Tag Archives: Puzzle Review

Endless Starry Sea, Reviewing InGooooD’s Wooden Puzzles

I love contests. I do. Sometimes I even win!

I’d been following InGooooD, a new puzzle company for about a year now. In May, I won their Mother’s Day contest; which let me choose one of their original run of puzzles. This is the hardest part of being a puzzler, I swear.

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I ended up picking Romantic Star Sea. It’s soooooo pretty! Galaxies of stars reflect from a seashore where a couple holds hands.

InGooooD is a little different from traditional puzzles. They make their puzzles from basswood, not cardboard. This makes for a lightweight, but very nice puzzle. IMG_5948

InGooooD prides themselves on quality and presentation. Each puzzle comes in a nice mesh bag, and includes a fullsize  poster and a postcard. I’ve heard from puzzlers that have bought some of the newer puzzles that now they have saver sheets as well!

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Poster

This is a really challenging design. Thankfully, InGooooD has labled the back of the puzzle. The puzzle is divided into 8 grids, labled A-H. I was smart and sorted my pieces.

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Pandemonium loves smelling the pieces!

Being a laser-cut wooden puzzle, the pieces fit very tightly. I spent a lot of time flipping my sections over to check that I had placed correctly.

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Zane playing Dragon and sleeping on a horde of pieces!

I enjoyed this puzzle, and will admit to having a very large wishlist on Amazon full of InGooooD puzzles.  I did learn my lesson, next puzzle will be an easier image.

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Back!
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Tada!!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: InGooooD
  • Title: Romantic Star Sea
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 1000
  • Cut-Style: Ribbon Cut
  • Finished size: 19½x 29¾ inches
  • Bonus poster: Yes
  • Made in China


QUALITY: 

  • Box: sturdy,  8¾ x 11¾ x 2 inches
  • Board: Very sturdy and rigid, wooden pieces
  • Cut: Laser cut
  • Image Quality: Excellent
  • Finish: Semi-gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: None
  • Piece shapes: One shape with two orientations
  • Piece Fit: Incredibly Tight!, If you misplace a piece, you must be wary to not break the piece when removing it.

Disability Notes: This design was rather difficult, and I do not reccommend it for anyone with eye issues. However, InGooooD has tons of images, and is always adding new ones. The pieces are nice and light, easily handled when my hands were mildly arthritic. The alphabet grid is nice and clear.

Where to buy: At the time of this post, Romantic Star Sea is listed for sale on the Ingooood website for $23.17 USD. Ingooood puzzles can also be found on Amazon.

InGooooD : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I won a complimentary puzzle from the manufacturer. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

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!

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Puzzle by Number, A TDC Games & For Dummies Collaboration

Do you remember the For Dummies books of the nineties and early aughts? I do!(Yes, I’m dating myself, I don’t care.) 

I found this treasure in a lot of used puzzles I bought last winter with a friend. While a lot of the puzzles were in awful shape, this one wasn’t. I knew I had to assemble this puzzle as soon as beach weather came around.

 

Beach Babies is a 1000 piece grid-cut puzzle, with each piece labeled on the back with both letters A-Z and numbers 1-39. Like all Dummies products, this puzzle has easy to understand instructions. While the map and instructions were missing, I found them online at the Dummies Website here.

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I’ve never done a puzzle with numbers on the back before. I did the logical thing and sorted alphabetically.IMG_5733

I tried a couple of different styles of assembly. IMG_5734

First I did lines A,B and C individually. Then I did lines D,E, F and G as a group. This went faster than most puzzle assembly, but was visually boring. So I flipped the sections over, connected them together and started assembling like I normally do. This took longer, but was far more enjoyable. The fact the pieces are labeled on the back helped me place pieces when stumped.

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H3 is missing.

TaDa!! Yes, I know there is a missing piece, but for a used puzzle, I’m super pleased.

