My (advancing) Newbie Difficulty Rating: arduous
Maybe I could rate this moderate if it were pleasant to piece together. It was not.
Quality: poor. The good points - it comes in a small box sealed with clear stickers and includes a poster. There were no missing pieces. That’s it. The pieces are thin, not sturdy, many were damaged. Piece fit was extremely loose. There was a lot of puzzle dust in the sealed plastic bag and in the box.
This was not an easy puzzle. I wish I had resisted this nostalgia purchase. I actually like to piece large areas of similar color; at first glance I considered the six Betty’s would simplify the build. There weren’t that many major colors so sorting would be easy too. So wrong, so novice. But I’m learning, if only by trial and error.
Yes, I found the edge pieces and sorted by color. My first reality check came building the frame. A corner piece was broken. When moving any number of connected pieces they broke apart. The frame was correct but some outside edges did not quite match up - not exactly a confidence builder.
I sub sorted out totally black, totally white, black and white, black with bits of color, white with facial lines, all the pieces that spelled Betty Boop, attitude, sugar and spice, and ooh la la, the roses, the cherries, the crown, and the headbands, background and clothes for each Betty. The rest of the pieces were sorted by their primary color. So many pieces were random cut it was not that useful to lay them out by shape. I built the words and slid them in position.
Even with all that sorting it was painfully slow going. I blame most of that on poor quality. Having to put ill fitting things back together repeatedly, it was so tiresome. I wasn’t going to quit, but it was hard to muster up one of puzzling’s best qualities - having fun.
The colors were everywhere, and there were a lot of details in the background. Concentration level plummeted. Finally, I placed every piece except for the black and white parts of the 6 faces, which I deliberately left for last. I began to have fun as those filler pieces went into place. I had been working on it over 4 days.
The faces - yet again I asked myself “what was I thinking?” Not exactly areas of similar color at all. Betty needed more than lips! Eyes, eyebrows, lashes, curls - I repeat, this was not an easy puzzle regardless of quality. Now I was annoyed with myself for misjudging this illustrations requirements.
Challenge - I don’t mind taking one on as long as I see progress commensurate with the difficulty of a puzzle, hopefully without quality issues. I started this hobby only about 8 months ago. I took baby steps, a 500 piece rectangle, then a 500 piece round, then a 750 piece puzzle by MasterPieces. I remember feeling accomplished, otherwise I don’t recall much about the effort. Frankly, I wasn’t taken with most of their puzzle illustrations, so I didn’t buy more. It’s possible this wretched puzzle was a one off.
But, yes, I bought more puzzles including this one not that long ago. And there are other ones in my stash I wouldn’t choose now, knowing more of what I like to puzzle. It has to be an illustration, well, unless it’s a gradient. But I do favor large areas of similar color over “busy” -for one thing, it cuts down on the sorting. Reading above you see I am a super sorter, but it is far from my favorite task.
Now, if I could just think more before I buy.
My ratings: Quality: D, Fun Factor: could have been B+ or better.
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Butterflies 18 Mini Shaped Puzzles 500 Piece Total By Lafayette Puzzle Factory
About: Mastering the Art of Choosing the Right Jigsaw Puzzle
Tips to Avoid Buying Overwhelmingly Difficult Images
Jigsaw puzzles offer a delightful challenge, but there are times when the level of difficulty can be overwhelming. Whether you're a seasoned puzzler or a novice looking for an enjoyable experience, it's important to choose the right puzzle image that matches your skill level and personal preferences. In this article, we'll explore the world of difficult jigsaw puzzles and provide you with a list of tips to help you avoid buying images that might leave you feeling frustrated.
1. Know Your Skill Level
Understanding your own puzzle-solving skills is key when selecting a jigsaw puzzle. Be honest with yourself about your experience and comfort level. If you're a beginner, it's best to start with puzzles that have a lower piece count and simpler imagery. As you gain confidence and experience, you can gradually challenge yourself with more complex puzzles.
2. Consider the Piece Count
The number of puzzle pieces directly affects the difficulty level. Larger piece counts, such as 1,000 pieces or more, can be more time-consuming and mentally demanding. If you prefer a less challenging experience, opt for puzzles with smaller piece counts, such as 500 pieces or even fewer.
3. Analyze the Imagery
Before purchasing a puzzle, carefully examine the image. Complex and intricate designs, such as landscapes with numerous details or abstract patterns, tend to be more challenging. If you're looking for a less daunting puzzle, choose images with clearly defined sections, distinct colors, or simpler motifs.
4. Read Product Descriptions and Reviews
Take the time to read product descriptions and reviews. Puzzle manufacturers often provide information about the level of difficulty, which can help you make an informed decision. Additionally, reading reviews from other puzzlers can give you insights into the puzzle's complexity and whether it aligns with your preferences.
5. Look for Beginner-Friendly Collections
Many puzzle companies offer collections specifically designed for beginners. These collections often feature puzzles with larger pieces, simpler imagery, or even hints and guidance to assist you along the way. Exploring these beginner-friendly options can be a great way to ease into the world of jigsaw puzzles.
6. Seek Variety in Piece Shapes
Some puzzles feature unique piece shapes that can add an extra layer of difficulty. If you're looking for a more accessible experience, consider puzzles with standard grid-shaped pieces. However, if you enjoy a challenge, look for puzzles with irregular or whimsical piece shapes, as they can make the assembly process more complex and engaging.
7. Check for Puzzle-Specific Features
Certain puzzle manufacturers offer features to indicate the level of difficulty. For example, some puzzles may have a "difficulty rating" on the packaging or specify whether they are suitable for beginners, intermediate puzzlers, or advanced enthusiasts. These indicators can be valuable in making an informed decision.
8. Consider Collaborations with Artists
Many jigsaw puzzle companies collaborate with renowned artists, resulting in a wide range of puzzle images with varying levels of difficulty. Some artists may have a distinctive style that makes their puzzles more challenging, while others may focus on creating accessible and enjoyable designs. Research the artist's work and style to ensure it aligns with your preferences and skill level.
9. Seek Recommendations from Fellow Puzzlers
Engaging with the puzzle community, whether through online forums, social media groups, or local puzzle clubs, can provide valuable insights and recommendations. Experienced puzzlers can share their thoughts on specific puzzle images and brands, helping you make informed choices.
10. Trust Your Instincts
Ultimately, trust your instincts and choose puzzles that genuinely spark joy and interest for you. While it's important to consider the difficulty level, it's equally crucial to select images that you find visually appealing and personally satisfying. Enjoying the process of assembling a puzzle is just as important as the challenge itself.
By following these tips, you'll be better equipped to choose jigsaw puzzles that match your skill level and provide an enjoyable experience. Remember, puzzles should be a source of relaxation and fun, so don't be afraid to explore different options and challenge yourself while staying within your comfort zone. Happy puzzling!
(ChatGPT, personal communication, June 20, 2023)