GuoJia (国甲) is a Chinese twisty puzzle brand, known originally for their Type A (Alpha) DIY 3x3 speedcubes. Founded around 2006, it was the first non-Rubik DIY brand on the market, and produced numerous speedcube models featuring innovative design improvements. Some significant designs are placing tracks on the cubies to reduce turning friction, reduced inner radius of the mechanism to increase tolerance, and symmetrical contacting surfaces on the edge pieces (most 3x3 cubes have edge pieces with a hollow side).
The cubes, which were originally known as Type A, appeared internationally in around 2007. Their products were renamed Alpha in 2009, but their cubes became eclipsed by other manufacturers such as DaYan.
The Type A was the very first Chinese DIY kit on the market other than the Rubik's DIY. It was developed around 2006, by some of the then top Chinese cubers.
At first it was often called the "Rubik's Clone DIY", and then when the Type C showed up it was called "Thick R-clone", along with Type C being called the "Thin R-clone". Later on 大烟头 (creator of DaYan DIY and Crazy 4x4 series) proposed the naming system of calling them by the order in which they were presented to the market, represented with the Chinese celestial stem characters (甲,乙,丙,丁, etc) and each with the prefix 國 (guo, or "Country"), meaning 國產, or domestic product. Later, the developers registered 國甲 (GuoJia) as their trademark.
Type A (Alpha) cubes
There were two main series of Type-A/Alpha speedcubes:
- Mainstream Alpha: usually the guinea pigs for new designs. Some of the significant features included tracks to reduce friction, and lightweight cubicles.
- Sealed Alpha: usually referred as "NEW" Alpha, "Alpha (roman numeral)-f", or "Alpha (roman numeral)-SV". These speedcubes aimed at an even friction between cubies and full contacting surface area on the pieces.
The first Type A cube was quite heavy compared to the Rubik's and other Chinese DIYs. The turning felt "smooth and sturdy", and was considered an excellent speedcube.
Some distinguishing features are:
- Dull yellow core
- Screws with fine threads and small screwhead.
- Large and small washers
- Center caps similar to the old FLAT Rubik's DIY
There were several different molds for the Type-A I, and while they were essentially identical, some of the colors were discontinued and could be sold for high prices.
Other early cubes
The Haiyan's Cube (Alpha Haiyan) and other Guojia speedcubes (Alpha mini 4.6 cm and 5.2 cm, and Alpha Common etc) were not part of the main subgroup, but were individual models in addition to the main series:
- Haiyan or Haiyan's Cube - Haiyan
- Alpha Common - Essentially the regular-sized version of the Mini Alpha.
- Alpha mini
- Alpha CC
- Alpha CC2
- Alpha CC3
- Haiyan Memory or Haiyan's Cube - Memory
- Chun 1
- Chun 2
- 3x3x5 Star Cuboid - a 3x3 extension mod that does not actually turn like a 3x3x5. The name provided here may not be the official name, if it has one.