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I bought Alice this Puzzleball last Christmas, she loves jigsaws and I thought it would ring the changes for her - plus The Simpsons has been her favourite TV programme for years so I knew she'd appreciate the design. This is the 240 piece ball so the 'medium' one as others in the range have 140 or 520 pieces. It was strange though as after Boxing Day 2010 I didn't see her play with or complete the puzzle, until eventually I forgot all about it - then Chrimbo 2011 arrives and my sister turns up with another Puzzleball, this time a larger one. Alice revealed after a bit of prodding that she'd found her original Simpsons ball too fiddly and had given up. So my sister, a woman with infinitely more patience than me, spent a good chunk of Christmas Day helping Alice put together her previous years pressie.
I watched, even helped for a few minutes, but got bored after a short while. You see, a Puzzleball is more about numbers than pictures - making it totally different to doing a jigsaw even though the pieces are pretty much jigsaw puzzle shaped. The pieces all come loose in a bag; the two 'ends' of the ball (ie. the designated top and bottom) come in large pieces and you work your way up from the bottom. Each puzzle piece is numbered on the back and really it's just a (boring) case of building up the ball a row at a time, alternatively you can attempt to follow the picture on the box but I think you'd need to be a Puzzleball master to do that with this particular puzzle as there are a million and one characters squished into an obligatory (and not very helpful, actually) yellow background.
Alice chose to go down the route of following the sequence of numbers, which meant laboriously searching out all the 60s, then all the 70s, then all the 80s - gawd, the puzzle bored me almost to tears and I wasn't even participating by this point! I could see it taking shape after about the fourth row of pieces had been assembled, by then I could tell roughly how big the finished ball was going to be (not very) and also start making sense of a very hectic scene.
The majority of pieces slot together smoothly, but some were quite stiff and needed more persuasion to tap into place. The pieces are obviously curved to create the finished ball shape, they are made of a brittle feeling plastic and are smaller than I was expecting based on any Puzzleball piccies I've seen. That doesn't make them any more fiddly to put together, but it does mean than the finished ball is a lot smaller than I thought it would be. My sister had problems fixing the top into place, Alice had no chance of getting that section together and was the first to admit it - the first time I watched my sister attempt it she almost cracked the whole ball back into pieces! You have to be really careful when fitting this final section as it would be easy to ruin all your hard work; in the end it took Alice to hold the ball in position and my sister to gently push the top down, it'd take some patience (not to mention skill) for a child even of twelve to do it themselves.
Once completed the ball can be displayed on the included plastic stand or broken up and kept in the box. Being a massive Simpsons fan Alice has kept hers on the stand so she can look at it, the scene of literally hundreds of Simpson's characters past and present is a fab one and done to resemble a Where's Wally? page. Providing it's not knocked around or roughly handled I can't see any reason why the completed puzzle should be damaged or start coming apart, the basic but adequate stand will keep the ball securely in one spot so it's unlikely to roll off - and even if it did the worst that could happen is that the puzzle would break up and need to be completed again!
My only issue with this Puzzleball (and the rest of them) is the fact that having it constantly on display is likely to mean that it's rarely actually played with - I can tell already that Alice is thinking of this more as an ornament than a jigsaw so maybe next year I'll buy her another one but supplement the gift with a traditional flat puzzle, which is likely to get more use. The recommended minimum age of eight years is a bit optimistic, not because the puzzle is particularly difficult but due to the fact that an eight year old will probably not have the patience to sort out the numbers and fit the fiddly parts together.
I like jigsaws and usually stick to wasgij ones however I received this one for my birthday so thought I would give it ago. Having never done a puzzle ball before I was not really sure what to expect.
On opening the box I found a sealed pack containing the jigsaw pieces some instructions and a black stand for balancing the final puzzle ball on. The puzzle ball itself contains 240 pieces.
On opening the packaging I found inside 2 long rectangle pieces which fit together and 2 circle pieces which you roll along the thectagle one so you can see what your puzzle ball should look like when finished. I found this a little strange so put it to one side. I am not used to following pictures when completing jigsaws as the 'Wasgij' ones I usually do have no pictures of what the final product will look like.
On opening the packet I also found that the starting pieces and end pieces had already been seperated from the others as well and put in there own bags. I also found that all the jigsaw pieces had numbers on them in the order for them to go on the ball. I have never known this before and my boyfriend said this was 'Jigsaw cheating' lol.
Knowing the numbers are there means its hard not to follow them. What I did was seperated the numbers into there 10s then put 20 together so for example I put numbers 10-30 together. I then turned them over the picture side was facing me and then found there correct place on the jigsaw. If the numbers were not there I obviously would have put in more effort and it would have been more of a challenge but they were there so I took advantage of the help.
Some of the pieces I found were tricky to put into place some were easy to push in from the front whilst others it was easier to push through from teh back. I found the jigsaw easy to construct holding it in one hand whilst buliding and I only got frustrated trying to put the last couple of pieces in as other pieces dropped into the ball as I pushed them in. It took me about 2 hours to complete the ball and once completed it sits well on its stand.
Overall I did enjoy doing this jigsaw (apart from the last pieces) and I may challenge myself to do it again without 'cheating' lol.
On trying to find something different for my son for Christmas last year and him being a Simpsons fanatic I thought this would be the ideal gift for him. He enjoys challenges and as this isn't your typical jigsaw puzzle I didn't think he would get bored with it. Being a globe shape would mean that it wasn't 'uncool' to sit and do a jigsaw puzzle. Having had a few of these for my daughter we had an idea of how it worked.
