Eternity is supposed to last for a very, very long time. In fact it is meant to be the infinite period that never ends. Yet despite this apparent longevity, not only do we have Eternity but Eternity II. I should make clear that this Eternity and the follow-up Eternity II are puzzle type games that have been developed by Christopher Monckton who was at one time (but not an eternity ago) an aide to Margaret Thatcher. Perhaps the complexity of this puzzle, with its interlinking patterns and colours, goes some way towards explaining the deviousness that seems to form part of the political scene and its various machinations.
Eternity II, which is being released in the UK by Tomy UK Ltd, involves correctly placing 256 tiles on a 16 x 16 size grid. Each tile, making up the set, features four coloured triangular patterned segments. The object of the puzzle is to place every tile on the grid so that it is aligned to each of its adjoining tiles. In a way this is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle but with regular shaped square tiles and patterns rather than the interconnecting pieces and a picture used by traditional jigsaw puzzles.
Packaged in a reasonably sturdy cardboard box, the Eternity II kit consists of the 256 thick cardboard tiles; a board which unfolds to show the 16 x 16 size grid on which to place the tiles; instruction leaflet; an insert with small compartments for storing tiles waiting to be used; and an entry form. The reason for the entry form is that, as with the original Eternity puzzle, Eternity II comes with the offer of a substantial prize to be awarded to the first person who managed to match the 480 pairs of edges needed to complete this puzzle.
In case you are wondering about any possible confusion between 256 tiles and 480 parts of edges, the maths involved is quite straightforward. The completed puzzle will consist of 16 row with 15 touch points (16 x 15 = 240) and 16 columns again with 15 touch points (16 x 15 = 240), thus 240 + 240 = 480. Tomy UK Ltd will pay US $2 million, or its equivalent at the prevailing exchange rate, to the first person, aged 18 or more, to complete this puzzle.
As well as the coloured decorations on the front, each tile is numbered in sequence on the back. These numbers will not help you solve the puzzle but they do become important when filling out the entry form for those who complete Eternity II. You place the relevant number found on each tile in the corresponding position on the entry form. Although I have yet to get anywhere near completing the puzzle, I have been informed that there are thousand of possible ways that Eternity II can be correctly solved.
Hopefully it will not take an eternity to solve Eternity II but the puzzle is complex enough to keep you occupied for many long sessions with patience and perseverance being the prime attributes to achieve the eventual solution. Eternity II has already been listed in Woolworth's top 10 Christmas offerings and is expected to be one of the biggest selling, if not the most frustrating, puzzle game over the coming months. The price for the full version of Eternity, as reviewed, is £34.99. There are also smaller versions of the product which have been priced at £19.99 for the 72 piece version and £9.99 for the 36 piece version. While these smaller versions might help with the full version, the prize is limited to the 256 piece product.
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