POTM Review: “A Christmas Greeting” by Charles Wysocki, Buffalo Games 9/10

Publisher: Buffalo Games (US), published 2017

Size: 1000 pieces 

Title:  “A Christmas Greeting” 

Finished size: 26.75″ x 19.75″

OUR RATING: 9/10

Puzzle of the Month: November 2017

This is the Puzzle Warehouse “PUZZLE OF THE MONTH” for November 2017. So if you are in the POTM club (click here to check it out), you will be getting this selection with no effort required on your part. For those who want to order the puzzle, you can direct order it here.

Box Quality:  (9/10)

The Buffalo Games boxes are very sturdy and have nice packaging design. The box is small at 8″ x 8″, but it comes with a poster inside so you don’t need to depend on the image on the box lid. The front, which you can see above, has a Charles Wysocki logo, Holiday Collection logo, and the Buffalo Games logo. The name of the puzzle isn’t shown on the front.

Back:

The back of the box is a generic Buffalo Games back.

Sides:

The sides all have the Wysocki logo prominent and large. The puzzle name is shown on two sides. There’s also the Buffalo Games logo, the piece count, and a picture of the image. Since all box sides are the same length, you can easily shelve on a side that you prefer.

Inside:

The box is glued shut on the sides (instead of being shrink wrapped) and the glue has to be cut by inserting a knife down the side. Inside the box the pieces are packed loose (not inside a bag) and there’s also a poster. You can see the poster below. It’s good size, at least twice the size of the image on the box, and is useful for reference when piecing the puzzle together. The posters also shows a few other Wysocki puzzle designs. The back of the poster is blank white.

Overall, I’ve given the box an 9/10. It’s a very well-thought out design with all the important features you need.

The Image:  10/10

I’m a fan of Charles Wyoscki puzzles and Christmas puzzles, so I’m a happy camper when those two things come together. I’m so glad we got a new Wysocki Christmas puzzle this year, and in 1000 pieces too! Besides being a Wyoscki, and Christmas, this image has several things going for it. I love the softer colors with the orange-flow sky and blue/grey on the building. There’s lots of snow texture, which gives this puzzle a bit of challenge. But there’s plenty of detail and lots of figures in the foreground too.

I’ve given the image a full 10 score.

(Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)

Puzzle Quality: (9/10)

You can see my brand page for Buffalo Games here.  This 2017 puzzle is fully compatible with the puzzles I reviewed for my brand analysis. The quality is very good. The pieces feel sturdy, the box and contents are undamaged and in great condition, and the artwork reproduction is spot on.

The cut is a standard grid-cut puzzle with a wide variety of piece shapes and even a few ‘zig zag’ sided pieces. I never had a question about whether or not a piece actually fit. The tightness of the fit is average–neither particularly tight nor loose. If you try to move small groups of pieces around they will fall apart unless you’re very careful, but the final finish looks fairly seamless. Click on the image below to get an enlargement of the piece shapes.

The finish is not too glossy and I didn’t have any issues with overhead glare working this puzzle at night despite the dark colors. Overall, puzzle quality scores a high 9 out of 10.

Assembly:  (8/10)

My difficulty rating for this puzzle is: Easy-to-Medium Challenging. I did it in three evening sessions. A lot of the puzzle is easy, but the snow textures add a little more difficulty at the end.

DAY ONE:

On the first day I assembled the border, which was pretty straight-forward, and then did the orange sky. The orange color only appears in the sky so it’s easy to distinguish these pieces.

The color orange is brighter and prettier than it appears in these pictures. There’s some gradation to the sky, especially at the horizon, and some objects which break up the monotone part of the sky like the flag and branches.

While doing the sky, I also did the big arched sign. This was probably my favorite part of the puzzle with the red letters and snowy frame.

DAY TWO:

On the second day, I did the buildings.

The large building on the right is split into stone and wood textures. With the windows and doors, it’s pretty easy to piece together.

This basically completed most of the top part of the puzzle, leaving the entire bottom section. Time to spin the puzzle board!

DAY THREE:

The third session was a long one. First, I did all the figures in the bottom half of the puzzle, pulling all the pieces that had anything other than snow on them. When you have put together all the figures, this is what the puzzle looks like. This gives you a good idea of the “last part”, which in this puzzle consists of all snow and snowy tree pieces. It’s still a fair amount of area, as you can see. I’d say at least 25%.

The figures all have unique clothing and details, so you can use the poster to figure out where a piece goes. It’s fun to see the detail emerge.

I also completed the big tree before tackling the snow. It’s also a random pattern, but not a big enough area to be difficult.

The last bit of assembly was all the snow. This is a more difficult part of the puzzle because it’s all random pattern, including the two big snowy fir trees. There are some hints in terms of subtle shades to the white color (brighter white vs grayer), the bands of dark green in the fir trees, and some ‘marks’ in the snow. I did have to resort to just trying a bunch of pieces in a few areas. But I enjoyed having a little more challenge with this puzzle.

I’ve given assembly an 8 score.

Summary:

“A Christmas Greeting” is a wonderful new addition to the Charles Wysocki line and a must for Christmas puzzle lovers. I love the subtle colors in this image from the orange sky to the blue-gray stone and wood textures. The scene is filled with interesting figures in historical dress and lots of detail to discover as you assemble. The puzzle is mostly easy except for the last 25% of “snow” texture, which is a bit more difficult but a welcome challenge. The Buffalo Games quality is very good with grid cut pieces and a nice box that comes with a poster. Highly recommended.

Where to find:

PWLOGO

JJ

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