The Simpsons puzzle has 240 pieces and comes with a plastic stand that aides you to put the pieces together and shape them as it curves them. It also comes with two pieces that show you the whole picture which you can use to see where the pieces are supposed to go (like the front of a jigsaw box) but this is quite small and the picture of this puzzle is quite crowded as it has almost all the Simpsons characters on it all crammed in so it is quite difficult to follow. We ended up using the numbers that are on the back of the pieces to assist you to make sure it was the right place.
Having the numbers on the back is a great help in this instance but could defeat the object of it being a puzzle.
The pieces are the size of normal flat jigsaw puzzles and they are hard durable plastic with a white background. Fitting them together is easy using the base as they become quite stiff but once you get to the last few where you can't really put your hands behind them, this is when it gets fiddly. On occasions you could push a piece too far and you have to try and navigate the piece back out again.
Once the puzzle is complete, you can place it on the base and it will be able to stand on its own. It does look great and it sits on the windowsill in my son's bedroom. It is a great addition to the room and every now and again he will take it apart and do it again.
What I like about these puzzles is that unlike your normal flat jigsaw that has to be took apart once done as it is in the way, these dont take up that much space. This one is only about 6 inches in diameter and fits perfectly on the windowsill.
The guide for this puzzle is 8 years and up. I think if the numbers were not on the back my 8 year old daughter would probably not be able to do this puzzle. It is quite difficult.
Saying that though it is a great novelty gift for a young person who would be delighted with the finished product. Once complete you can challenge each other to find a certain character (which is not as easy as you might think in the jumble of characters)
Overall I would recommend this as one of those presents someone else probably wouldn't think of buying.
I'm a bit of a sucker for novelty gifts - getting (or receiving) presents which represent some aspect of pop culture all the while being absolutely useless. I mean, no point in getting something practical as a present - if they need it, they'll buy it. But they'll never think of buying a Simpsons Puzzle Ball.
The Simpsons Puzzle Ball is, as you'd expect, a 3D puzzle in the shape of a globe. When I first got it I wasn't entirely sure I was going to bother with the thing. While it only had 240 pieces, I wasn't sure if a 3D puzzle was going to be very interesting to me. I didn't like them when they were flat to begin with.
I opened it anyway and noticed that it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The pieces are numbered at the back, so you don't have to go through all the trouble a lot of people put themselves through when they put a puzzle together. All you have to do is put it together from number 1 and the rest kind of completes itself after a while. Keeping it from falling over while building wasn't an issue, like I realised after I opened it and all in all, the finished result (it took me much less time than I thought) was actually quite cool.
The image is, as you can see, a huge Where's Wally mash of a lot of Simpsons characters, like the ones you see on those giant posters and as a finished globe it looks good (well, that's really up for debate) as a sort of gimmicky desk ornament. It's fun to try to find everyone
All in all, it's a pretty cool present and a lot more fun to put together than I thought it would be. Altogether, a pretty good puzzle
We've got a few of these Puzzle Balls but they hardly ever get used because none of us have got the patience to do jigsaws but when I found this Simpsons one in the cupboard that hadn't been opened I thought I'd have a go for something different to do.
It's easy to put together because all the jigsaw pieces are numbered on the inside and you build the ball in the order of the numbers. When it's finished the ball will show all the Simpsons characters and it looks nice and crowded like a Where's Wally scene and it's fun to spot the individual characters.
The jigsaw pieces are all plastic and curved so that you end up with a ball at the end of it so some of the pieces can be a bit hard to slot into place but once you've got the knack for it you should be able to get them all together with no problems.
When the puzzle is done it looks really good and you can slot it onto the stand that comes with it so you can display it and I think it looks brill but it doesn't half catch the dust and needs wiping every day. It's nice and colourful and everyone loves The Simpsons so I can't see that anyone wouldn't want this on display in their house.
The age on it is 8 years and over and I reckon that's right because I thought it was a bit tricky in some parts and my sister who's 10 had trouble with some of the pieces because of the curve. I think an 8 year old would be able to do it ok but they would find it more taxing than older kids but it's good for them to stretch their brains a bit. This puzzle is good for all ages I reckon because adults would be able to do it quick with no trouble and the younger kids would feel proud of themselves when they finally completed it.
This is good for people who don't like doing a big jigsaw because you can do it bit by bit and if you put it away half done then it doesn't take as much room up as a normal flat jigsaw and you can just put it in the cupboard for later.
The full price is about £10.00 and I think that's good because it will get a good bit of useage if you have a few people in your house and even when it's been done and kept as an ornament its worth a tenner for such a nice looking thing.
Was looking for something different in the puzzle line for my daughter and come across the Simpsons puzzle ball from Ravensbureger.
The box contained 240 plastic shaped pieces,one stand and a guide.
The concept of the puzzle ball is very clever and very simple, slot the shaped pieces together to form a ball!! the pieces are sturdy plastic and very durable and will take a lot of punishment and they some times need to as the pieces need a bit of persuading sometimes to slot together as they are curved and can be quite awkward to put together nicely so the lines are smooth.
This will probably not appeal to hardcore puzzle do-er's as the pieces are numbered on the inside but there is still the challenge of finding them and getting ti to slot together nicely.
My 9yr old really enjoyed doing this and took a few hours to do it, once done they display nicely on a plastic saucer (provided) and can be done again and again.
Probably would not pay full price and bought mine from e-bay for £4!!!