Brand Comparison: Madd Capp Puzzles

REVIEW DATE: 8/11/2018        PUZZLE TESTED: “Wolf”

OUR RATING: 63 points, A Grade

CATEGORIES: shaped animal puzzles

CUT:  ribbon cut with a good variety of piece shapes      FINISH: high gloss

PIECE FIT:  average-to-snug                  PIECE SIZE: large

This page is part of our Puzzle Brand Comparison. You can find the overview page here.

SUMMARY:  Scored 63

Madd Capp makes games as well as jigsaw puzzles. They specialize in photo-realistic, shaped, animal puzzles. The puzzles include a poster with educational info about the animal species. Currently they only offer puzzles in 550-700 and 100 piece (“Jr”) sizes. The pieces are very large. The cut is grid cut with a wide variety of piece shapes.  The boxes and puzzle pieces are of excellent quality, thick and sturdy with a visually pleasing high gloss sheen that can, nevertheless, lead to glare at night under overhead lights. The puzzle fit is snugger than most. This is a very specialized brand with a narrow offering, but their puzzles would make good gifts or family projects due to the educational aspect.

Madd Capp Website           Puzzle Warehouse Madd Capp Page

1. BOX Exterior  — 9/10

How deluxe does the box looks and feel? Is it sturdy? Will it hold up over time?  How nicely does it arrange on the shelf?

The box has an unusual shape with one corner cut away. It’s an interesting look. The box, both bottom and top, are quite thick and heavy. There’s definitely a quality feeling to the box.

Front:

The front includes the puzzle title, “I Am Wolf,” Madd Capp logo, piece count, and the phrase “poster size”, which is the only reference to the final puzzle dimensions on the box. The artist’s name is not mentioned anywhere on the box, however, I’m guessing the wolf is actually a stock art photo in which case the artist name isn’t relevant.

Sides:

All 4 sides have the same information including the puzzle image, piece count, Madd Capp logo, and shape outline.

Back:

The back is very nice. It’s custom to this puzzle with a little information on wolves. There’s some generic wording about Madd Capp Puzzles too.

FINAL SCORE:

I deducted a point for not having a production year on the box and another point for not having the puzzle dimensions. Other than “poster size!” there is no indication of how big the puzzle is. This makes it difficult to judge if it will fit on your puzzle board. I added 1 point for the unusual shape of the box, which is not so wonky as to make for difficult shelving, but unique enough to add a little personality.

2. INSIDE THE BOX  — 11/10

How deluxe are the internal goodies (such as posters or brochures)?  When you remove the pieces is there puzzle dust, pieces stuck together, hanging chads, and places where the image has begun to separate from the backs?

Inside the box is the bag of puzzles pieces and a folded mini-catalog / poster.

The front of the little catalog/poster is shown above. It unfolds to have a poster on one side, a mini-catalog and cool info about the wolf on the other.

Bag of puzzle pieces: There was no puzzle dust at all and the pieces were all fully separated and undamaged.

FINAL SCORE:

The box interior scored really well. There were no deductions and 1 point was added for the poster/ mini-catalog in the box.

3. PIECE THICKNESS — 10/10

How thick are the pieces compared to other brands? How does a piece feel in your hand? How easily are pieces damaged or bent during assembly and separation?

Piece thickness is a critical part of puzzle quality to me, second only to the puzzle image.  Doing a jigsaw is a tactile experience, it’s something that gets me off the computer and tablet for a few hours. I enjoy the thick feel of the pieces and the satisfaction of a good fit. We use Ravensburger for comparison because their pieces are one of the thickest in the industry.

The Madd Capp pieces are thick compared to Ravensburger, even though they don’t necessarily feel that thick because they’re quite over-sized. But side by side, they are at least as thick as Ravensburger. The edges are cleanly cut.

FINAL SCORE:

4.  PIECE SIZE & SHAPE — 8/10

Are the pieces standard shapes? Special shapes? How much variety do they have? Are they large or small?

Madd Capp pieces are very large–quite a bit larger than Ravensburger. Below they are shown side by side.

