Product Type: Ravensburger Puzzle
Newest Review: ... in a bag were 540 individual pieces of quite hard plastic puzzle. Each bit has a number on which is meant to help you position them in... more
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Ravensburger - The World - Puzzleball
Member Name: elysia2003
Ravensburger - The World - Puzzleball
Advantages: Fun, educational and a bit different to the normal run of the mill puzzles
Disadvantages: High(ish) price point
*** Ravensburger ***
~ About the company ~
Ravensburger first started off life as a publishing house in 1883. Just one year later, the company diversified into games, and at the turn of the century broadened the range to include activity books, art instruction manuals, and well as children's games. The classic card game Happy Families was among the first. 1912 saw the German company began to export its goods to Western Europe and Russia; since then the company has gone from strength to strength and is now the primary manufacturer of puzzles around the world.
Since the advent of television, and more and more technology in our homes, jigsaw puzzles are becoming less popular than they once were. To keep up with the changes, Ravensburger had to do something different to attract a new generation to their toys and games. First of all game the 3D puzzles where you made a puzzle the traditional way on a flat surface, and then afterwards you re- constructed the jigsaw by slotting it into a frame to make a three dimensional version featuring the character in the initial puzzle.
~ Puzzle Ball ~
Puzzle Ball revolutionised these 3D puzzles. Never before has a puzzle been a spherical shape. Due to issues with stability these puzzles have to be manufactured from plastic, and although they do slot together, they do so by little clips rather than interlinking circular lugs.
At 540 pieces, the Discover the World puzzle is aimed at the adult market, with the smaller children's puzzle balls starting at 54 pieces, and moving through to 104, 180, 270 and finally this one. My daughter started off with a 104 piece puzzle ball featuring her favourite Bratz doll characters Christmas 2009 and seeing how much fun and enjoyment that puzzle gave her, Santa last Christmas decided to go straight for the big one.
~ Price, Where to Buy and How to Construct ~
Being spherical, what is the obvious design for it? A globe of course, and wanting this present to be educational as well as fun, this is what was decided upon. At a full price of £24.84 from Argos (December 2012) it may seem an expensive price for a jigsaw, but this is a superb quality item, and being of plastic construction, it can be dismantled and reconstructed many times without it suffering any ill effects. Although we haven't dismantled this one as yet, we did so on many occasions with her smaller model.
You can construct this like a traditional jigsaw and search and add each piece as you find it. On smaller puzzle balls you are given both the bottom most and uppermost pieces as a solid section (which would normally cover about four singular pieces) to start you off or indeed finish the puzzle nicely, but on this Globe, the pieces are the same size throughout.
~ Age Recommendations and the Puzzle ~
This puzzle is aimed at children/adults of age twelve plus, and for them working this puzzle would be quite a challenge. My daughter is only eight and as such, she did require a lot of help during construction, not only with finding the matching the pieces, but also holding it without putting too much pressure on the structure while adding the next piece. There is a lovely quick way of building this up though without the challenge - all the pieces are numbered.
At first we started off doing it by following the numbers, fit one to two, and then add three etcetera, but just until we got the shape of the puzzle going. I would recommend this technique if you are giving it to a child under the recommended age, but after a while, my daughter loved seeing the globe grow and began to enjoy the traditional way of completing it.
This was indeed a challenge and it was completed over several evenings, possibly even a week. My daughter at eight years old found roughly about an hour at a time ample to do this, and any more she certainly would have begin to lose interest. Older children and adults would have the concentration skills and patience to sit for longer periods I would expect.
~ Size and Assembly ~
At 22 cm's diameter this is a larger sized globe, and would make an ideal display feature. I do love the way a duo of stands are included. The main display one angles the globe at a tilt as one would expect on a traditional globe of this nature. The stand is chrome effect and is self assembly. This is easily done, and was indeed completed by my daughter. You simply push the chromed metal ends into some black plastic sections that hold the whole structure together. A second stand, for either displaying or for placing the ball on while in construction, is a blue platform with a dimple in which to rest the ball. I do like this feature as children could view the World from any angle, rather than trying to view the South Pole through the rather strange angle of the tilt.
~ My Thoughts ~
This is a lovely educational toy, both for learning the art of patience, and the geographical aspect, and I wholly recommend it for learning and reference. The quality is superb and will sure to be a part of my daughter's education for a long time to come. We will at some point dismantle our globe, and put it back together but for the time being it is on display and has become a focal point in our living room. The high price point is a little off putting, but there is a smaller child's version available to buy if you should require a similar item for someone younger. If you think that this is a puzzle, a learning tool, and something a bit different to run of the mill jigsaws, I think this is excellent value for money.
~ Other information ~
The company and a list of other products of this nature can be found online here: http://www.ravensburger.com/uk/start/ind​ ;ex.html
Thank you for reading my review, which may also be posted on other sites.
Summary: Challenging if assembled without cheating, an excellent learning tool and quite fun too.
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