beginners looking for a brain teaser puzzle to start with although I would say there are a few obvious clues that should help you put it together so it may be worth a try even if you are just a beginner. In conclusion, this puzzle has a simple and classic appearance that seems very solvable at first glance but looks can be deceiving and this is a quite difficult challenge to solve which should keep a lot of puzzle connoisseurs occupied for at least a little while. It will test memory and logical thinking skills and is also suitable for those who don't regularly play with brain teaser puzzles as it is just a simple to play with and fun puzzle comparable in a way to a 3D jigsaw puzzle almost.

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