I liked how firmly these pieces fit together.  While I haven’t done any other TDC puzzles, I’ll have to start looking for them. This puzzle had pieces that were thin and sturdy, and I could pick up full sections.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: TDC Games / For Dummies
  • Title: Beach Babies
  • Artist: Donald Zolan
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 1000
  • Cut-Style: Grid cut
  • Finished size: 19 X 26 inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in USA


QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy,  8 x 8 x 3 inches
  • Board: Very sturdy and rigid
  • Cut: Cut with a steel-cut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent
  • Finish: Slight gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: None
  • Piece shapes: Standard 2 knob
  • Piece Fit: Excellent! Really tight, can be picked up entirely

Disability Notes: This sort of puzzle is rather helpful for beginners or people who have difficulty assembling sections that all look the same ie: sky, sand, etc.

Where to buy: At the time of this post, Beach Babies is available for sale on Amazon, for $85.65 CDN. The high price is due to the puzzle being discontinued. 

TDC Games : Website / Twitter

For Dummies : Website / FaceBook / Twitter

Disclosure: I bought this puzzle for the purpose of review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

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!

Cats and Dinosaurs, Summer is Here!

It’s June! June = Summer!

Alright, so I started this blog last July with a Eurographics puzzle, and I’ve been itching to do this awesome puzzle for weeks!

Screenshot_2019-06-04 Dinosaurs, Jigsaw Puzzle at Eurographics

This was one of my favorite finds last winter, when I was out thrifting before the cold weather really hit. Imagine my delight to find a brand new Eurographics still in its plastic!  I love dinosaur documentaries and movies, and my godsons are huge fans, so I have to be able to keep up.

The fun thing about this puzzle isn’t the design or the random cut, but that Hurricane Enlil, my kitten is strangely possessive of it.

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No Mom, these are MY pieces!

Every time I turned around, Hurricane was there. I swear she has a dinosaur as a spirit animal, the way she loved to sit on or near the puzzle.

Kitten craziness aside, this is a fantastically informative puzzle. Under the title is a color coded listing of the different eras and their relation in time to each other. At the bottom of the puzzle is a combination timeline and biological tree showing all the dinosaur family types.

Assembling these timelines was the easiest part of the puzzle. The majority of the puzzle is done in muted earth tones, presumably because it was drawn before the emergence of both the relationship between birds and dinosaurs, and the brightly colored theory. All those earth tones on a beige background, mixed with the random-cut pieces made for a challenge. Add in the fact that my tortoiseshell cat, Zoomie got jealous and deliberately launched herself off the puzzle board, destroying hours of hard work…

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This is after rebuilding the puzzle twice after Zoomie’s tantrums.

Thank goodness for SC. He helped me reset the puzzle to the picture above before bed last night. Mind you, as mad as I was at Zoomie, who almost never sits my puzzles; I was grateful for a chance to watch SC. He relies heavily on pattern recognition to place each piece into its place. Martial Harmony can be as simple as working a puzzle together and appreciating your differences.

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All done! Well…sort of.

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I’m missing my triceratops’ face. I’ve swept the living room, searched under the couch and puzzle board, and it is nowhere to be seen. I’ll wait a few days as I’m certain that it will eventually show up. If it doesn’t, I’ll contact Eurographics’s Puzzle Warranty page.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Eurographics Puzzles
  • Title: Dinosaurs
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 1000
  • Cut-Style: Random cut
  • Finished size: 19¼ x 26⅝ inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made from recycled board and printed with vegetable based ink.
  • Made in USA


QUALITY: 

  • Box: sturdy,  10 x 14 x 2.5 inches
  • Board: Very sturdy and rigid
  • Cut: Cut with a steel-cut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent
  • Finish: Slight gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: Moderate
  • Piece shapes: A good mix of traditionally cut and irregular pieces
  • Piece Fit: Good, a bit loose until the entire puzzle is assembled, pieces cannot be moved in groups

Where to buy: At the time of this post, Dinosaurs  is listed for sale on the Eurographics website for $17.99 USD.

