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Wrebbit Puzz3D

New York  New Bavarian Castle

For those who haven't seen them, I'll briefly describe these puzzles.

This line of puzzles, from the Wrebbit company, are 3-dimensional jigsaw puzzles. The pieces are shaped much like the pieces in regular 2-dimensional jigsaw puzzles, but are much thicker. They are made of foam, with a thin cardboard layer (containing the image) glued on top. This makes them about 1/4 inch thick. Each 3D puzzle consists of several smaller puzzles, which are simple flat panels. These panels have interlocking "teeth" on their edges, which allows them to be joined to each other, and to base sections. This produces the final construction. Most of the puzzles so far have been for buildings and structures, but some are for boats, trains, etc.

The methods used to solve these puzzles start out identical to the usual methods used to solve 2D jigsaw puzzles. Typically, this involves identifying the most distinctive features, such as edges, bright colours, notable patterns, etc. and separating out pieces with those features. It is then possible to assemble those pieces into larger assemblies. In a 2D puzzle, the assembly will be a chunk of the final picture, and is often set aside or placed inside the border in the right spot. In a 3D puzzle there are several separate panels, so a separated group may end up being all or most of one or more complete panels, which can then be set aside.

The key is to reduce the number of pieces that are involved. Take out the easiest to take out set, assemble them, and set them aside. Continue doing this until you are left with the tricky bits. Then, you often have to start going piece by piece. I usually pick a slightly special spot in the existing puzzle, and search for it in the loose pieces. If I find it and place it, I start again, often with the next piece in line. On very easy puzzles, this searching step might not even be used. Since a 2D puzzle usually gets built in its border frame (since the border pieces, having straight sides, are one of the sets of more readily spotted pieces), the end result is the completed picture.

There is one early extra step involved with these 3D puzzles. Because the panels are not all nice rectangles, and because of the teeth and occasional interior holes, there is a fair amount of waste material. Much of this is separated at the factory, but, like 2D puzzles, not all pieces are fully separated. The "honest" puzzler will of course separate all pieces before starting the actual assembly! With the 3D puzzles, the excess stuff is marked by having red dots all over the top, cardboard, surface. Remove those during your initial sorting, but save them, in case you accidentally removed something you shouldn't have. I've twice found missing pieces in the waste bag.

In a 3D puzzle, the end result of these steps is a pile of flat panels. These can range in size from a single piece (with "teeth" and flat or curved sides all around) to larger panels with dozens of pieces. The final step is that of assembling the panels into the final structure by locking the teeth together, and pressing other teeth into holes in the base or in other panels.

You definitely can't just pick up pieces and try to place them in the final puzzle, since their "place" might be two feet up in the air! Only someone who hasn't done a lot of 2D jigsaw puzzles might try that anyway.

I have several Wrebbit "Puzz3D" 3D puzzles, and have been quite happy with them. My first was the original "Bavarian Castle" puzzle. I like castles, and I like jigsaw puzzles, so it was a natural. This one is still my favourite, too. Later, I got "Camelot", "Chateau do Chemenceau", "Citadel on the Lake" and "Big Ben". I have a similar puzzle from another company that has wrap-around corners, but I gave up on it when I realized that the corner pieces were never going to stay bent. None of these puzzles has had any missing pieces (as expected - a company that ships jigsaw puzzles with missing pieces will get yelled at a lot!)

One of my latest Puzz3D is the huge New York, New York puzzle. It is now complete, and I've got lots of pictures and more to say about it.

My latest Puzz3D is the new Bavarian Castle puzzle. It is new release of an old puzzle, that is somewhat better because it has puzzle-piece roof pieces instead of cardboard roofs. Unfortunately, the only pictures of the puzzle that come with it, those on the box, are pictures of the old version, which can make final assembly of this new version somewhat frustrating.

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