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Hertel's Top 10

Puzzle connoisseur Hertel keeps notes on every puzzle he does, and has agreed to share his top 10 favorites out of the over 100 Artifact puzzles he's enjoyed: #10 Justin Hillgrove...

Puzzle connoisseur Hertel keeps notes on every puzzle he does, and has agreed to share his top 10 favorites out of the over 100 Artifact puzzles he's enjoyed:

#10 Justin Hillgrove Overwhelming Odds (257 pieces)

Absolutely hilarious picture, and I love what the octopus is staring at. This one has 257 larger-than-average sized pieces, with lots of randomly shaped rectangle and triangle pieces. I really like the connectors in this one too, with the various circle, duck, and tail connectors. And what is the octopus looking at? You'll have to open the box to see!



#9 Jonik Wizard Workshop (358 pieces)

A really fun picture, with all sorts of wizarding chaos going on. The pieces are "axe" shaped, so every other piece goes in a different direction, with connectors shaped like arrow heads and tails. (and no doubt it was the cat that caused all the trouble! ;) )

Zoom-in on the flying red imp:


#8 Kristian Adam Jacuzzi Boyz (283 pieces)

A hilarious picture that just makes me laugh whenever I see it.

All the pieces are themed after water and plumbing, with threaded pipe connectors mixed-in with dripping water connectors.

The edge is cut along the picture, so you don't get the black part shown below.

There's even random faucets sticking out of the silhouette.



#7 Roch Urbaniak Sage of Yamatai  (346 pieces)

The rectangular connectors work really well with this theme, and help give the puzzle a completely different feel from the others. The themed edge looks great too!

#6 Rachell Sumpter Islander (262 pieces)

Beautiful when put together, and the shapes fit so well too. It starts off pretty slow with not much to make out, but it turns into a work of art with the picture and piece design when finished. The piece edges do get in the way of the artwork a bit, but that also helps you see the beautiful overall piece patterns too. 



#5 Richard Friend The Just Reproach (386 pieces)

Really beautiful colors, and I love the artwork.

The pieces are almost shaped like traditional pieces, but they're angled kind of like in a frame, with everything converging in the center.

Plus, there's a cat, so bonus points!


#4 Bruce Riley Stem Cell (191 pieces)

My first Artifact puzzle, this one has a stunning picture with some perfectly themed piece design. It's full of hex shaped pieces and connectors, with lots of little organisms roaming about the puzzle.

The silhouette is really well done too, with everything expanding outward in little bubbles.


#3 Diego Mazzeo Mechanical Griffin (207 pieces)

A fun steampunk picture, and the piece design really takes inspiration from the artwork on this one. Everything in this puzzle is based around gears, with gear shapes used in the silhouette and connectors.

(Spoiler alert!) There's even inner gears that you can actually turn once you complete it with a special key! I really hope to see more elaborate moving pieces in the future!


#2 Dan Dos Santos Stalking The Unicorn

I really like this artwork, it just kind of draws you into this strange new world. I haven't actually read the Mike Resnick book this is from, but I really like how deep this puzzle goes, with the footstep pieces traversing the puzzle, and arrow connectors lading everywhere (but maybe somewhere?)

#1 Justin Hillgrove Imps and Monsters (442 pieces)

A really fun picture that you can't help but smile at, with a huge cast of colorful characters, and some amazing piece design that captures the spirit of these little forest creatures. 

The pieces sort of bend around each other in different patterns, so every piece has a different feel to it. And the whimsies are some of the most animated characters I've seen, with the little forest creature up to who knows what across the puzzle.


Have you done 100 or more of our puzzles and want to share your top 10 favorites and why? Other puzzlers would love to hear! Send us an email to


6 comments on Hertel's Top 10
  • Hronir Jones
    Hronir JonesFebruary 26, 2022

    I second Hertel’s opinion on most of these, somehow the Stalking the Unicorn escaped my notice, but sounds fun, thanks for the tip-off!

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