Eurographics Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I bought this puzzle for the purpose of review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

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!

Just Ducky! Crystal Rubber Duck 3D Puzzle

I have a collection that tends to make people laugh. I collect rubber ducks. All kinds, really, so long as they conform to the generally standard ducky shape. When I visited University Games’s booth at Toy Fair, I knew that their Rubber Duck Crystal puzzle had to be my starting point. IMG_5482

I’ve been wanted to assemble this puzzle for ages, but…I listed to SC, who kept telling me how difficult puzzles of this type were. Note to self. Do Not listen to the Spouse-Critter about puzzles! I loved this!  

I’ve never done a 3D puzzle quite like this. The pieces are made of translucent thick plastic (I keep wanting to call it Lucite). There are 43 pieces and the assembly is a matter of trial and error. 

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If you watch my little slideshow, you can see how each layer builds up and interlocks to create a sturdy shape. Not shown are the 2 locking bars and the plastic key. There is a small bar that is inserted into the hole you see in the back-end of the ducky, covered by the tail tip. The second bar is longer and is inserted from the top of the head and locks the whole puzzle into a solid piece. 

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Zoomie supervised the newest ducky build.

Honestly, there were only 2 places I struggled, the neck, and putting on the eye stickers!

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I hate stickers, so my ducky has one eye slightly askew. Other than that, this puzzle only took me about and hour or so. I am definitely going to start looking for more like them!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: BePuzzled / University Games
  • Title: Original 3D Crystal Puzzle™ Rubber Duck
  • Artist: Not listed
  • Difficulty: 1
  • Year released: 2015
  • Pieces: 43
  • Cut-Style: Knob and Hole
  • Finished size: 22x 22 in
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in China

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Lightweight,6 x 4 x 2 inches
  • Board: N/A 
  • Cut: N/A Molded Plastic
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Clear Gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: None!
  • Piece shapes: Knob and Hole
  • Piece Fit: Very good

Disability Notes: This is one of those puzzles that is perfect for bed or couch days. With under a hundred pieces, assembly depends entirely on your level of dexterity or vision. Due to the translucent pieces, I recommend strong light for people with impaired vision. 

Where to buy: Original 3D Crystal Puzzle™ Rubber Duck is available on Amazon, at Walmart, or at AreYouGame.com for $12.99 USD.

A little background, BePuzzled® is a brand that is under the University Games corporate umbrella. So, while BePuzzled® has their own Facebook page, all of their products are found on the UGames website. 

BePuzzled: FaceBook

University Games Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

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!

 

Traveling From My Couch, and Happy Birthday Eric Dowdle!

Okay, to explain my title for this post… Yesterday, May 2nd, was Eric Dowdle’s 51st birthday. I’m incredibly fond of Eric’s artwork, which is the basis of Dowdle Puzzles. For his birthday, Dowdle puzzles is having a 51% off sale that ends today, May 3rd. Code: ERICBIRTHDAY

What? you’re still reading?!? Scroll to the bottom of my post, hit the link to the Dowdle website and get shopping! I’ll wait…

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You’re back? Ok. So the other part of my title has to do with the fact that SC has been out-of-town for a week now, and I’ve been busting butt and stressing more than usual. So of course, my body decided I needed a few days of pain flares and unbelievable fatigue. No matter how much I wanted to be active and do a ton of chores, I just didn’t have the spoons.  Thankfully, SC reminded me I’d received a wooden travel puzzle at Toy Fair.

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Dowdle’s Travel Puzzles were not what I expected! Most travel puzzles are either magnetic or have too small a piece count to be a challenge. This is a wooden puzzle where the image is giclee-printed directly unto the wood before being laser cut. At 150 pieces, there is enough complexity to keep my fuzzy brain engaged.

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Such pretty pieces!

