About six years ago, shortly after we moved to Vermont, my wife, my daughters and I happened to go to the annual rumage sale at the local fire department. There I picked up (for a dime) a copy of the game Rubik's Race. (Moreover, given that all of the 60 or so small pieces included in the game were still in the box when I got it, I can only read this as an indication of how much the original owner must have used the game.)
Having never before heard of the game (let alone having seen a copy) I wrote up a brief desciption of the game and forwarded it to the "CUBE-LOVERS" mailing-list. That message, in the archives of the list, is (or was) just about the only reference to Rubik's Race on the web. As a result every six months or so I'll get a message from someone looking for more information about (or, preferably, how to locate a copy of) the game.
So, in short, I thought it might be useful to throw together a short page about the game.
Included below are a description of the game and a simple Java Applet to allow you to play a "solitaire" version of Rubik's Race.
The game Rubik's Race (copyright Ideal Toy Coprporation, 1982) is (sort of) a combination of the Cube, Sam Lloyd's 15-puzzle and Battleship.
Each player has a collection of 24 tiles (the tiles are each about an inch square), comprising four of each of six colors: blue, green, red, orange, white and yellow.
These tiles are placed on a playing surface, which has room for a 5X5 grid of tiles (leaving an empty cell). The player can slide the pieces around, much in the style of Sam Lloyd's "fifteen-puzzle".
The goal for each player is to slide their tiles around, finally arranging the central 3X3 square of tiles (which sort of looks like the face of a Rubik's Cube) into a predetermined "goal" pattern. The final configuration of the outer "border" tiles doesn't matter.
Two players sit facing each other. Between them is the "game-base" holding each player's playing areas. Separating the playing areas is a hinged, vertical "window". When a player completes the target 3X3 pattern on their board, they drop the window onto their playing area (the window covers all but the center 3X3 grid) and declare themselves the winner.
To start the game one of the players shakes the "Scrambler". This is a small plastic box, the top and sides of which are transparent.
Inside the Scrambler are nine small dice-like cubes, each side of each die is colored with one of each of the six colors. When the player stops shaking the Scrambler, the dice fall into a 3X3 grid. This is the "target-pattern" which will be the players' goal.
Note: If the pattern is impossible (for example, if it shows more than four squares of a given color) the Scrambler is re-shaken.
This is a simple Java Applet that I put together to allow you to play a "solitaire" verision of Rubik's Race.