I’m a sucker for a good mystery. It piques my curiosity and I just can’t seem to help myself! When Artifact Puzzles announced that they were debuting a new line of wooden puzzles I knew I wanted to try them out. Then Artifact upped the ante and announced that the new Ecru puzzles would include Mystery Puzzles. I was doomed!!
The Ecru puzzles are different from the main Artifact line in that they are made with a closer cut and a matte finish. The Mystery Puzzles are made to be ephemeral, they are only made for a few months at a time, then they are “revealed” and added to the main Ecru lineup.
I love this. I was sent Mystery Puzzle #1, and it arrived in a plain gray box.
Like all Artifact puzzles, the box and contents are curated for maximum sustainability. The box has a magnet closure in the lid and as you can see, you are given an envelope of resealing stickers so that you can be sure no pieces have escaped while in storage.
These pieces look fiendish! I’ve never worked with anything quite like these. The pieces look like interconnected hexagons or simple chemical formulae. In fact, while assembling, I swear I saw a piece that looked like a sugar molecule!!
What? you thought I’d reveal the secret that easily?? I had to work my way there, you can be patient.
Artifact is known for their excellent whimsies (shaped pieces that tie into the puzzle’s theme), but I’ll admit that these stumped me for a bit. Fruit I could understand, but a car??
Okay, I have a blue bowl and fruits, maybe my car isn’t a car, but a van?? Oooh! Van Gogh!?!?
I have to admit, they weren’t kidding about the closer fit on the pieces! once in their proper place, the pieces cling together so well that you can’t fit anything between them. In some places, the lines become invisible!
Big Reveal Time!
Minus the whimsies, of course. I’m not done, gang.
Under the pieces in the box, I spied this little note.
Once you’ve assembled the puzzle, it isn’t a mystery anymore, is it? That depends. If you have a large extended family like mine, you could loan out the puzzle and share the fun, or if you love the revealed image, you can use the provided stickers to decorate the top and sides of the puzzle box before shelving it for later use.
So not a Van Gogh, but a Jacob van Hulsdonck! This lovely mystery puzzle was his Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and Pomegranate.
- Company: Artifact Puzzles
- Title: Ecru Puzzles – Mystery Puzzle #1
- Artist: Jacob van Hulsdonck
- Designer: Jef Bambas
- Year released: 2019
- Pieces: 232
- Cut-Style: Random
- Finished size: 10″ by 10″ inches
- Bonus poster: Yes
- Made in USA
- Box: 10.5″ by 9″ by 2″ inches
- Board: Thick and sturdy wooden pieces
- Cut: Laser-cut
- Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
- Finish: Matte, with great color saturation
- Puzzle Dust: Nonexistent!
- Piece shapes: Irregular with plenty of themed whimsies
- Piece Fit: Nice and tight!
Disability Notes: Other than the obvious issues with fine motor control with separating pieces that do no belong together, I found this puzzle to be both easy on my eyes and hands. The pieces are sturdy and can be worked with mild to moderately arthritic hands. While there are some dark sections to this particular puzzle, a bright lift was all I needed to see my pieces.
Where to buy: Ecru Puzzles – Mystery Puzzle #1 is no longer available, but Mystery Puzzle #9 is on the Artifact Puzzles website for $60 USD. New Mystery Puzzles are being added soon! No sticker shock, here guys! These are high quality, artisan puzzles that will last for decades if well cared for.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own.
Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!