River Crossing (The Perilous Plank Puzzle)

Plank-puzzles are available as a hands-on mechanical puzzle called River Crossing, produced by ThinkFun in the USA and distributed around the world. All four editions released so far are introduced below.

River Crossing (original edition) - released 2002
40 staged puzzles (beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert) on a 5x5 grid. The puzzles utilise up to five planks (two small planks, two medium planks and one large plank). Age range 8 to adult, with the second half of the puzzle set amply difficult to tax most grown-ups.

River Crossing 2: North Woods Adventure - released 2003
This is an expansion set, so you must have the original to start with. There is a brand new set of 40 puzzles across an extended range of difficulty levels (including grand-master level). The puzzles are still based on the same grid, but in many cases exploit the holes previously reserved for the river-banks yielding effectively a 7x5 grid. There is a selection of standard (solo) hiker challenges, followed by a range of new dog-rescue and dog-and-hiker crossing challenges (including some of my own personal all-time favourite puzzles). The age range is again 8 to adult, but even I regularly forget how to solve the grand-master challenges, so grown-ups beware.

River Crossing Junior - released 2004
A completely new set of 40 puzzles aimed at the younger age group (5-12). All challenges are effectively limited to a 4x4 grid to cap the complexity level. The puzzles include 20 standard river-crossing puzzles and 20 cat-rescue challenges. The game comes with a choice of boy or girl hiker to keep both sexes happy.

Spider-Man City Crossing - released 2006
A 'remake' of the now multi-award winning original, but with a super-hero theme. The puzzle set is the same as the original, but if you can't swim, or happen to be a qualified trapeze artist, this is definitely the set for you.