marble911's jigsaw puzzle geeklist
Kathrin
Austria
Wien
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I rediscovered this childhood hobby of mine last summer and have had a jigsaw puzzle on my table pretty much all the time since then. They compete for space with my games, but I really enjoy building them to relax, so they'll have to learn to get along somehow.
Apparently, quite a few other geeks enjoy them, too, and Judy encouraged me to make a geeklist to keep track of the puzzles I've built (you can see her puzzles here: 2017 and 2018).
So, this is what I'll be doing here, at least until they set up JigsawPuzzleGeek.

I'm planning to make one item per month, but might change to a different format. Feel free to comment, especially if you love puzzles!

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1. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2543]
Kathrin
Austria
Wien
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2017 - AUGUST

1 4D Cityscape London (~1230 pieces)

This is the puzzle that started it. London is my favourite city, and when I saw this novelty type puzzle, it made me curious enough to give it a try.
"4D Cityscape" puzzles consist of a traditional cardboard puzzle, onto which you add a second layer of foam pieces. These have cutouts into which you insert plastic models of famous landmarks. The 4th dimension in the name is for time - you are supposed to experience how the city develops over time, by building over older areas.
In the case of London, the cardboard layer shows a section of the map around 1066, together with an info text. The foam layer shows London in 2014, and it covers the cardboard layer almost completely, except for the River Thames.

After building this, I'm not completely convinced of the concept. Covering up the first layer felt a little frustrating. What did I build it for, if I'm just going to hide it again?! The foam pieces are a bit wobbly and don't fit together all that well, especially once you've crammed the (rather crudely made) plastic bits into them. My fascination with London made it fun anyway, but looking back, I realised that the part I had enjoyed most was the traditional cardboard puzzle at the bottom, without all the fancy extras. This kicked off my search for good, cheap, mostly second-hand puzzles and fortunately, there are loads of them!

The cardboard layer. By now, I'd wrinkle my nose at the lack of variety in piece shapes, but for my first puzzle after many years, it was fun all the same.

Part of the cardboard layer already covered up by the foam layer.

The completed puzzle. As you can see, London is slightly tectonically unstable...
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2. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2543]
Kathrin
Austria
Wien
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2017 - SEPTEMBER

2 Castle of Illusions - Clementoni (1000 pieces)

Fun to build. Not too easy, not too difficult. I just wish the major European brands had a little more piece shape variety. Most pieces are 2 knobs and 2 holes, some 3:1, some 4:0, and all of them arranged on a strict grid.



3 Map Mysteries Egypt - University Games (1000 pieces)

This was a woefully incomplete thrift store find, with 10 pieces missing (plus 1 extra that belonged to a different puzzle). Oh well, it was only € 1 and I enjoyed building it anyway. More than I expected from the box. I mostly picked it up due to an interest in Ancient Egypt, but the colours were more vivid than on the box (my picture doesn't do them justice), and the pieces were a little more curvy and not quite as regularly/orderly arranged than what I was used to, so that was fun.
In case you are curious about the "mysteries" part: there is a pseudo-hieroglyphic text that you have to decipher to find a location on the map.



4 White Tigers - TOY/Bookmark (500 pieces)

I loved the image (tigers! butterflies! a beetle), but I'm no fan of the "visual echo technology"/3D/lenticular effect. It makes me slightly queasy how the picture changes depending on the angle. The plastic coating made for a satisfying "click" when pieces fit together, though. And finally a box that isn't hugely oversized.


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3. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2543]
Kathrin
Austria
Wien
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2017 - OCTOBER

5 Blue Jay and Friends - Cobble Hill (1000 pieces)

One of my favourite puzzles so far. I love the colourful birds and autumn leaves, and the random/irregular cut. This one is a keeper for sure.



6 African Wildlife - Clementoni (1000 pieces)

Lots of fun animals, but a strict grid cut with not a lot of piece shape variety. The leafy area of the tree was tricky.



7 Pieter Bruegel the Elder Collage - Grafika (1000 pieces)

Fun to build. The black lines between the individual panels made it easier, as did the different colour schemes and sizes (large faces at the bottom). The whole puzzle is a little too small to do the paintings justice, though. The Art History Museum in Vienna holds an important collection of Bruegel paintings and I have fond memories of visiting the exhibition with my parents when I was a child.



8 By the Canal - House of Puzzles (1000 pieces)

House of Puzzles has fun piece shapes, though I find it a bit annoying that not all the pieces interlock, which makes moving sections around harder. This is part of the "Find the Differences" series - the puzzle image differs from the cover image in several details, like the colour or orientation of a particular item. So, after you've built the puzzle, you can enjoy it a little longer by trying to find the differences. I wish it came with a solution because I'm not sure if I got them all!


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4. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2543]
Kathrin
Austria
Wien
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2017 - NOVEMBER

9 The Presence of Gaia - Grafika (1000 pieces)

I love this image (and a lot of Josephine Wall's art in general), but the puzzle was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Especially the shoulder area with all these shades of brown/grey/green. The head with the butterflies and flowers was easier. I think it is because of the painting style - few clear lines, which makes it difficult to see what you are working on.



