(What If #11) Elizabeth and Raleigh

(What If #11) Elizabeth and Raleigh by Geoff Tristam – Ravensburger – 1000 pieces

What If puzzles are great fun, I love figuring out how things ended up and seeing the picture taking shape. As usual, I never show the entire completed image because I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone else. Half the fun is finding out what happens with everyone and how the picture is different from the box image – no spoilers here!

If you’ve never done a What If or Wasgij puzzle, the premise is simple; the image on the box is not the image you puzzle. Something happens to change the scene and you puzzle the result. What If #11 gives us this scenario….Good Queen Bess enjoys visiting favorite courtiers like Sir Walter Raleigh. He is handsome and dashing, and Elizabeth might just be fooled by his chat-up lines. But WHAT IF Sir Walter wasn’t a true gentleman? And WHAT IF Elizabeth really fell for his charms?

I didn’t enjoy this puzzle as much as I usually do, but it had nothing to do with the puzzle itself. The quality was great, the image is fun and funny – the problem was me. It took much longer than normal to complete because of physical issues making it difficult to sit and work on it for any real length of time. This got me a little down and I was avoiding it which kept the vicious cycle going. Taking too long, upset about it taking too long, avoid working on it which makes it take even longer – repeat. Eventually I got it done though, I promise I did the entire puzzle not just that one little section. 😉

Don’t be intimidated by these types of puzzles; they’re not as difficult as you might think. Ravensburger has the What If series, Jumbo does the Wasgij line, PuzzleTwist is a newer company whose puzzles all have a twist on the box image, and there are probably more I haven’t tried yet. I don’t think they’re too difficult; you can usually get clues from the image on the box which will help you with the assembly. The background is usually the same, many times the people are wearing the same clothing, etc. It’s good exercise for your brain and makes you really pay attention to the images, colors, and shapes. Besides all that – they’re great fun!

Santa & Rudolph

(What If #9) Santa & Rudolph by Geoff Tristam – Ravensburger – 1000 pieces

Not counting my “Christmas in July” on the blog, this was my first Christmas puzzle of the season! As usual, I’m only showing the character shown on the box – no spoilers. You’d miss out on the fun of discovering for yourself why it’s better if Santa keeps his job instead of handing it over to Rudolph. 😉

I adore Geoff Tristam’s sense of humor – even the gift tags on the presents were funny! His partnership with Ravensburger for these What If puzzles is a great pairing in my opinion; I hope it continues for a very long time!

I really appreciate the quality of a Ravensburger puzzle, especially after I’ve worked on another brand that isn’t as “premium”. It even makes me happy to lay all the pieces out, because I just know it’s going to fit well and that there will be enough variety in the piece shape so that the assembly isn’t overly tedious. (I’m working a puzzle with not much variety in the shape of the pieces and I’m feeling frazzled 😳 )

If you haven’t tried a What If or Wasgij puzzle yet, I highly recommend it! You’re not really working completely from scratch, most of the time you can tell from the picture on the box what the background, flooring, or scenery will be, as well as the clothes people are wearing. You can get a general idea of what might go where, you may just have figure out where the scene might end up. For me, it focuses the attention. If I’m looking at the image on the box I don’t have to pay super close attention to background items or colors to tell me where a section will end up. Without an image you’re guided by only the colors and shapes – and the hints on the box of course. It’s a pilates class for your brain cells, it makes them use their “muscles” in a different way. 😀

Santa looks pretty cute with his antler hat, but I think it would be better for everyone if he drives the sleigh!