The Ten-Yen Puzzle is a unique polynomino puzzle by the Multiple Products Corporation. The puzzle was copyrighted around 1950. The puzzle in my posession claims "Patent Pending No. A 4549-49-1".
The puzzle is a small array of plastic polyomino
shapes, reminicent of Tetris
pieces, in three colored sets - white, red, and black. In my puzzle, there are three each of the black and red pieces, and four white. Some versions of the puzzle differ in which set is which color, but all seem to have the same three colors. The pieces come arranged in a solution, in a clear clamshell case. The case has "TEN-YEN" in raised, gold pained letters, in an asian
. There is also a card with rules.
Each set of pieces, except for the white set contains one each of a three piece, four piece, and five piece shape. The white set contains a five piece shape, a four piece shape, a two piece shape, and a one piece shape. By "Piece shape, I mean that three, four or five of the one piece shapes (a square) would be used to make up the shapes. The player arranges the ten pieces into a square inside the case. There is another method of play in which the player places the ten pieces into a square, but tries to either seperate or link the pieces by their color. A player can seperate one, two, or all three colors, or join all three. Pieces are not considered touching if they touch diagonally. There is also a competitive method of play in which players take turns to solve the puzzle in a defined method. The player with the fastest time wins.
The game claims to have unlimited solutions, and 450 known solutions. Internet research has found the number of solutions to be approximately 18000. Ten-Yen is fairly rare, but does appear on eBay from time to time. A company called Kadon Enterprises, Inc. has made a new version of "Ten-Yen", and sells it at http://www.gamepuzzles.com/polycub3.htm.