Puzzle Brand Comparison — Springbok

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

SUMMARY:

Score: 56 out of 70 possible

Springbok puzzles are unusual for their thick pieces and tight fit, which make it possible to pick up part of, or a whole, jigsaw without it breaking apart. They have unusual piece shapes that are a nice change from the standard puzzle ‘grid’ shapes.  Their image reproduction can be very good, but one of their puzzles we tested was blurry. Their boxes are a bit on the fragile side, and inconsistent in sizing. Their image selection is limited and mostly photo based.

1. BOX  —7/10

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 Springbok boxes vary in size from puzzle to puzzle, making them a bit difficult to shelve together. They have a nice enough design on the front, focusing on the puzzle image.

Springbok (3)

The sides of the boxes alternate between two designs–one in English with a photo of the puzzle, and one in Spanish without an image.  The English side works find for vertical shelf storage.

Springbok-(1)

The back of the box is completely blank, and also quite thin. We really don’t learn anything about the artist or image on this box.  The box is shrink wrapped.

Springbok (4)

 

2. INSIDE THE BOX  — 7/10

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 inside of the box contains the puzzle pieces in a plastic bag, and two small cards — one a warrantey and one a bit of an advert for Sprinkbok.  There’s no info about the puzzle or artist.

springboK-1

Like Bits and Pieces, the bottom of the box is fragile and is actually taped at the corners instead of having a solid bottom.  This seems to be a cost saving measure but it’s rather cheap in feel and the bottom of the box is easily damaged in storage.

springboK-2

The puzzle pieces are in a sealed plastic bag with minimal puzzle dust, pieces still connected, image lift or hanging chads.

springboK-3

 

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?

The Springbok pieces feel thick and sturdy. ‘Chunky’ is a good word–and that’s a good thing!

springbok1

Above: close-up from “Feathered Retreat” by Springbok

Below: the comparison with Ravensburger was done with pieces from “Sew Sweet”, 2009. Those pieces are a bit more frayed than the ones in 2012’s “Feathered Retreat”.

springbok_3 springbok_2

4.  PIECE SIZE & SHAPE – 9/10

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

Springbok pieces have unusual shapes and the puzzle doesn’t form a regular grid pattern. For puzzlers looking for a bit more challenge and variety, this is a good thing. Their pieces are not quite as unusual as House of Puzzles, which includes pieces with no knobs or holes at all, and pieces shaped like stars, etc.  But they’re still quite unusual comparison to traditional brands like Ravensburger and Gibson.

Springbok_FeatheredRetreatbox10

Size:  Springbok pieces are fairly large. You can see in the image below, they’re at least 30% larger than Ravensburger and Gibson. This makes for a large final puzzle. A 1000 piece Ravensburger puzzle is 27″x 20″ whereas a 1000 piece puzzle from Springbok is 30″x 24″.  I quite like working on a slightly larger puzzle for a change, and it makes an impression when it’s done, but it may not fit in standard 1000 piece puzzle boards or frames.

comparison-1

 

5. PIECE FIT– 10/10

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 interlocking fit of the Springbok pieces is the tightest of any puzzle I’ve tried. Whereas Ravensburger pieces go into place with a satisfying ‘snap’, Springbok pieces must actually be pushed down into place. I’m counting this as a very good thing, as you can see by my rating here. I never felt any confusion about whether a piece really fit or not (even in a puzzle with a zillion green pieces, like the one below) because if a piece doesn’t fit you’d really have to force it and it’s obvious.  It’s a nice feeling to push that piece into place, and the resultant tight grip of the puzzle means you can pick up sections of it, or the entire thing when you’re done, and move it about without it falling apart. (Well, you wouldn’t want to hit someone over the head with it, as it would assuredly disintegrate, but barring violence, it hangs together.)

Springbok_FeatheredRetreat2

 

6. IMAGE REPRODUCTION — 7/10

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

I’m not entirely sure about this. I think the quality of the reproduction may vary from puzzle to puzzle or possibly has improved in recent years. In “Feathered Retreat” (2012), the colors were brilliant. The birds and bird house front were crisp and defined, but various areas of the pine needles and the edge of the birdhouse were blurred. This doesn’t look inherent to the painting. It may have been done in the pine needles in order to provide some texture variation to help the green sections be more workable. In the end, it doesn’t keep the final puzzle from being beautiful. See our review here.

springbok

Another example that’s considerably worse is the 1000 piece puzzle “Sew Sweet” (2009).  Compare the photo of the puzzle image on the box with piece of that same area in the puzzle. The image on the box is crisp and high resolution whereas the detail in the puzzle pieces themselves is very blurry. Below, compare the scissors and lace with the same section on the box lid. No, it’s not my camera. The puzzle pieces really are that blurry!  Since this is an older puzzle than “Feathered Retreat”, it’s possible they have improved the quality or this was just a bad one-off.

springbok2 springbok3 springbok4

Above: The details like the measuring tape have blurry edges and numbers and lines on the puzzle pieces, but are crisp in the box image. 

