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: “Trick or Treat Hotel” by Charles Wysocki, Buffalo Games – 9.25/10

I love this 500 piece Halloween puzzle from Charles Wysocki and Buffalo Games. The artwork has a wry, adult tone reminiscent of Edward Gorey. The scene is populated by strange creatures, pumpkins, cobwebs, and tongue-in-cheek signs like "Rooms to Ferment" and the "Pithias Bloodlust Wrinkledeath" motto on the hearse. The puzzle is mostly easy but the forest behind the mansion has a random pattern which offers a little more challenge and makes the puzzle overall more satisfying to complete. The Buffalo Games quality is quite good. The pieces feel thick and are pleasant to work with. It comes with a poster in the box so you have a larger image to work with. There is some glare off the glossy surface under strong overhead lights. This puzzle is a real treat. Highly recommended!

“Ring-Necked Pheasants” by Linda Picken, Cobble Hill – 8.5/10

"Ring-Necked Pheasants" is a pretty wildlife puzzle with terrific fall colors. This Cobble Hill puzzle features large pieces that are sturdy, have a snug fit, and a glare-free linen finish. I really enjoyed working with the bigger pieces and they have a nice feeling in your hand. The image by Linda Picken is very peaceful and serene. The gold tones are bright and cheerful to work with. The puzzle is fairly easy due to its 500 piece size, but all the gold adds a touch of challenge. Recommended.

Review: “Winter” — Trefl, 7.8/10

This beautiful winter collage puzzle is a super easy and relaxing puzzle to assemble. The distinctive colors, and the three separate photo scenes, make the puzzle go together quickly. The Trefl brand from Poland is a grid-cut puzzle with standard piece shapes and sizes. The pieces are not as thick as some Euro brands like Ravensburger or Jumbo, but thick enough to resist bending and damage. Recommended for children, seniors, and anyone who enjoys 500 piece puzzles. 7.8/10

Review: “4th of July Parade” by Bob Pettes, Sunsout — 8.25/10

This 4th of July themed puzzle is an easy family project for those warm summer evenings. The round shape makes for an unusual and fun puzzle assembly. There are plenty of small figures throughout to discover as you put the puzzle together. Like most Sunsout puzzles, the pieces feel thick & sturdy. However, the cut is close to a grid cut with standard piece shapes even though corners don't quite meet up. There's a lot of green grass in the image, but objects and people break it up in most areas of the puzzle. The brown path with its marching figures is particularly fun to assemble. Recommended for anyone who likes Americana or holiday-themed puzzles.

Review: “A Trip to the Shops” by Trevor Mitchell, Gibsons — 9.5/10

Gibsons puzzles are a high-quality puzzle from the UK with beautiful blue boxes, very thick pieces, and a waxy matte finish. This set contains four separate 500-piece puzzles. The four puzzles together show a family spending the day in a market town and visiting various vintage shops and vendors. This is a lovely British nostalgia collection by artist Trevor Mitchell and was specifically commissioned by Gibsons. There's so much color and detail in these images that assemble is very quick and easy. You can do each 500 piece puzzle separately or mix them together into a 2000 piece puzzle for more of a challenge. The 4x500 format is unique to Gibsons and offers something for all levels of puzzlers. Highly recommended.

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