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As you can see in the above picture, the pieces fit snugly in the frame, which works just as well on my lapdesk as it would in a car, train, or hotel room! Like the other wooden puzzles I’ve done, to connect the pieces, you have to slide one piece on top of another. Due to the precision of laser cutting, this makes for a really tight fit.  While I was assembling this puzzle, I watched a documentary on Roman Catacombs, just so I’d have the full “travel experience”. 

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I really love the sheer number of animals that Eric has managed to fit into one image! There are the usual suspects: lion, elephants, giraffes and hippos. But there are some real surprises as well. I found a fennec fox, African painted dogs, a rhinoceros beetle and even a tortoise!

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All Done!

The best part of this puzzle? It’s so easy to store! It is only a quarter-inch high, and a little bigger than a sheet of paper. If you travel a lot, space can be at a premium. Or, if you’re like me, my puzzles war with the cats for space on the bookshelves. Collecting all of the travel puzzles currently available would take the same space as a standard puzzle box from one of the other puzzle brands.

About the Company: Dowdle Puzzles is a part of Dowdle Folk Arts. The artist and owner is Eric Dowdle, who has over 200 folk art paintings, mostly focusing on American cities and national parks.  

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Dowdle Puzzles
  • Title: Wild Africa
  • Artist: Eric Dowdle
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 150
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 9 by 11 inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: N/A Plastic sleeve
  • Board:  Lightweight , sturdy wooden pieces
  • Cut: Laser Die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Semi-gloss, with great color saturation
  • Puzzle Dust: None
  • Piece shapes: A good mix of traditionally cut and irregular pieces
  • Piece Fit: Very tight!  Some of the irregular pieces make it so that pieces can only be moved in small groups.

Disability Notes: The smaller piece count and wooden pieces are wonderful for someone traveling or trapped in bed! I can recommend this for people with mild arthritis or good to excellent hand/eye coordination.

Where to buy: The Wild Africa Travel Puzzle is not listed on the Dowdle website, making me think it is a Toy Fair/Vendor Exclusive. However, there are currently 5 different designs available on the Dowdle Puzzles website for $34.95 usd.

Dowdle Puzzles : Website / FaceBook

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!

Earth Day, Yesterday, and All Year Long!

Yesterday was Earth Day, a holiday started in 1970 that focuses on environmental reform and the human impact on this world we inhabit. Yesterday was also the day after Easter, and my mom and little sister headed home. I was wiped. Chronic illness means that I “hit the wall” and can’t push myself any further. Last week was a whirlwind, and by Monday, I was very much done. I spent Earth Day in bed.

Today, I’m still tired, but I wanted to bring up a thought. Earth Day was yesterday. Yesterday is over. Does that mean I can just put Earth Day and all it means on the shelf until next year?

Earth Day isn’t like most other holidays… It’s a way of life.

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This year, I managed to convince White Mountain Puzzles to allow me to do a few reviews. I immediately fell in love with Amazing Sea Turtles. It reminded me of the Earth Day commercials and shows I watched as a kid in the 80s and 90s.

I’ve never done a White Mountain puzzle, so I was surprised by the box stand that was included. Made of recycled cardstock, it holds the box lid so that you can have the puzzle image at hand. As this puzzle didn’t come with a separate poster, the box stand came in handy.

 

 

 

 

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My work space, border set up and ready to go!

I found this to be a delightful puzzle. It’s advertised as an E-Z Hold 300, which means it is made with slightly larger than normal sized pieces, on recycled blue chipboard. The grid-style cut was not challenging, but I don’t want a challenging 300 piece.  I do 300 pieces to relax and let me think.

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Look at my awesome turtles!

 

Back to my original point. Earth Day as a way of life. It’s daunting, isn’t it? especially as a person with disabilities. I love my straws, as they keep my hands from spilling drinks down my front, I like modern conveniences. But even I can do small things all year-round to help the planet. I can and do choose to buy puzzles made with recycled materials. I recycle and reuse items. SC and I have furnished our home in furniture that had been discarded but was still serviceable. I use public transit often, and I donate to earth-friendly charities when I can afford to.  I have in the past, planted trees. Small things, sure, but small things, like puzzle pieces add up.

