Gift Guide #13 – Puzzles of all types

Well, about a month ago, we (as a group) had a great idea to get a bunch of things written down and provide our readers with a nice gift giving list.  Welp, let’s just say that we didn’t get our you-know-what together…  So, instead of a big list, I have decided to just make some shorter posts with things that catch my eye (or things that I notice to be on sale).   As I make these impromptu posts, I will try to stick to things which can be delivered prior to Dec. 25 — this likely means that they are things in stock on Amazon Prime.  (All the Amazon links here are affiliate links, and the Opinionated Gamers may earn a commission if you buy from those links)

You know, some days you just want to put some puzzles together.  While this is really a boardgame blog, and not a puzzle blog – there is a fair amount of overlap here as well as a few hybrid products that will appeal to fans of both.

This fall, I just received a set of puzzles thru Kickstarter which I have really enjoyed – Quezzle: https://amzn.to/3yhqtig

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This is part high quality wooden puzzle and part treasure hunt.  We really enjoyed this, and it took about 10 hours total for us to put the puzzles together and then solve all the puzzles.  Sure, the price seems high – but the Unidragon wooden puzzles are expensive to start with, and you’re getting 4 of them in this set.

A high quality wooden puzzle which also doubles as a conversation piece is the Codex Silenda –

https://amzn.to/30gO3z5

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This is a book made up a number of wooden pages, each of which is its own puzzle to be solved!  Mine was completed once and has since been on display on our library shelves.

The idVenture boxes are quite amazing as well – I have two of them at home, and I have really enjoyed them.  https://amzn.to/3DKhmrp

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These puzzles are intricate, all wooden, and can be reset when solved to pass on to someone else. This particular one that I have shown here only has 1 left at the time I am writing this, but there are a couple of other varities available online as well.

Another fun thing are the escape room games which include jigsaw puzzles as part of the experience. One example would be EXIT: The Sacred Temple, which we reviewed in the past.

exit sacred temple

You can find it here – https://amzn.to/3rZqlmu

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The Escape Room: The Game series also has their own hybrid product: https://amzn.to/3dI80C5

Another option are the Ravensburger Exit Puzzles.  These have the EXIT name on the box, but they are more traditional jigsaws.  When you have put the puzzle together, then you can try to solve the mystery posed on the instruction sheet – and you’ll find the answer in the art of the puzzle.

exit-puzzle-observatory

We reviewed the series here… And you can buy an example here: https://amzn.to/3EQm8oE

There are a number of other series which offer you a puzzle to complete and then a mystery to solve. A few examples:

Orient Express: https://amzn.to/31Wl04f

Murder at the Museum: https://amzn.to/31Qs0zJ

Murder on the Titanic – https://amzn.to/3yhJKjG

Another fun “traditional” jigsaw puzzle series that we have done are the Magic Puzzles.  They are not strictly traditional as there is really neat gimmick about them that you will discover as you complete the puzzle. https://amzn.to/31WklQj

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After you have finished the puzzle, you get a bit more fun out of them as you can try to find the 50+ Easter Eggs in the art.

I’m not really sure how to categorize this, but I guess it’s a puzzle… And I include it here because I’m in the process of getting one for one of our OG writers.  It’s a cow puzzle, where you have to put the cuts of meat in the right place.  https://amzn.to/3dYms9n

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And, as a bonus, it’s a tool to learn Japanese beef vocabulary as the correct name for each cut of beef is helpfully included on the piece.  And as the final inducement to BUY IT NOW, note that the pieces are pink in color (as raw meat should be) – but as you handle the meat – or use a blow dryer on it – you will “cook” the meat and turn it brown.

And not everyone wants to put things together – so I’ll include my favorite dexterity puzzle here too – the Perplexus Epic – https://amzn.to/3oLHIFt

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Everything is contained in this sphere and you manipulate it around getting the ball to traverse the maze (with so many varied types of obstacles) to the end.  The hardest and most frustrating thing about this is that when you fail, you have no choice but to start from the beginning on each try.

One other super addicting puzzle that my family enjoys nearly every single day is this tangram calendar – each day, you are challenged to rearrange the pieces and leave holes to the day, date and month of the current day.  https://amzn.to/3oNOYAo

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It’s trickier than it looks, and some days are solved in 30 seconds while other days take up to ten minutes. There are about 100 different color stylers and sellers on Amazon, and they seem to change in price/shipping on a hourly basis.  But I’m sure you can find one that is in the color you want and will deliver by Christmas.

Last, but not least, you may need to a puzzle caddy – to either store your stuff nicely so that your kids or pets don’t run away with a piece… Or just when you can’t solve it in one sitting – to allow you to pack stuff up and work later.

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This one is a board with sorting drawers – https://amzn.to/3pRcNGU

This one has a couple of platforms where you can sort, and a larger one where you work on the puzzle – https://amzn.to/3rXssY7

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That should hopefully give you a few puzzle ideas to share with your friends and family!

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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