Customer reviews are one of the best things about the Internet, and the quality and thoughtfulness of the reviews you guys write is impressive and helpful.
To celebrate your reviews, the last few years we've been asking a panel of puzzle connoisseurs to tell us the "best" customer reviews to award.
A huge thanks to this year's judges who are all past winners of this contest: Michael Fox, Shannon Bergeron, and Martha Hagen, who selected from the 114 reviews nominated by ya'll.
Here are the 12 winning reviews, in random order:
Review by Diane D.
Such a beautiful puzzle. The colors are rich and vibrant, and the image is tranquil. I was transported back to a time when people sat in cafes and shared tea and conversation with no cell phones in sight. And the hats - divine! The puzzle is not hard so the flow for me was satisfying and very relaxing. I will be doing this one again.
Review by Claire R
This hit pretty much everything I want in a puzzle: a colorful image that seems almost abstract on individual pieces and only gradually reveals itself as assembled, and a clever cut design that complements the image while remaining challenging to work. I love it when whimsies aren’t simply scattered but come together in mini-scenes, as they do here: the penguin contemplating the decapitated snowman is my favorite, but there are many other lovely touches. Each of the multi-piece whimsies uses a different connector type, which makes them feel almost like mini-puzzles in their own right and gave me many small, separate bursts of the satisfaction of “finishing” while I worked. I love the bears’ jagged fur-like cut the most, and I’m charmed that the biggest bear’s ear is used as a connector. Also, it's a winter puzzle that isn't strongly Christmas-themed. More of those, please!
Review by Barb and Larry
Attention puzzlers who are searching for a difficult puzzle!! You need go no further! First of all. you will notice right away that there has never been a review published for this puzzle, "Toucans". We think we know why----is it because no one has ever managed to finish it until NOW?? Yes, we completed it and now we are here to tell the tale. Just to be clear, we selected this puzzle for its potential mellow qualities. We liked the beauty of the image and the lovely colors, relishing the chance to brighten up our winter days with this stunning jungle scene. We also love whimsy pieces, and this puzzle promised a plethora of those. Lured by the assurance of such splendor and charm, we launched ourselves into the unknown Toucan-Territory. We were surprised by these very tricky Toucans, and their Wily Ways We were ever thankful for the numerous whimsies, as we needed them to help us machete our way out of the jungle! We have completed almost 100 Artifact puzzles, and this was one of the most challenging. We were rewarded by the stunning spectacle of these seven Toucans enjoying their native habitat, and also by a good sense of accomplishing this Puzzling Project. We recommend that you give it a try too, especially if you are one of those aficionados seeking a stimulating, invigorating tussle!!
Review by Isabelle
A Japanese painting from the 18th century, already that's a good start! In a way, there is a great similitude with Van Gogh's "Almond Blossom" puzzle, which I also enjoyed very much. To be honest though, this one is way more difficult. The moon and the calligraphy parts are relatively easy to identify and assemble, as are the pieces around the whimsies (thank God there is a good number of them, all cute and related to Japan: koi and fugu fish, a paw-waving cat, a crane, a woman in kimono, etc.). After that, I stared and stared at the remaining pieces, could find a match once a day if lucky. I aimed too high with this one. I may have to go back to it later. Like a path to zen-itude, it takes time and tons of patience and humbleness. Not for everyone, but very experienced puzzlers will be delighted.
Gerhard Munthe Princess and the Knight
Review by Rachel and Aaron Cato
Actual conversation when this puzzle arrived. R: Oh cool, look they wrote me a thank you note! A: Yeah, because you buy a #$%#ton of puzzles from them. R: Oh shut up! A: Babe, I think this is a kids puzzle. R: And I'm supposed to care because???? It has a princess on it! Super cute puzzle and yes, its a kids puzzle but I love princesses LOL. If you love princesses also, or have little ones this is super cute and fun to work. The pieces are really big, so easy to hold for little hands.
Review by Devon K
Very fun puzzle. Cunning layout that doesn't give any of the fancy pieces away, the surreal elements of the piece come out nicely as you spend time with it. Fun extra.