In this day of high-definition everything, there’s no reason why the puzzle image in “Sew Sweet” should not have been as crisp and clear as the box image. For a collage type puzzle like this, those details are the whole point.  So unfortunately, I had to ding Springbok in this category, though it may not be an issue across their entire line or in the more recent puzzles.

7.  IMAGE VARIETY & ARTISTS – 6/10

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

Springbok specializes in photo landscape puzzles, and colorful photo collages like candy or colored pencils or yarn.  Their puzzles are all rectangular, though they’ve done round ones in the past. They also carry a few scenic painting puzzles, train puzzles, Coke puzzles, and cutesy ones with snowmen or animals. They don’t have any particularly well-known artists in their line-up. If you’re a fan of photo-realistic puzzles, you’d probably rate their selection higher than I have.

Here’s their website.

SUMMARY:

Score: 56 out of 70 possible

Springbok puzzles are unusual for their thick pieces and tight fit, which make it possible to pick up part of, or a whole, jigsaw without it breaking apart. They have unusual piece shapes that are a nice change from the standard puzzle ‘grid’ shapes.  Their image reproduction can be very good, but one of their puzzles we tested was blurry. Their boxes are a bit on the fragile side, and inconsistent in sizing. Their image selection is limited and mostly photo based.

22 thoughts on “Puzzle Brand Comparison — Springbok

Add yours

  1. I just put a Springbok puzzle back in the box. The pieces were not cut well and several were fused. I won’t buy this brand again

  2. I admit Springbok is a good puzzle maker, but like everything else – their puzzles aren’t as good as they used to be. Pieces are not all that much thicker than other brands – nowhere near as thick and sturdy as they used to be.
    Get your hands on a vintage Springbok – from the 60s to mid-70s. You can often find them at pre-owned goods, boot, garage, church, eBay, Etsy stores and sales. You will view the “new” Springbok puzzles as cheap imitations, I promise you.
    Why they can’t (and don’t) make puzzles with the same thickness and print quality as they used to, I don’t know. We currently buy vintage puzzles at $25-35 a puzzle because they are absolutely worth it. The print and quality of the pieces are truly the best.
    Wish Springbok would create a “Heirloom” line of puzzles that are made like the old ones were so we could pass them down to our children – like our parents did with us.
    Please try one and let me know what you think. I honestly believe you will agree – nothing beats an OLD Springbok puzzle – not even Springbok. :o)

  3. My favorite Springbok puzzle is the delightful “And To All A Good Night” Christmas puzzle you reviewed so highly. I agree completely with all you said in your review. I love the large, thick pieces with a variety of interesting shapes and the interesting scene details. It’s one of the most enjoyable puzzles I’ve worked, and definitely a “keeper.” I particularly like that it’s only 400 pieces, which is perfect for our family to assemble during the busy holiday season.

  4. I have to say — I am doing my first Springbok puzzle now, and though I like the image (“Table Treats”), I’m not impressed with the quality. The fit is tight and certain, the image is sharp, and the colours are attractive, but there are issues. The box is very flimsy — I was using the bottom to sort pieces and it started falling apart at the corners almost right away. I’ll have to glue it back together. The pieces are glossy, which looks nice but is also terrible for glare.
    I prefer a matte texture, like Pomegranate puzzles. Several pairs of pieces (between 12 and 20) arrived still attached together, and had to be separated and then trimmed with scissors (to get rid of the resulting cardboard “tuft”) before starting the puzzle. Finally — weirdly — the company doesn’t seem to know the subject of the puzzle. On their own website, they say it’s an image of vintage candy labels, when actually it’s grapes. Overall, I’m not feeling an attention to detail here.

  5. I love Springbok puzzles. I’ve bought other brands, opened the box, starting working with the pieces and stopped making it. Springbok pieces are thick, larger and different shaped. I love puzzles with a lot of color and usually 1000 pieces. I’m running out of Springbok choices so if anyone knows of a comparable brand please comment!

  6. I haven’t tried a new Springbok, but I love the vintage ones. The pieces are sturdy and fit together nicely, although sometimes I think whoever designed the cutting template was an evil genius. I’m working Little Red Riding Hood’s Hood right now, and it’s a challenge.

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