Today, diabolical puzzle manufacturers are producing jigsaws that are increasing difficult to assemble. They employ cutting techniques that result free-form pieces, where virtually no two pieces are alike. Gone are the straight edges so vital to organizing the pieces and building the border. Today’s puzzles feature irregular borders, unusual shapes and puzzles that require building from the inside out.
1000 piece jigsaw puzzles have been out-classed. In the last few years, top puzzle-makers have been regularly turning out jigsaw puzzles of 5000 pieces and up. Most notably (or notoriously), Ravensburger has produced a series puzzles with 18,000 pieces and 24,000 pieces. Designed to drive even the most hard-core puzzler mad, these puzzles require infinite patience and nearly infinite space to complete.
This puzzle manufacturer has introduced an interesting twist on the traditional puzzle. The puzzle is fairly conventional, except that the image on the box is only an indication of the puzzle image. In fact, the image on the box is merely a clue as to what the puzzle image is. By putting yourself in the shoes of the observers pictured on the box you just might be able to figure out what the puzzle should be when it’s assembled.
Double Trouble Puzzles
If you really like puzzles, try one of these puzzles within a puzzle.
Each piece is a tiny, individual photo. Together they assemble into a larger photo. This twist on the traditional jigsaw provides an added challenge as you need to be able to see the forest through the trees in order to put one of these jigsaws together.
Double-Sided Mirrored Jigsaws
Double-sided jigsaws come in two flavors–the same image on both sides or two different images. Either way, they can be maddeningly complex, as once you’ve sorted the pieces you can’t be sure they’re even right side up. Not quite up to that? Try a mirrored jigsaw. The assembled puzzled forms a mirror image of the picture on the box.
Another jigsaw with no picture reference, mystery jigsaws require you read a short book, assemble the jigsaw, then look for the clues to solve the mystery. These are great for the puzzler who likes a little mystery thrown into.
Globes, maps and famous works of architecture can all be made into jigsaw puzzles. These jigsaws assemble into 3D structures that range from a few inches to several feet. One of the newer 3D formats is the Ravensburger Puzzleball. Once assembled, you can display the completed puzzle on the enclosed stand. The plastic pieces fit snugly together and no special preservation is required. The Ravensburger Puzzleball also has a smaller sibling that assembles into an ornament.