A player must first select a code from the code book. A code can contain just letters, letters and a number, or letters and a + and/or – symbol(s). While starting off, we recommend you attempt puzzles that use either letters only or letters and a number. In a code, each letter corresponds to a different piece from the set. Each piece will be either red, blue, yellow or beige, and will have its letter embossed in it. The exceptions to this are the “1” and “2” pieces, since they do not have anything embossed in them. The “1” piece is beige with 1 unit cube and the “2” piece is beige with 2 unit cubes. The number of unit cubes a piece has refers to the number of 1x1x1 cubes that make up the piece (For instance, the “A” piece has 5-unit cubes, while the “T” piece has 4 unit cubes).
Looking at the code book, you’ll notice that the first page says “CODES FOR ZOBRIST CUBE”. This is the first section of the book, which contains puzzles of the type “Easy Set I” (type “Classic” in the old book). The book contains seven different sections, each with different types of puzzles with varying difficulty scales (See below). Along the side margins of each page you may also notice that there are numbers listed in increasing order for each section. These numbers are indicative of the level of difficulty for the puzzles to their right. Larger numbers represent easier puzzles while lower numbers represent harder puzzles. Note that this scale is relative to the section that you are picking the puzzle from, and thus a puzzle of difficulty level 1400 from the 4x4x4 section of the book is harder than a puzzle of difficulty level 200 from the EASY SET I section (Solving 4x4x4 cubes is really tough). Now then, let’s try solving one! To start solving a puzzle, simply select a code from the book, collect the pieces for that specific code, and begin!
Remember: do not attempt to assemble pieces that are not referenced by a code, as there will be no solution! There are over twenty thousand puzzles (with millions of solutions) delivered with the game box, with even more puzzles here on the website. The player who wants to achieve a high degree of skill will seek speed of solution on the more difficult cases. Whether this can be accomplished by memory or algorithm or both has yet to be determined.
Playing with others
An important aspect of the Zobrist Cube is it’s potential as a two player game. While you can use the Zobrist Cube as a single-player puzzle for amusement or testing your own ability, the presence of extra pieces allows two players to challenge each other to see who can solve their puzzle the quickest. The difficulty levels on the left margin of the code book allow players of different levels to handicap one another for an even match. And with such a long list of different puzzles, each match is unique and exciting!
The possibility for a third person to play exists, but they will become very limited in the number of puzzles they’ll be able to attempt since many puzzles may require pieces that the first two players will already be using. For three, or even four, players to be able to play without any difficulty in finding viable puzzles with the pieces they have, a second Zobrist Cube set will be needed.
7 Types Of Puzzles
The vast array of different puzzles that the Zobrist Cube offers can be split into seven different types of puzzles based on the polycubes involved. They are described here in order from easy (as a category) to hard (as a category):
EASY SET I & EASY SET II
These two formats are designed for children, as well as anyone who is new to the game. Of course we all know that when the children get through with practicing on these, they will be beating the pants off of their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. These formats are also 3x3x3 cubes and have the following composition:
1. One 5-polycube, five 4-polycubes, and one 2-polycube
2. Two 5-polycubes, four 4-polycubes, and one 1-polycube
The puzzles in EASY SET I can be made easier by substituting two 1-polycubes for the 2-polycube. More games for children are also possible by substituting in smaller pieces for larger pieces, making sure that the code for the larger pieces is in the code book.
CLASSIC & CLASSIC II
The standard puzzle format, which can be referred to as CLASSIC, is a 3x3x3 cube formed by three 5-polycubes and three 4-polycubes. Three times five is fifteen and three times four is twelve, resulting in a sum of 27 1x1x1 cubes, the perfect amount for constructing a 3x3x3 cube. The selection of three out of fifteen five-polycubes gives 2,736 possibilities and the selection of three out of 6 four-polycubes gives 20 possibilities. So the grand total of possibilities is 54,720. The code book lists far fewer possibilities because so many of the combinations have no solution. One of the major reasons is that the six pieces must touch the 8 corners of the cube and only a few pieces are capable of touching two corners. The code combination must have two or more of the pieces that can touch two corners, and even with that, may still be unsolvable. The second puzzle format, which comes next in the code book and can be referred to as CLASSIC II, is a 3x3x3 cube formed by four 5-polycubes, one 4-polycube, and one 3-polycube. Would this combination of pieces be easier or harder than the basic puzzle? Four of the big pieces would seem to be daunting, but the little piece should make finishing each puzzle a piece of cake.
Each MAX5 puzzle is also a 3x3x3 cube, however it uses five of the 5-polycube pieces, with the remaining two spaces being filled by the 2-polycube beige piece. This is the hardest of the 3x3x3 cube types due to almost all of the pieces being colored rather than beige. Since the colored pieces are comprised of more unit cubes than the beige pieces, the orientation of each piece becomes very tricky.
3x3x4 & 4x4x4
For advanced players seeking a difficult challenge, the code book contains these two larger formats. The 3x3x4 format using four 5-polycubes and four 4-polycubes can be more difficult if a code with few solutions is selected. But there are options with thousands of solutions that might actually be easy. From the perspective of the two person game, having the 3x3x4 format gives an almost inexhaustible supply of codes and more variety of challenges for the players. The full set of codes for the 3x3x4 format is too long for the code book, and thus has been completed in the Additional Codes section. The 4x4x4 format uses 12 of the big pieces and one little piece, generating some incredibly hard puzzles for the person who wants to work many hours on a puzzle. It remains to be seen whether any of these are suitable for a game. Note that all combinations are solvable.