In some families, Thanksgiving and other holiday gatherings mean a big jigsaw puzzle that everyone works on together on some out-of-the-way table. Some years, not enough people pitch in, though, and the puzzle never gets finished. Perhaps a smaller puzzle is in order?
The Baffler puzzle was created by Chris Yates. It is a great puzzle for one person to do in one sitting, or for a couple of people to do more quickly. It’s very portable, which is convenient for gatherings. And if many people want to do the puzzle, you can have contests to see who can finish it in the least amount of time.
The Baffler currently comes in three different puzzle varieties. I reviewed the Bindu Truss model. All three models look quite fun. The Spiral of Archimedes one looks a bit more challenging because the pieces change very gradually as you get to the center. The Nonagon looks the hardest to me because the pieces seem random and are all of a similar size.
Playing With The Baffler
The puzzle is made of a sturdy cardboard and comes in a sturdy cardboard box. The puzzle itself is shrinkwrapped to prevent pieces from moving around in transit. There is also plenty of room in the box for pieces if you can’t get the puzzle back together by the time you need to put it away. Once you remove the shrinkwrap, you can use the hole in the bottom of the board to easily push the pieces out. Each piece fits precisely together with the pieces adjacent.
The pieces vary in color and each has a black border. This means the piece color doesn’t carry over to the next piece, so reassembly is all about size and shape. They all fit together snugly so they won’t come out or apart unless you take them apart. Each piece is unique, though I did find two pieces that were almost identical on at least one side. This tripped me up for one minute, but that was the only difficulty I had reassembling the puzzle.
The Baffler puzzle is a great deal of fun, but it isn’t too baffling for a very systematic person like me. I found it easiest to start building on the outside and work my way in. You get to know the subtle differences in piece size and shape, and then it becomes clear which pieces will go where. Overall, it took me less than a half hour to do it the first time I tried.
The Baffler puzzle is quite a lot of fun, and it is small and well made. It won’t take forever to put together, and it is a different take on the jigsaw puzzle. The Baffler puzzle may or may not baffle you, but it will give you a new puzzle experience.
The Baffler retails for $9.99 on the Ceaco website. The number of pieces in the three sets ranges from 67 to 78. I can’t find an age range listed, but I would say it was probably for 8 and up.
Hint: Take a photo of the puzzle before you take it apart the first time. Then, if you get really stuck, you’ll have something to which to refer.
Note: I received a copy of The Baffler for review purposes.