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ThinkFun 36 Cube

3.7 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

Price: $43.23 + $5.76 shipping
Only 1 left in stock.
Ships from and sold by jpixley.
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  • Only two simple rules
  • 6 levels of success
  • Brainteaser
  • Challenge your skills
  • For the whole family
4 new from $39.99 6 collectible from $24.71
$43.23 + $5.76 shipping Only 1 left in stock. Ships from and sold by jpixley.

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WARNING:
CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.

Product Description

Product Description

How many towers can YOU place? Your goal is to place the 36 colored towers onto the puzzle base following two simple rules: there must be one and only one of each colored tower in each row and column, and the towers must fit in the base to form a perfect cube shape with all towers at the same height. Keep trying, see how many towers you can place before YOU get stuck!

From the Manufacturer

How many towers can you place? ThinkFun challenges you to solve our 36 Cube. Start by removing the towers following two simple rules: there must be only one of each colored tower in every row and column, and the towers must fit into the base so each tower is at the same height. Sound simple? Think again. There a 6 levels of success, so keep trying it to improve upon your previous effort.

Product Information

Product Dimensions 6.7 x 4.9 x 6.7 inches
Item Weight 1.5 pounds
Shipping Weight 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Domestic Shipping This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
International Shipping This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
ASIN B001F7VI30
Item model number 6830
Manufacturer recommended age 8 years and up
Best Sellers Rank #249,106 in Toys & Games (See Top 100 in Toys & Games)
#2,160 in Toys & Games > Puzzles > Brain Teasers
Customer Reviews
3.7 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here

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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Douglas Chin on January 1, 2010
My 11 year old son got a 36 cube for his birthday and played with it for many hours. From that standpoint, it's a reasonable toy. I found it interesting to think about just how difficult a puzzle this is. There are 6 different colors and each color has 6 pieces of 6 different heights. At first thought, there could be a huge number of possibilities but there are also posts that the pieces have to sit on and they constrain the possible locations of the colored pieces. The next paragraph of this review contains something that many would consider a spoiler but I feel it needs to be said. If you plan to buy this puzzle for someone else and have no intention of trying to solve it yourself, you should read on. If you think a good puzzle is one that is easy to understand but a challenge to solve, like a rubic's cube, you might want to read on because you might not like this puzzle.

ThinkFun describes this puzzle as having an Aha moment when solving it. There are many types of Aha moments, like the moment you realize a new way to deduce a value in Sudoku, or, when you realize you have been betrayed by someone you trusted. I enjoy the first type but not the second. Unfortunately, I consider the Aha moment in this puzzle to be in the second category. With this hint, some may want to stop reading here and take the challenge this puzzle offers.

After wondering how many combinations there really are in this puzzle, I decided to write a computer program to explore its possibilities. My program determined that there were no solutions. I checked my logic carefully and there were no mistakes. This prompted me to do a quick web search and I found that the Aha moment in the solution is when you realize that this puzzle is not what it first appears to be.
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I purchased two of these puzzles for my classroom. My high school students love it! In fact, one of my juniors asked if he could take it home to work on it! It is highly engaging and promotes verbal communication - my students eagerly share their thinking and reasoning while trying to solve it (without any prompting from me!). So far, they have gotten all but two in place (on three separate occasions), so it is still "unsolved" after several weeks of attempts by at least eight individuals, six pairs, and five small groups of students! (Several students have made multiple attempts!) I plan to buy more to give as gifts for friends and relatives who like fun and challenging puzzles! It is well worth the investment!
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I purchased several of these as gifts and kept one for myself. After working on it for almost two hours and getting 34 of the 36 pegs placed correctly several times, something started to bug me about it. So I cracked out an old math book, and sure enough, the 36-Cube is an example of Euler's "36-officers" problem.

The catch is, the 36-officers problem has been proven to be insoluble.

This caused me to take a closer look at the physical construction of the puzzle, and, sure enough, there is a trick. It's the nature of that trick which caused my disappointment. This is presented as a logic puzzle, but it's not really a logic puzzle. The solution depends on the chance discovery of a physical anomaly in the way the puzzle pieces are built. There is absolutely no hint of this in the "two rules" given for the puzzle, and the "solution" is akin to finding out that you need to put a round peg in a square hole.

To me this is like someone handing you a crossword puzzle, and you can get /almost/ all the words except for one or two -- and then they tell you that even though all the clues are in English all the answers are supposed to be in French. There isn't any particluar reason why you would expect this, since English puzzles typically have English clues and French puzzles have French clues. Yes, you might accidentally stumble on the key, but it would pretty much have to be by accident, because the key has nothing to do with the typical rules and expectations involved in solving crossword puzzles.

Unfortunately, this is true of the 36 cube.
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It's an interesting puzzle, but I was very disappointed with it when I learned the solution. It's a cool idea, but was unnecessarily frustrating. All puzzles should of course have a frustration factor, but it's unreasonably so for this one. I won't spoil the solution, but cleverness, experience with puzzles, and brain power are not what the solution ultimately boils down to. It's a toy, not a puzzle, but it's still entertaining if you aren't looking for a serious "brain game".
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My oldest son is a Physicist and always solves the puzzles I get him in seconds. This one stumped him and it was funny to seem him so frustrated that he threw it at the wall across the room :-). He is still trying to solve it. Finally something which he didn't solve in seconds.
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There is definately a solution. 24 solutions if you count all the variations in color once you find the height solution.

Fun for all ages. Our 4 year old was intrigued for a while. And even our 2 year old liked to stack the pieces (although the pieces are small so he could choke if not supervised).

I recommend solving one color at a time.

Spoiler alert (see below):

There is a hint provided by the manufacturer (puzzle itself provides a clue). I won't reveal the solution only to completely ruin the "fun" for all!
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