Puzzle Brand Comparison — Buffalo Games

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

SUMMARY:  Scored 57/70

A US puzzle brand with small, nicely designed boxes, a green philosophy, and good quality puzzles. Their pieces are on the small side, in a standard grid design but with lots of variation in shape. They specialize in Charles Wysocki images, Hartman Brothers nature prints, photo moasiac puzzles, and landscape paintings. They’re priced competitively at $14.99 for a 1000 piece puzzle.  Buffalo Games Website.

1. BOX  — 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?

Buffalo Games boxes are fairly small at 8″ x 8″.  The boxes are made with nice, sturdy cardboard, both top and bottom, and they have good, professional-looking product design. They make a point about being green, and their box size is part of that, as well as what’s inside (which we’ll see in a moment).  I don’t mind the small boxes as they take up less room on a shelf and still provide the info you need when stored vertically.

Front:

buffalo_1

Sides:

buffalo_3

The sides provide you with several options for storing the puzzles vertically, all of which are attractive.

Back:

buffalo_2

Unlike most US puzzles, the back of Buffalo Games boxes is not blank but has a general message about the company. The only thing that could have made this box better for me was info on the back about the collection, artist, or image like Ravensburger or Gibson boxes.

2. INSIDE THE BOX  — 8/10

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?

Buffalo Games puzzles come with a small poster of the puzzle image, which is quite nice and also a very good idea given how small the box is.  The poster shows several other designs in the collection. It has a blank back.

The thing I dislike about the Buffalo Games boxes is that they are sealed closed with glue that secures the four sides of the bottom to the inside of the top lid.  You can see in the image below, that there is no way to open such a box without damaging it, and, as a collector, I dislike that intensely.  It’s fine if a company wants to do away with shrink wrap for green purposes, but there’s no reason why they can’t use a simple plastic sticky tab on the sides of the box (like Master Pieces uses) to avoid glue. At least then you could cut through the tab without damaging the box.

buffalo_1

 

You can also see that they don’t have the puzzle pieces in a bag of any kind inside the box.  While the paranoid person in me prefers bagged puzzle pieces, I’m respectful of this decision to avoid plastic, and I’m not going to ding the brand for that (but I do for the glue!).

Besides the poster, and the puzzle pieces, there is nothing else in the box.

The puzzle pieces have no puzzle dust or image lift and are fully separated.

3. PIECE THICKNESS — 9/10

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?

The Buffalo Games pieces aren’t quite as thick as Ravensburger, but they are close. They are densely packed and have clean edges. They feel nice and sturdy in your hand.

buffalo1 buffalo2

4.  PIECE SIZE & SHAPE — 8/10

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

The Buffalo Games puzzle pieces are on the small side–I’d say they’re most similar to the Heye pieces in the comparison below, which is the smallest of the German brands.  This doesn’t bother me, but might not be ideal for people with poor eyesight.  A finished 1000 piece Buffalo Games puzzle is 26.75 x 19.75.  Ravensburger is 27″ x 20″. So you can see the puzzle pieces are ever so slightly smaller when compared to Ravensburger.

comparison-1

Shape:

buffalo_maxadirondacks_CU2_SM

Buffalo Games puzzles use a standard grid cut, but piece shapes vary widely for standard pieces. There’s a good mix of 2-knob/2 hole, 3 knob, 4 holes, etc.  There’s also a special shaped piece that is unique to Buffalo Games that has a zig-zag on one end and this appears in the puzzle frequently. You can see it in the close-up below.

buffalo_maxadirondacks

I’ve ranked them pretty highly in this category because they do have a wide variety of shapes even if they’re not as unusual as some brands (Springbok, House of Puzzles).

5. PIECE FIT– 8/10

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 good.  I never had any difficulty determining if a piece went someplace or not, and they interlock with a satisfying snugness. The end result is fairly seamless.

buffalo_maxadirondacks_CU1_SM

The fit is not as tight as Springbok or Bits and Pieces, though, if you like those brands. The pieces don’t hang together if you lift them far, but they hang together sufficiently to be moved around during assembly with care.

buffalo-1

 

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?

The image reproduction is good with strong colors and good resolution.  There is a semi-gloss finish on the pieces which makes capturing the final image with a camera a bit washed out, but in person, the colors are excellent.

buffalo_maxadirondacks

You can see in the detailed close-up above that the fine details like lettering are not blurry.

On the down side, this puzzle has reproduced a bit dark, especially compared to the image on their website.  You can see from the two images below, that the image has gotten darker in the puzzle print, particularly in the bottom 3rd of the puzzle and the cat’s fur. So I’ve deducted some for that.