The large size allows a 550 piece puzzle to make a fairly large puzzle (poster size!). Unlike some people, I don’t prefer to work with large pieces, though it doesn’t especially bother me either. However, pieces this size would make a 1000 piece puzzle, my preference, unworkable. For those who like large piece puzzles, however, this is a plus.

Shape. The puzzle cut is a ribbon cut with a good variety of piece shapes. I didn’t run into a situation where a piece that seems to fit where it didn’t belong. I prefer random cut to grid cut myself, but I like both types. This is a decent and fun ribbon cut.

FINAL SCORE:

I deducted one point for the puzzles being a little too over-sized to support a large pieced puzzle, though this is a personal preference. One point was deducted for a ribbon cut vs a random cut, but only one point since there’s lots of variety in the piece shapes.

5. PIECE FIT– 9/10

Do pieces interlock well? Can it be confusing if a piece fits or not?  Can you move groups of pieces together? Does it look snug when it’s done?

The piece fit is fairly tight, above average, thought not so tight that you can pick up the puzzle without glue (like Spingbok).  You can move small groups of joined pieces without much trouble. I never had any difficulty determining if a piece went someplace or not, and they interlock well. The end result is very flat and seamless, as you can see below. This is especially important with the shaped edge.

 Above: Detail of “I Am Wolf”, 550 pieces

FINAL SCORE:  

Madd Capp scores well in this category too.

6. IMAGE REPRODUCTION — 8/10

Are the colors bright and vivid? Is the image sharp or feel like a bad Xerox? How is the finish/texture on the pieces?

This artwork is a realistic photo and the colors are natural rather than bright and colorful, so I can’t judge color. The natural browns and tans look true to life. The details in most of the puzzle are sharp. The puzzle border follows the proper edges of the photo. Note the glare on the ear from the glossy finish under lights. Click for a larger view of this image.

One area of the puzzle, the nose, is blurry. This feels a little off since you’d expect everything to be sharp in a detailed head puzzle like this. But it’s not a huge distraction.

The puzzle has a very shiny, glossy finish, which means there is is glare under overhead lights. Glare is most annoying when there are dark areas of the puzzle, like blacks, navy, dark purples etc, which was all blur together when there’s a glare. This particular puzzle has quite a bit of black around the edge so I had to go more by knob shape than color.

The dark edge around the puzzle appears to be part of the design rather than a case of the image reproduction getting too dark.

FINAL SCORE:

I deducted one point for surface glare and another for the area of blurriness in the puzzle.

7.  IMAGE VARIETY & ARTISTS — 7/10

Does the brand have a wide variety of fun images and good artists?

Madd Capp’s puzzle line-up is fairly limited. They have an “adult” line, all shaped animal puzzles, all 550-700 pieces. They also have a “JR” line which features shaped animals in 100 pieces. They only have this one type of puzzle.

FINAL SCORE:

This is Madd Capp’s weakest category in our brand comparison. They have a dozen or so adult puzzles, all of them in the “shaped animal” category and all 550 pieces (except for “I Am Elephant” in 700 pieces). Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing one thing and doing it well. However, I personally prefer more color and variety in my puzzles and a larger piece count. However, these puzzles should have a place with families and animal lovers. The educational information provided about each species (on the box and on the poster) is a nice touch. The deluxe boxes would make them good for gift-giving.

SUMMARY:  Scored 63

Madd Capp makes games as well as jigsaw puzzles. They specialize in photo-realistic, shaped, animal puzzles. The puzzles include a poster with educational info about the animal species. Currently they only offer puzzles in 550-700 and 100 piece (“Jr”) sizes. The pieces are very large. The cut is grid cut with a wide variety of piece shapes.  The boxes and puzzle pieces are of excellent quality, thick and sturdy with a visually pleasing high gloss sheen that can, nevertheless, lead to glare at night under overhead lights. The puzzle fit is snugger than most. This is a very specialized brand with a narrow offering, but their puzzles would make good gifts or family projects due to the educational aspect.

MORE MADD CAPP TO LOVE

 

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL MADD CAPP PUZZLES AT PUZZLE WAREHOUSE

Below are some more of my favs. Click on any puzzle in this post to see it on Puzzle Warehouse.

“I Am Tiger”, 550 pieces 

“I Am Eagle”, 550 pieces

“I Am Elephant”, 700 pieces

JJ