10 Dragon Girl - Ravensburger (500 pieces)

Conversely, this one was easier than I expected. There are a lot of pink pieces in it, but different parts of the dragon have different textures and structures (scales, smoother skin and bones on the wing). It also helps that it is only 500 pieces. It was nice to do a smaller/quicker one for a change, but 500 pieces also leaves me with a bit of "oh - already over?!" sadness.
Sorry about the glare on the picture. I'm finding it really difficult to take decent pictures of my puzzle in artificial light, and this one had a particularly smooth and glare-producing finish.



11 unknown title - Wild Horse (1000 pieces)

I've previously called this "the mystery puzzle". This is why: Unlike with the other puzzles he was selling, the seller posted a picture of the finished puzzle instead of the box. I didn't think anything of it and bought it. When I later looked the box over, I thought "Hm, this looks different from what I remember from the advert. My memory must be bad today." When I got home and checked, I found out it wasn't my memory. The box was definitely different. Now the big mystery was if I had the puzzle pictured on the box, or the one pictured in the advert.
When I saw this piece, I thought I knew what I had - and I was right!

The clue:


The box:


The puzzle I actually got:

So, I got a puzzle in the box of a different puzzle. Unfortunately I haven't been able to figure out what the one I have is called.
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5. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2543]
Kathrin
Austria
Wien
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2017 - DECEMBER

December brought some extra free time and it shows in the number of puzzles I completed!

12 Wildlife Before Mankind - James Hamilton (1000 pieces)

I had hoped to find some good dinosaur puzzles for a long time, but somehow, most of the ones I came across either had a very low piece count (kiddie puzzles with 100 pieces and under) and/or were relatively expensive. Finally, I found a good, decently priced 1000-piece one, and it doesn't only have dinosaurs, but other cool creatures as well, including a dragonfly and a beetle. Another great feature is that the back of the box has an outline of the image, with labels telling you what each animal is. If it had a little more variety in the piece shapes, it would be perfect. Still, it is one of my favourite puzzles so far!



13 Gaudi Collage - Miniature - Educa (1000 pieces)

This is justifiably called "miniature" - at only 30 x 46 cm, this is the smallest 1000-piece puzzle I've built. It also comes with a nice story: I bought it, like most of my puzzles, used. Picked it up from a seller I had bought from before. When I got home, he emailed me and profusely apologised - his wife had reminded him that this one had a piece missing. He said I could return it and get my money back, but it was a longish bus ride (an hour and a half round trip), so I declined. I was a little disappointed, but decided to not let one missing piece spoil my enjoyment.
3 weeks later, he emailed me again and let me know they found the missing piece! He asked for my address and soon afterwards, I had an envelope with the missing piece in my mailbox!



14 Pastry Party - Aimee Stewart - Masterpieces (1000 pieces)

From a really small puzzle to one with extra large pieces. Just in time to put me in the mood for Christmas cookie baking season. The finished puzzle is 99 x 69 cm.



Size comparison: A piece of the Gaudi collage miniature puzzle on top of an oversized "Pastry Party" piece - David vs. Goliath:



15 Flights Delayed Round Puzzle - King (500 pieces)

My first round puzzle! I love this one - it has some of my favourite birds, some very delicious-looking fruit, and overall this was just a joy to put together. I'm not getting rid of this one any time soon.



16 Salamanders - Piatnik (1000 pieces)

I love the colours in this one. Not too thrilled with the title - there are a few salamanders in the puzzle, but lots of lizards as well, so the title is a bit misleading. Not that this affected my enjoyment of the puzzle greatly, but reptile and amphibian geek is a little displeased that chameleons, iguanas, gila monsters and geckos are thrown in the "salamander" category.



17 Emerald City - Anatolian (1000 pieces)

Thrift store find. I have no idea why it is called "Emerald City". The city doesn't look green, and it also isn't the main focus of the image. This one really made me wonder about what is going on, what the woman's story is, where she and the tiger are going etc. I even asked the artist, Steve A. Roberts, about the name, but never heard back from him.




18 The Golden Mean - Pomegranate (1000 pieces)

This one and 19 were Christmas presents from my parents and grandma, and I couldn't wait to start working on them. "The Golden Mean" was my first puzzle by Pomegranate, so I wasn't sure what to expect, and was positively surprised by really thick, sturdy pieces and a matte finish that produced very little glare. It also made me look up another artist, Julia Zanes. I quite like some of her artwork.




19 Great Horned Owl - Castorland (500 pieces)

Last completed puzzle of 2017! In general, I prefer painted puzzle images to photos, but this cool owl was difficult to resist. A fairly quick one at 500 pieces.