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This is my Earth Day Big Picture.

This puzzle features a handful of sea turtles swimming through a busy coral reef. It’s a great image to show what we could lose, and what we need to protect. More importantly, it makes me happy. I love sea life and aquatic scenes.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: White Mountain Puzzles
  • Title: Amazing Sea Turtles
  • Artist: Gerald Newton
  • Year released: 2017
  • Pieces: 300
  • Cut-Style:  Grid
  • Finished size: 18 x 24 inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy, Light-weight, 10 x 12 x2 inches, Glossy Finish
  • Board: Thin and sturdy pieces
  • Cut: Steel-cut Die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Glossy
  • Puzzle Dust: A bit more than I prefer, but not too much
  • Piece shapes: Grid style, 4 shapes
  • Piece Fit: Excellent, nice tight fit that if careful, I could pick up

Disability Notes: The E-Z Hold pieces are really nice. They fit my hands well and I had no difficulties in assembly. I can recommend this size puzzle for kids and adults, and I think that people with hand or eye difficulties will enjoy it as the colors are amazingly bright!

Where to buy: Amazing Sea Turtles is available on the white Mountain website for $13.99 USD.

White Mountain Puzzles : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

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!

Easter Bunnies and Easter Eggs!

I don’t know about you guys, but Easter is one of the few holidays that I get excited about the food. As a kid, I loved my Easter basket filled with marshmallow Peeps, jellybeans, and chocolate bunnies. The best part wasn’t Easter supper with its ham and fixings, but Easter breakfast; where after searching the whole of the house for hidden eggs, I got to crack those colorful shells and roll my hard-boiled eggs in salt and pepper.

This Saturday, I’ll be helping my younger sister Hime and my god-daughter Bug fill my kitchen with the scent of vinegar and a veritable army of brightly colored eggs! Lucky for me, one of my favorite puzzle companies, Cobble Hill, unveiled a perfect Easter puzzle for the 2019 year.

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Easter Bunnies by Donna Race is a springtime delight! It’s a 500 piece random-cut puzzle that has three sweet bunnies guarding a nest of colored eggs among a field of early Spring flowers.

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The included mini poster! A super helpful puzzling tool!
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Ignore the cat hair, check out these weird shapes!!

I had help assembling this puzzle. My sister Hime is in town for the holidays, and she and Mom helped sort the border and started work on the bunnies. My Bestie Angel came by the other day and helped finish the bunnies and made a serious dent in all the flowers.

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Such bright colors!

I can’t express how happy this puzzle made me. It really brought home the fact that Spring is here, and that while my neighborhood flowers haven’t bloomed, they will soon! IMG_5372

I know that only some of my readers celebrate Easter, because some are observing Passover or Ostara this week. To all of you, I wish the best of holidays and I’ll see you on Monday, which is both Earth Day and Half-priced candy sales!

 

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Cobble Hill
  • Title: Easter Bunnies
  • Artist: Donna Race
  • Year released: 2019
  • Pieces: 500
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 19.25 x 26.625
  • Bonus poster: Yes
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy, Medium-weight, 10″x14’x2.5″ Matte-Linen Finish
  • Board: Thick and sturdy pieces
  • Cut: Steel-cut Die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Satin, linen texture
  • Puzzle Dust: Almost none
  • Piece shapes: Random
  • Piece Fit: Very Good, nice tight fit that if careful, I could lift it up completely

Disability Notes: I can definitely recommend this for a teen, an adult, or for a person whose hands have good and bad days. I had fun.  My hands didn’t ache after assembly, and the difficulty level was certainly up to adult standard.  I can happily recommend a large piece puzzle for people with fine motor skill issues, or arthritis.

Where to buy: Easter Bunnies is available on the Cobble Hill website for $15.99 USD. It is still in stock, so I suggest ordering in advance for next Easter!

Cobble Hill Puzzle Company : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

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!