079346170746-MaxInTheADK-PUZ

buffalo_maxadirondacks_SM

7.  IMAGE VARIETY & ARTISTS — 7/10

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

Buffalo Games carries Charles Wysocki Americana puzzles, Hautman Brothers nature and bird puzzles, and Coke licensed images.  They have a good collection of each of these, so if they’re your cup of tea you will be a happy camper. They also have a ‘Vivid Collection’, which is high-color art such as a school of fish or an array of hot air balloons, and an “Escapes” collection of landscape paintings. I do like that they are arranging their puzzles into branded series (like “Escapes” and “Holiday Collection”).  They also have a photo collage series and various assorted odds-and-ends.  They have 300. 500, 750, 1000. and a few 2000 piece puzzles, which are nice to see.  Their puzzles are all rectangular. Overall, their selection still feels a bit limited to me if you’re not into Wysocki or Hartman Brothers. But what they offer is of good quality and it seems they are expanding.

See their website here.

SUMMARY:  Scored 57/70

A US puzzle brand with small, nicely designed boxes, a green philosophy, and good quality puzzles. Their pieces are on the small side, in a standard grid design but with lots of variation in shape. They specialize in Charles Wysocki images, Hartman Brothers nature prints, photo moasiac puzzles, and landscape paintings. They’re prized competitively at $14.99 for a 1000 piece puzzle.  Buffalo Games Website.

12 responses to Puzzle Brand Comparison — Buffalo Games

  1. Tammy Canada says:

    I purchased a puzzle on 7/27/15 to dp with my grandson. Several pieces were not there. Very disappointing!

    • EDB says:

      I’ve found several with missing and poorly fitting pieces. I wanted to do one (the 4000 piece castle); spent three days sorting and organizing only to find edge pieces missing.So I bought it over again, and that one had the pieces split, bent, and crushed. I had to glue them back together and some ended up with crease marks. The size doesn’t match the box and the larger sizes (4000) don’t give an accurate piece count, so you can’t count ahead of time to see whether you have all the pieces, and with ill-fitting edges, you can’t tell whether you’re missing a piece or it’s just sloppy fit before wasting your time. I’m giving up on this brand.

      • Hi, EDB. Thanks for posting about your experience. I haven’t had any issues with this brand, but I’ve only done a few. I just did a new one, 2000 piece “In Grandpa’s Shed” and it was awesome. No missing pieces or loose fit. If you did open a box to find pieces split, bent, and crushed, I suggest you contact Buffalo Games and they will likely send you replacement. That’s just not right.

  2. jnsmld56 says:

    Buffalo Games is my favorite brand. I have about a dozen of them and have never had a missing piece. I love the poster included in the box, and the images are great, particularly the Charles Wysocki cat series. My only issue with this brand was getting the correct puzzle sent when I ordered directly off of their website, so I buy them in the store or from another website. Their customer service was very nice when I did have an issue. I actually like this brand better than Ravensburger, Sunsout or any other.

    • Thanks for your feedback. I just finished another one, a 2000 piece Buffalo Games (In Grandpa’s Shed) and loved it. I’ll be reviewing it soon.

  3. Kirstin says:

    I’ve had 3 of this brand with missing pieces now. One was a replacement that they sent me for the original that had a missing piece! Unfortunately, the two puzzles were cut slightly off so pieces from one puzzle didn’t fit the other, so I still have incomplete puzzles.

  4. Andrew says:

    I got Buffalo MC Escher self portrait for Christmas. I was working on it for 6 weeks. There comes a point when you realize there has got to be a piece missing. Today I counted the pieces twice and came up with 1026 pieces for a 1000 piece puzzle. WTF. I am VERY disappointed. It looked like it would be a cool puzzle.

    • Hi, Andrew. It’s not unusual for a 1000 piece puzzle to be “around” 1000 pieces rather than 1000 on the nose. If you have counted 1026 pieces you don’t know if you have a piece missing until you finish it. But if you’re not enjoying it, I’d say start something else.

      I’ve done a lot of Buffalo Games puzzles and never had a missing piece, for what it’s worth.

  5. Patty says:

    we just finshed our second Buffalo puzzle. first was 2000 piece and it had 10 missing pieces got a replacement but who wants to pick through a 2000 pieces? we just finished our second 1000 piece and at the very end we were missing 1 piece. wwe found a brand we really like no missing pieces.

  6. I have done all the buffalo Wysocki puzzles that they offered. At least 20 to 25 puzzles. Only once was a piece missing. To be perfectly honest, I may have misplaced it. I scrupulously monitor all pieces at all times. It is very easy to drop or miss a piece. I believe that most people who report missing pieces have actually lost them themselves. I say this because I am an avid puzzle builder and know how much energy I put into monitoring my puzzles.
    I have found it helps to have a dedicated area to do your puzzles.

  7. David Busken says:

    Working on a Buffalo puzzle now big taboo I spilled some juice on some pieces and the image slide off and the paper eliminated. Not impressed. I bought this particular puzzle because the picture on the back gave the impression the pieces were thicker and they are not. Thanks good site. Wish I found it earlier.
    David

    • Hi, David — I’ve had that happen a few times with spilled coffee or soup. There’s nothing more deadly to puzzle pieces than liquid. Yeah, the image/top just comes right off. Happened to me with Heye and Ravensburger too. I’m glad you like the site.

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