Developed by Steve Brazier and produced by HexCel Designs, Arokah is described on the box as “the ultimate multi-puzzle challenge”. The box also quotes a Cambridge maths professor who refers to it as “A new mathematical phenomenon!” These are grandiose claims. Is it pure hype or does this solitaire puzzler stack up?
Arokah certainly looks striking. It comes as a wooden hexagon with 13cm sides. Within the large hexagon are five irregular pentagonal indentations surrounding a small hexagonal indentation in the centre. And filling these indentations are 23 wooden pieces each with runic symbols on them. We can ignore the runes. These are purely decorative. The only purpose they serve is to indicate which side up the pieces have to be when used. The 23 pieces are all either triangles or shapes that are made by combining triangles. Although they fit neatly in the indentations in the hexagonal base, it’s a puzzle in itself to fit them back in once you tip them out (happily there is a little illustration showing how they fit!)
That’s not the game, however. The challenge takes the form of a series of templates with shapes that the player is challenged to make using some or all of the 23 Arokah pieces. This makes play very similar to Pentominoes but with the challenge of using triangle-based shapes. It looks easy but, as with Pentominoes, looks can be deceptive. And a notable feature of Arokah is that the designer has given levels to each of the challenges so a player can start with a relatively easy puzzle and work through puzzles of increasing difficulty before tackling the three “master challenges” supplied.
If you like solving geometric puzzles, then Arokah will be right up your street. Unlike many other geometry puzzlers, Arokah also scores high on aesthetics. Its size and all-wood construction makes for a physically appealing game that, at a pinch, could pass as a piece of art. Certainly it’s a game to be displayed: the games and puzzles equivalent of a coffee table book. Leave this on your coffee table and you’ll be sending out an automatic invitation to visitors to have a go – just don’t lose the illustration that shows how to put it all back together again!