Review: “Cat Tales” by Charles Wysocki, Buffalo Games — 9/10
Publisher: Buffalo Games (US)
Size: 750 pieces
Title: “Cat Tales”
Finished size: 24″ x 18″
OUR RATING: 9/10
Box Quality: (8/10)
The Buffalo Games boxes are very sturdy and have nice packaging design. The box is small at 8″ x 8″. The front, which you can see above, has a “Cats of Charles Wysocki” logo and the Buffalo Games logo. The name of the puzzle is shown on the front.
The back of the box is a generic Buffalo Games back.
The sides all have the Wysocki logo prominent and large. The puzzle name is shown on two sides. There’s also the Buffalo Games logo, the piece count, and a picture of the image. Since all box sides are the same length, you can easily shelve on a side that you prefer.
The box is glued shut on the sides (instead of being shrink wrapped) and the glue has to be cut by inserting a knife down the side. Inside the box the pieces are packed loose (not inside a bag). The 1000 piece puzzles come with a poster, but this 750 puzzle did not have a poster in the box. That means you only have the front of the box to work from, which is small. Still, I didn’t have any difficulty while working the puzzle.
Overall, I’ve given the box an 8/10. Usually I give Buffalo 9/10 for the box, but I deducted one point since this box did not have a poster.
The Image: 10/10
I have reviewed a number of Charles Wysocki puzzles here, and suffice it to say I’m a fan of his images. I love the hand-painted folk style, but Wysocki also includes much more detail in his images than most folk artists. This puzzle is no exception. There’s tons of detail in this image from all the wonderful satirical book titles (like Bye, Bye Birdie Pie) to different little doodads on the shelves. It’s fun to discover the jokes as you work the puzzle.
I’ve given the image a full 10 score.
(Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)
Puzzle Quality: (9/10)
You can see my brand page for Buffalo Games here. This puzzle is fully compatible with the puzzles I reviewed for my brand analysis. The quality is very good. The pieces feel sturdy, the box and contents are undamaged and in great condition, and the artwork reproduction is spot on.
The cut is a standard grid-cut puzzle with a wide variety of piece shapes and even a few ‘zig zag’ sided pieces. I never had a question about whether or not a piece actually fit. The tightness of the fit is average–neither particularly tight nor loose. You can move small groups of pieces around with care, and the final finish looks fairly seamless. Click on the image below to get an enlargement of the piece shapes.
The finish is not too glossy and I didn’t have any issues with overhead glare working this puzzle at night. Overall, puzzle quality scores a high 9 out of 10.
My difficulty rating for this puzzle is: Easy. I did it in one longer evening session and one short one.
On the first day I assembled the border, which was straight-forward. Then I pulled all the pieces with book titles (writing) on them and began assembling the book titles. This was a lot of fun. The font and color on the various book titles are all pretty unique, as well as the background color behind the fonts, so the titles are easy to assemble. I always love signs and other writing in Wysocki puzzles, and this puzzle has a lot of it.
The light blue book in the upper left is very distinctive. There are a few other blue to purple books that can be done if you are pulling blue pieces.
There’s a mix of large and small fonts and some books have vertical titles vs horizontal titles. This all helps to make putting the books together easy with lots of fun variety.
There’s a set of books along the top that are all the same coor with the same titles, which is very tricksy! This area required a little bit more effort.
The “book pages” area has strong diagonal lines to follow when assembling.
The silver cat got assembled at the end of my first session. The gray/silver fur is very distinctive and was easy to fill in once I had the books in this area assembled. There’s not that much “cat only” left after you’ve done all the edges around the cat.
On the second day, all I had left was the central red cat, which looks pretty funny. I held off on the cat because there were quite a few “red fur” pieces, and I thought it would be a little more challenging. But between the white fur areas, the tabby stripes, and the border around the cat where you could match up the wooden shelf or colorful books, the cat wasn’t difficult.
The cat is darker at the back than at the head, and there’s variation in the sharpness or blurriness of the fur too, which helps. I did the white areas first and then the stripes.
Overall this was a nice quick puzzle to work and fun all the way through. I’ve given assembly an 9 score.
“Cat Tales” is a quick and fun puzzle to assemble. With all the different fonts and book colors, this puzzle goes together quickly. I’d rate it “Easy”. There’s so much wonderful detail in this Charles Wysocki folk art puzzle. You will laugh at the book titles and doodads on the shelves as you go. The 750 piece size is a nice choice for a family puzzle or for those who want something a bit easier. The Buffalo Games quality is very good with grid cut pieces and a nice box. Recommended.
Where to find:
More CATS of CHARLES WYSOCKI puzzles