Puzzle Brand Comparison — Jumbo

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

SUMMARY:   64/70

Jumbo is an excellent European puzzle brand with high quality in everything from their boxes to their piece thickness and unique image offerings. They rank right up there with our other first place brands. They are particularly known for their JVH (Jan Van Haasteren) cartoon puzzles, and the Wasgij line. Jumbo also publishes the Falcon puzzle line, which we reviewed separately.

1. BOX  — 10/10

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?

Jumbo boxes, like you’d expect from a high-quality German game manufacturer (Jumbo is actually in the Netherlands, but it’s close!), are very sturdy and of excellent quality. Their various lines have unique designs. Their popular JVH cartoon puzlzes all have a blue background like the sample below.

Front:

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Back:

The back has a special design that talks about Jan van Haasteren and show a few other JVH puzzles in their line-up.  Much nicer than a plain back!

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Side:

All four sides have the puzzle image, JVH and Jumbo branding, and piece size for easy reference so you can stack your collection however you like.  The JVH boxes look quite nice together on the shelf with the common blue background.

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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?

The box contents vary from puzzle to puzzle. Most of their ‘ordinary’ puzzle releases only have the puzzle bag and small Jumbo guarantee slip inside. The score is based on this ‘ordinary’ box. The particular puzzle we reviewed for this feature was a special edition and included 2 puzzles, a JVH-themed oven mitt, and a flyer on the 30th anniversary of JVH. Very nice! It’s lovely to see a puzzle company put out these ‘extra special’ editions once in a while.

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The puzzle comes in a thick plastic bag. Puzzle dust is low. The pieces are full separated and there are no hanging chads or trouble with the image lifting off corners.

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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?

Jumbo pieces feel thick and heavy in your hand and are a delight to work with. The thickness is comparable to Ravensburger.

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4.  PIECE SIZE & SHAPE — 8/10

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

Jumbo pieces are similar to Ravensburger in size–neither large nor small.

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Their piece cut is standard grid and they have a lot of ‘two knob, two hole’ pieces, with some variety such as ‘three knob, one hole’ (see detail photo below).  So the piece shape variety is not as good as other brands. However, the piece interlock is very good and I never have any confusion over whether or not a piece goes in a specific location.

JVH_FoodFrenzy_CU2_SM

 

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?

Jumbo puzzles fit together with a nice, seamless look when done, though the fit is not tight enough to be able to lift a puzzle corner without glue. You can move a small group of attached pieces while working on the puzzle, but only with care. (for very tight puzzle fits, see our pages on Springbok and Sunsout).

JVH_FoodFrenzy_CU1_SM

6. IMAGE REPRODUCTION — 10/10

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

It appears that Jumbo’s biggest selling puzzles are their JVH puzzles, and those puzzle images are so busy, there’s no way any fuzziness would be acceptable — and there isn’t any! The details are very crisp, as you can see in the images in this review, and the colors are true and bright. The image below is from Jumbo’s puzzle “Winter’s Majesty”. See our review here.

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Above: On this JVH puzzle, “Clash of the Bakers”, you can see how sharp the line work is. (click for close-up)

7.  IMAGE VARIETY & ARTISTS — 9/10

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

jumbo3in1

Above: Wasgij Christmas No 2, Pieces of History “Vikings”, James Milroy “Singers Singing” (click for closer view)

So there’s good news and bad news on Jumbo’s selection of images. The good news: Jumbo releases some of the very best cartoon puzzles in the industry. First, there is their JVH (Jan van Haasteren) line, which has 90+ cartoon puzzles to date. They’re very popular and for good reason. The amount of detail and humor is fun and makes for perfect puzzles images.

Jumbo also carries the wonderful WASGIJ line of puzzles (which we reviewed separately here).  These are lovely cartoon puzzles with a unique spin — the actual puzzle image is not the same as on the box lid but has some twist (it’s a reverse angle or a ‘before’ and ‘after’ or a future view or ‘what if’, etc).

Also, Jumbo publishes the Falcon line of puzzles, which are very traditional (even a bit stuffy) British themed puzzles.

So for these lines alone, Jumbo deserves high marks. But I am greedy and I would love to see Jumbo do more of the puzzles they used to do–they had a few limited edition Christmas puzzles in the 90’s with gold foil that were lovely, and I love their fantasy puzzles the “silver collection”, “gold collection”, and “metallic collection”, which are no longer in print.  So here’s a greedy vote for more fantasy puzzles and foil puzzles from Jumbo in the future.

See their website here.

SUMMARY:   64/70

Jumbo is an excellent European puzzle brand with high quality in everything from their boxes to their piece thickness and unique image offerings. They rank right up there with our other first place brands. They are particularly known for their JVH (Jan Van Haasteren) cartoon puzzles, and the Wasgij line. Jumbo also publishes the Falcon puzzle line, which we reviewed separately.

JJ

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