In our most recent edition of 5 Questions, I introduced you to Rachel Happen, the puzzler behind Baffledazzle, a Kickstarter to create high-end jigsaw puzzles that are aesthetically pleasing and more challenging than the average puzzle.
She sent us a review copy of one of the five initial Baffledazzle puzzles she’s created, so let’s give Cirkusu the full PuzzleNation review treatment!
[Note: This is intended as a spoiler-light review, so while I do discuss the completed puzzles in vague terms, I won’t include any pictures of completed puzzles.]
Cirkusu is a series of jigsaw puzzles centered around the history of games. It’s up to the solver to complete each puzzle, and once they’re assembled, to unravel the identities of each game.
[A fleet of puzzle pieces awaits the solver upon opening the box.]
First off, these pieces are beautiful. The wooden pieces are well cut, visually interesting, and simply fun to play with. Despite the curious shapes and inscribed patterns, it’s still a very challenging jigsaw-style puzzle. And since there’s no picture on the cover to bias the solver, it becomes a matter of matching words, patterns, and different fonts in order to solve the seven puzzles included.
[Just a small sample of the variety of Cirkusu puzzle pieces.]
Each puzzle is inscribed with text, presenting historical context for the game’s creation or rules on how to play, enriching the solving experience and offering clues for the second part of the solve: determining each game’s identity.
Also included are numerous miscellaneous bits and bobs, made from wood, plastic, acrylic, and other materials. These allow some of the puzzles to become full playable games, encouraging the solver to experiment further with different play styles, perhaps even inventing your own game along the way toward figuring out the actual game. (Other puzzles explain how to create a given game on your own, even providing blueprints for how to do so.)
[A close-up of a few individual pieces.]
What separates a Baffledazzle puzzle from the average jigsaw is not only the fine craftsmanship and attention to detail, but also the exploration each puzzle encourages. You can hit the library or take to the Internet in order to find out more about the puzzles, or you can play with the games and make it your own. You dictate when the puzzling experience ends (particularly when there are hint and solution envelopes included).
Solving the puzzle becomes one part of a greater journey. And that makes for a truly memorable solving experience.
[You can check out all of Rachel’s Baffledazzle puzzles, including Cirkusu, on her Kickstarter page.]
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