- Puzzle’s illustration is more indicative of difficulty.
- Number of puzzle pieces is a factor, but not the primary.
- Potting Shed Cats’ illustration is challenging due to repeating patterns.
When the twins started solving jigsaw puzzle, it was a natural progression for them to solve puzzles with more and more pieces. From this experience, we made an assumption that a puzzle’s difficulty is strongly correlated to the number of pieces. For example, an one thousand piece jigsaw puzzle is assumed to be harder than a five hundred piece puzzle. However, after solving more than seventy different puzzles of varying sizes, we realized that is not completely true. For example, Potting Shed Cats, our most recent puzzle, is a 750 piece puzzle from Buffalo Game’s Cat Collection. It took us almost three hours and twenty five minutes to complete. While, Umbrellas, an 1000 piece puzzle from Re-marks, took us about three hours solve. Why the disparity in difficulty?
From our experience there are three main factors that contribute to a puzzle’s difficulty: puzzle’s illustration, number of pieces, and puzzle design. The illustration is probably the biggest factor in a puzzle’s difficulty as it provides visual cues for solving the puzzle. For example, an illustration that consist of a single color is more difficult to solve than an illustration with unique patterns spread out evenly. Next, the number of pieces indicates how much effort it’ll take to sort the puzzle. More pieces will take more effort to sort than smaller number of pieces. Lastly, the puzzle’s design, such as shape of the puzzle and pieces provide clues to solving the puzzle. For example, if internal puzzle pieces have straight edges, it could cause confusion on rather it is a border piece or not.
Specifically for Potting Shed Cats, the illustration is more complex than Umbrella’s unique collage patterns. Specifically, the blue painted wood and grey cats’ fur are repetitive patterns and takes effort to determine which cat the pieces belong to. The sorting strategy was focused on finding the edges, the cats, pots, onions, basket, green yarn, and red lantern.
Overall, it took four puzzlers almost three hours and twenty five minutes (3:22:49) to solve the puzzle. So far the puzzles in Buffalo Games’ Cats Collection have been very entertaining to solve. Puzzles range from humorous (Ice Cream Raiders) to challenging ones, such as this one. Highly recommend the Cats Collection to cat lovers.