***

2017 Total:

19 puzzles, ~ 17,230 pieces
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6. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2543]
Kathrin
Austria
Wien
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2018 - JANUARY

1 Wonderwoods - Heye (1500 pieces)

My first 1500-piece puzzle. A very fun one, with lots of interesting details to discover. Colourful and whimsical - the perfect "feel good" puzzle for grey winter days!
Clear lines, but nevertheless quite challenging (for me, anyway) since there are lots of small areas of the same colour, so if you build puzzles the way I do, you end up with many disconnected sections and chaos on the table.



2 Neuschwanstein Round Puzzle - The Arrow (500 pieces)

My oldest puzzle so far. It came in a tin box and the seller claims it was produced in the 50s or 60s. Unfortunately, it is missing a piece.
Neuschwanstein Castle must be one of the most popular buildings in the jigsaw puzzle world - different piece counts, seasons, photo or painted, round or 3D...



3 Fantastische Ballons Silhouette Puzzle - Piatnik (1000+).jpg

Another first - my first shaped puzzle. Piatnik (an Austrian manufacturer) licensed this from the Great American Puzzle Factory, who published it as "The Fantastic Balloon Race". I enjoyed this one a lot, despite the fact that I had to peek at the box cover a couple of times to figure out the outline.


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7. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2543]
Kathrin
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Wien
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2018 - FEBRUARY

4 Panther Twilight - Castorland (1500 pieces)

I completed only one puzzle in February. Started a second, but it carried over into March.
Anyway, I liked the colours in this one, the panther of course, and the other animals waiting to be discovered, including some frogs/toads and several butterflies. Nevertheless, this showed me again that 1500 pieces is a bit more than I prefer.

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8. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2543]
Kathrin
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Wien
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2018 - MARCH

5 Nancy Drew - Cobble Hill (1000 pieces)

A little less fun than I thought it would be. I quite like the Cobble Hill cut, and I like puzzles with text on them so I can guess what the word is when I have a piece with just half a word. But the circumstances in which I built this one were less than ideal - we were putting together extra cabinets and the living room was pretty cramped for a while. Not the puzzle's fault, of course. The other reason is that some of the book covers are quite small, which made it hard to figure things out without using a reference. When I finally gave in to peeking at the box cover to see how all the little sections I had put together separately connected, it got easier. Still, I think this would be better if all the covers were the same size as the bigger ones. Fewer covers, but more space devoted to each of them.



6 Loads of Fun - SunsOut (1000 pieces)

This delivered what the title promised - loads of fun! I really enjoyed all the differently coloured/patterned pieces of clothing/fabric and, of course, the cute kittens. Everything fell into place quite fast!



7 The Artist's Desk - Ravensburger (1000 pieces)

Fun one, especially if you like Pixar movies. I didn't use the box cover as a reference (since it wasn't too difficult), but this made it a little more abstract than expected. More blotches of colour than concrete objects for a lot of areas of the picture. I don't even remember building that "studio pass" lanyard that is dangling from the lamp, just areas of blue and red!



8 The Bizarre Bookshop No. 2 - Colin Thompson - Ravensburger (1000 pieces)

Colin Thompson's pictures are so full of details - always a joy to discover what is hidden in there. I'm not a huge fan of the "funny" parody book titles (e. g. "Harry Bloater and the Goblet of Tartare Sauce") - they seem a little too forced - but I love the tiny doors, windows and creatures.



9 Courage Round Puzzle - Thomas Kinkade - Schmidt (1000 pieces)

Finished yesterday, just in time to make the March list! Thomas Kinkade might be one of the artists whose paintings I like better than their implementation as puzzles. Lots of fuzzy brush strokes in large areas of sky, water or foliage make them rather tricky. The circle shape made this a bit easier, since the curve of the pieces is an additional "clue", but it was a frustrating experience for part of the time. I almost called it quits right after I had started, when I couldn't get the outline right. There were some pieces that seemed to fit in several places - shape-wise and image-wise - and I wasn't sure if I had gone wrong somewhere (I did find several places where I had made mistakes, which doesn't happen to me too often normally). So, I gave the frustrating edge a break and started again, building from the inside out, and the part with the lighthouse was a lot more enjoyable.
The bottom part with the water is what I built last - lots of trying every piece that remotely looked like it might fit.
I still think it is a beautiful picture, but I'm looking forward to working on something with clearer lines next. Still have a big stash of Kinkade puzzles, though...

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9. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:2543]
Kathrin
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Wien
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2018 - April

10 Veracruz - Anatolian (1000 pieces)

A very easy and enjoyable one after the Thomas Kinkade. Vivid colours, bold lines - this one kind of put itself together on its own. Okay, I'm exaggerating - I got carried away a little and put it together in less than 24 hours.
I'm not completely happy with the quality of the Anatolian brand. The pieces fit together well and with this image, there was never much doubt if a piece fit. But the surface is very smooth and glossy, and many pieces also have tiny cracks in the surface layer, on/near the edges of the pieces, which makes them look a little worn even after what I assume was only the second time of being built.

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