New Puzzles: July 2017

  July is always a big month for new puzzle announcements! This is the time of the year that we see the big limited edition Christmas puzzles and many companies have mid-year releases in July! I have a lot to talk about this month including new puzzles at Puzzle Warehouse as well as some releases/announcements... Continue Reading →

Review: “Christmas Tree Farm” by Randy Wollenmann, Vermont Christmas Company – 8.5/10

This is a lovely Christmas themed puzzle from artist Randy Wollenmann. The bright colors are fun, especially the pink in the image. The wintry scene is appealing with kids and families out choosing their Christmas tree. The puzzle is a nice blend of easy elements, like the characters in their unique outfits, and slightly more challenging elements like all the fir trees, snow, and night sky. The difficulty is easy-to-moderate. I especially like the art style, which is hand painted and a little bit cartoony. The Vermont Christmas Company quality is good with hard, solid pieces. The cut is mostly a grid cut, but not all edges line up and some sides have wavy and diagonal edges. Recommended for all who enjoy cartoon or Christmas puzzles.

Review: “Christmas Fayre” by Tony Ryan, Gibsons – 9.25/10

“Christmas Fayre” is a beautiful holiday puzzle from Gibsons set in a traditional English village Christmas market. The puzzle is easy-to-moderate in difficulty. The night-time colors are rich with purples, oranges, and reds. The artwork is a hand-painted scene with a good amount of detail. There’s some repeating greenery and red and white stripes throughout the image that make assembly slightly more challenging–in a good way. I enjoyed seeing all the characters as I put the puzzle together, young couples and families out enjoying the market. There’s lots of Christmassy details like wreaths, trees, advent candles, roasted chestnuts. The Gibsons quality is exceptional with thick pieces and a waxy finish that feels good to the touch. Recommended!

Review: “Small Town Christmas” by Charles Wysocki, Buffalo Games – 9.5/10

"Small Town Christmas" is a gorgeous Americana Christmas puzzle from artist Charles Wysocki and Buffalo Games. It's a good moderate challenge that took me three sessions to complete. No one area is difficult, but there's a lot of detail throughout. The palette of bright colors against the snow and blue sky is very cheerful. I particularly liked the red ribbon around the tree, the fir tree lit with candles, and the birdhouses in the sky. There's so much fun detail to examine in this image as you assemble the puzzle. The Buffalo Games quality is very good with grid cut pieces and a nice box that comes with a poster. Recommended to all fans of Christmas puzzles.

Review: “Whistle Stop Christmas” by Charles Wysocki — Buffalo Games 9.25/10

"Whistle Stop Christmas" is a sweet holiday puzzle from artist Charles Wysocki and Buffalo Games. It's an easy puzzle to assemble with 500 pieces and strong color and detail that makes it clear where each piece goes. I love the theme of people arriving home for Christmas. As you assemble the puzzle, you'll smile at the happiness on all the individual faces. The unique costumes and expressions are delightful. I partricularly liked the orange sky on the horizon, the red train station with all the windows, bows, and detailing, and the wintery "white Christmas" snow. The Buffalo Games quality is very good with grid cut pieces and a nice box that comes with a poster. Recommended to all fans of Christmas puzzles.

Review: “Santa’s Big Night” by RJ McDonald, White Mountain – 9/10

White Mountain's "Santa's Big Night" is a classic Christmas puzzle you'll want to add to your permanent collection. The image is ideal for puzzling with five separate Santa scene vignettes. The colors are bright and cheerful, and the painted artwork couldn't be more Christmassy. I especially loved the scene in the upper right with the snow-covered fur trees and the children playing in the snow. This is an easy-to-moderate puzzle that would be perfect to work with a group at Christmas, given the layout of the various story panels. The quality is quite good. I especially like White Mountain's larger piece size and very flat, smooth finish. Highly recommended for everyone this holiday season!

Review: “Christmas Chaos” by Francois Ruyer, Piatnik – 9/10

"Christmas Chaos" by Francois Ruyer is a fun but moderately challenging Christmas cartoon puzzle. The artwork is beautifully executed with tons of color and detail. The repeating elements of similar-looking elves and gift boxes scattered throughout the image are tricky, but there are some anchoring elements such as the windows, fireplace, toys, and Christmas tree, which help fill in much of the design. I found myself referring to the box lid often to figure out which piece of elf went where. The Piatnik quality is very good with thick, sturdy pieces, a grid cut, a fairly tight fit, and a nice matte finish. If you like a little more challenge, Christmas puzzles, or cartoon puzzles, this is highly recommended.

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