This puzzle is in the shape of a regular dodecahedron, a twelve sided solid with each face a regular pentagon. The puzzle was known as the "Megaminx" or magic dodecahedron. It was distributed by the Japanese firm TOMY in 1982, for the puzzle maker Uwe Meffert.
Each pentagonal face of the Megaminx is divided into eleven pieces: a pentagon at the center, five rhombuses at the corners, and five trapezoids in the center of the edges. The faces are colored using two shades of blue, two shades of orange, two shades of green, two shades of purple and one shade of pink, yellow, brown, and white. The twisting mechanism for this puzzle differs from that of the Rubik’s Cube.
This puzzle was originally called a Pyraminx Dodecahedron. The Pyraminx is a variant on the Rubik’s Cube that was invented by Uwe Meffert and is shaped as a regular tetrahedron, a pyramid with four faces that are all equilateral triangles. Some of Meffert’s twisting puzzles are discussed in a 1982 article in Scientific American.
For more information about the Rubik’s Cube and other twisting puzzles that use the same or similar mechanisms see 1987.0805.01.
Douglas R. Hofstadter, “METAMAGICAL THEMAS: Beyond Rubik’s Cube: spheres, pyramids, dodecahedrons and God knows what else,” Scientific American, vol. 247, #1, July, 1982, pp. 16-31.
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