Review by Shani
The castle situation is epic! It was worth doing the puzzle just for that delightful bonus! This puzzle was a challenge, especially due to the limited color palette, although I did find that the leaves were different from tree to tree, which made it easier to sort to some extent. It was still tough, but not too frustrating to be enjoyable. There was a generous number of adorable woodland- and fantasy-related whimsies, including multi-piece whimsies; the website's picture only shows a small fraction of them. So big plus on that.
Fairytale Cottage by Rekunenko
Review by Martha
Your eyes will be met with a real treat when you tip this puzzle out! The colors are truly fantastic; deep, saturated pastels and jewel tones. Wispy little flowers. Rekunenko really brings it with this one! And the whimsies; there are so many! And they’re super cute. And it’s fun recalling all the fairy tales they’ve come from. Delightful in every way, this puzzle is currently my happy place. And, like any great Fairy Tale, this is one to enjoy again and again!
Review by Gary Hertel
This puzzle has some of the most interesting piece design I've seen, with long string like pieces "looping" through other pieces, and the border is just magical with all the different patterns sticking out everywhere. Combine all that with a fun gradient pattern full of little stencil patterns and I couldn't stop putting this one together! As an added bonus this puzzle also comes with an extra stencil toy that you can draw your own patterns like those in the picture too. I would recommend some extra color pens with long tips to get the best results, but it's really fun being able to draw the shapes in the puzzle too!
Review by Dee Myers
This puzzle is both dazzling and challenging. Although it is is primarily gold, the stunning images made it delightful to put together. I do not have a steady hand for the connector-less pieces but found a way around it, I put together all the pieces with connectors first, thereby creating a frame for the connector less pieces. By assembling it in this order, there was also an unexpected image. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Aaron Wolf's Cathedral of the Changing Tides
Review by Peter C
"Cathedral of The Tides" is a magical puzzle that is both delightful and challenging. The unconventional uneven edges require a different visual perspective that at first may seem frustrating, but then lead to many high fives when you get the hang of it. The image has an inviting feel from a far away fantasy land that drew me in over and over. The level of difficulty was just right for my wife and I, who are reasonably good, but definitely not puzzle superstars. Highly recommended!
Review by L. L.
I wanted to work a puzzle that had a challenging, unusual piece shape. This one did not disappoint. These long, skinny mini-hex pieces forced me to look for connections in a completely new, different way. Instead of, say, the common matching of a knob in one puzzle piece to an indent in another, with this puzzle I needed to visualize which hex piece was going to connect with another across an extended vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line in space. This is not how my mind (or yours I bet) is used to attacking a jigsaw puzzle. At first, matching the pieces was hit-or-miss; but by mid-puzzle, I was seeing connections with so much more flow and ease. My brain had definitely laid down some new neural pathways in order to navigate this puzzle. Very cool. If you're on the fence about trying this one, I'd tell you to check your existential anxiety at the door and dive right into The Scream....the water's fine.
Review by Michael Brandt
This is a great service. I became addicted to wooden puzzles nearly a decade ago and started buying them several times year and letting those people that needed to know what my preferred birthday/Christmas gifts were. But…they’re not cheap and after some years went by shelf space began to become a concern. But with this club price and space became of little concern and I joined in November 2021. Now I’ve just (9-1-22) finished my 100th puzzle in a bit less than 10 months. There is such a wide selection now that all preferences for difficulty and/or subject matter can be accommodated. I’ve done them in solving times ranging from 48 minutes to 23 hours. I had a wishlist of over 50 when I started and new offerings appear at such a rate that I still have about 40, so perhaps if I keep the same solving rate I will run out of interesting things eventually but it will be many years yet before that happens. I can’t imagine anyone who enjoys puzzle solving being less than thrilled by being a member. It’s like being in a perpetual state of pre-birthday/Christmas anticipation. The mechanics of receiving and dispatching the puzzles is virtually effortless.
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Yes! We're running this contest again in 2023. Any customer review written on our website in 2023 will be automatically entered. You can nominate reviews here.
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