Nervous System – Geode Puzzle [Review]

As difficult as it is pretty.

Location: at home

Date Played: April 6, 2018

Team size: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯; we recommend 1-2

Price: $60 per puzzle

REA Reaction

Geode Puzzles by Nervous System are beautiful, intricate, and remarkably challenging for compact, approximately 180-piece jigsaw puzzles.

If you love jigsaw puzzles and don’t balk at the price, I highly recommend putting one of these on your table.

Geode puzzle mostly assembled.

Who is this for?

  • Experienced jigsaw puzzlers
  • People who like beautiful, well-created things

Why play?

  • Beautiful and challenging design
  • Incredibly intricate laser cut wooden pieces
  • Impressively challenging for its size

Setup

Nervous System’s Geode Puzzles are programmatically generated, laser cut wooden jigsaw puzzles made with quarter-inch birch plywood.

Nearly all of the pieces have thin, asymmetrical tendrils that interlock in wildly unpredictable patterns.

The backs of 7 geode puzzle piece with long tendrils.

Nervous System offers 23 different styles, each with a different color pattern and shape. They all have irregular edges.

Because these puzzles are programmatically generated, there is no definitive piece count, so they are all “about 180 pieces.” The pieces came together in a compact 8.5 inch puzzle.

Geode puzzle fully assembled.

Analysis

+ I love odd jigsaw puzzles with unusual pieces. These thin tendril-like pieces were incredible. They dramatically amplified the difficulty.

+ The unusual shape of the puzzle added a good challenge.

– While none of my pieces broke, I am confident that it would be easy to accidentally snap limbs off of the puzzle pieces. I wouldn’t give this to brutes or children.

? Nervous System’s website offers an ever-changing selection of variants on the Geode puzzle. I have no idea if the fact that they are computer generated and unique offers any tangible benefit to the puzzler.

– While each one is unique. A palette swap or minor shape variation won’t be enough to bring me back to this particular product line.

+ While solving this Geode Puzzle felt like a worthy challenge, it wasn’t a massive commitment. It required less than 2 hours of my time. There weren’t thousands of pieces for me to flip, collate, and manage.

Tips for Playing

  • Be gentle with the pieces. If they don’t fit, wiggle things gently. If that doesn’t work, try a different piece.
  • You don’t need a lot of space or time, but Geode Puzzles are more difficult than you’d expect, given the size of the puzzles.

Buy your copy of Nervous System’s Geode Puzzle, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Thank you to Amanda Harris and Drew Nelson for lending us their Geode Puzzle.

 

New York Puzzle Company – New Yorker Coffee Break [Puzzle Review]

Pour over the details.

Manufacturer: New York Puzzle Company

Puzzle Type: Jigsaw Puzzle

Price: $19.95

Puzzle Overview

Coffee Break is a 500 piece jigsaw from the New York Puzzle Company’s New Yorker line. This is an entire collection of beautiful New Yorker magazine covers, not just the illustration, but the entire cover (date, price, and magazine name).

This particular puzzle is an intricate satire of complex modern coffee brewing trends illustrated by Christoph Niemann and originally published on November 16, 2015.

Puzzle close up shows an intriacte series of pipes, and Neimann's signature.

Materials & pieces

New York Puzzle Company puzzle pieces are a thick, durable cardboard. The pieces interlock well. For the most part, it’s clear when pieces do and do not go together.

Additionally, the cardboard is 100% recycled and the inks are soy-based.

An assortment of 6 puzzle pieces flipped over so that the viewer focuses on their irregular shape.

The pieces themselves are fairly irregular, making this a less predictable puzzle to assemble.

Why this puzzle?

Having recently watched the Netflix series Abstract: The Art of Design, I was pretty enthralled with Niemann’s episode (S1E1).

I loved the idea of having to puzzle through an almost entirely black and white jigsaw puzzle.

Should I buy the New York Puzzle Company’s Coffee Break?

Niemann’s Coffee Break illustration is incredibly intricate. Jigsaw puzzling through this image was both a beautiful and challenging experience.

Piecing this image together required me to visually interrogate every little intricacy of the illustration. By the time I was finished, I had gotten to know every reference and joke in the image.

It was challenging and occasionally frustrating because it’s essentially a black and white puzzle loaded with false leads and rapidly changing patterns. As soon as I had a handle on one section of the puzzle, it was finished… and suddenly there was a new section to learn. As a result, this took me about double the time that a 500-piece puzzle usually requires.

In the end, Coffee Break was a fun, yet fair challenge. It’s a wonderful illustration to spend some time exploring.

Buy Coffee Break today.

(If you purchase via our Amazon links, you will help support Room Escape Artist as we will receive a very small percentage of the sale).