The Piatnik boxes are standard rectangular boxes similar to Ravensburger or Jumbo puzzles. You can see the front of the box above. It is a very minimalistic approach with only the image and the Piatnik logo on the front. The box is sturdy and nicely designed.
All four sides show a detail from the puzzle image, the piece count, and Piatnik logo. The name of the puzzle and artist name are shown in fine print. This design works well for shelving short or long side out.
The bottom shows other Ruyer puzzles from Piatnik. It’s always nice to have this reference in years to come.
There’s nothing in the box except the bag of puzzle pieces. The bag of pieces was in excellent condition with no damage to the pieces, fully separated pieces, and no puzzle dust.
I’ve given the box an 8 score. It’s good but a bit minimalistic. It would have been nice to have a small artist bio somewhere, especially since Piatnik features a lot of Francois Ruyer puzzles.
The Image: 9/10
I am a fan of cartoon puzzles in general and Ruyer specifically. I have done several of his puzzles. This scene, like all his work, is executed beautifully with fine lines and tons of detail. Each little face has a unique expression. I like the overall theme of a monastery and brewery. It is, however, one of his most difficult images, I think. If you compare “Brewery” to “The Story of Wine”, which I review here, “Brewery” is much more difficult because there’s less color and all the figures are wearing the same outfit. For those who like a challenge (and I do!) this is great. But I dinged the score one point because, although I liked the challenge, I personally would have liked perhaps a little bit more color and variety.
As usual with Ruyer, the execution is perfect with excellent line art and coloring. Check out the green face on the “sick” guy in the upper right below.
(Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)
This is a solid Austrian brand which is similar to the German brand Ravensburger. The pieces are slightly smaller than Ravensburger (their 1000 piece puzzles are 27″ x 20″ while this Piatnik is 26.5″ x 17.4″). But the pieces didn’t feel particularly small to me as I worked it.
The pieces are thick and sturdy and the finish is more of a matte finish. The fit is tighter than some brands, like Heye, and it’s not too hard to move assembled pieces around without them falling apart. The puzzle is grid cut, and mostly of the two-knob, two-hole variety, with some other shapes here and there. The image reproduction is perfect.
I never had the situation with this puzzle where pieces appeared to fit where they did not belong. I have had a minor issue with that in the past with Piatnik, but only where there was a large area of monotone or repeating pattern, and this puzzle doesn’t have that.
Overall, I’m giving this puzzle an 8 score for quality.
I’d rate this puzzle as difficult. It took me four sessions to complete it.
On the first day I turned up all the pieces in my boxes, assembled the border, and started doing the large gold areas, which are the easiest part of the puzzle. I didn’t finish those areas in my first session.
On the second day I finished the gold areas and also assembled the brown archway section at the top left of the puzzle.
The large gold machines in the image are easy and fun to assemble. Between light/shadow and various rims and knobs, it’s easy to tell where the pieces go and they can mostly be assembled without constantly referencing the box image.
The archways in the top left have some green bushes, blue sky, and distinctive gold and black patterns. It’s also the only place where there is true brown. So it wasn’t difficult to pull these pieces.
After assembling the areas above, the puzzle got much more difficult. All the figures are wearing the same white tunic with a blue cape. All of them have red noses. So you have to look at each piece and compare it to the box cover to try to find the little monk it goes too.
The background of gray flooring does change in hue from a light gray….
to a bluer gray, greenish gray, or dark gray, as you can see in the close-up below. So I found myself using the gray background quite a bit when trying to figure out where a figure belonged in the scene. The brown table and food on it also was a more distinct background.
The round yellow and round white cheese in the mid left added a different texture to look for as did the large wine barrel/vat.
When you do have to lean on piece-by-piece comparison to the box image, usually to place a bit of face or clothing without much background, you can figure out where the piece goes, because each face is unique and there’s quite a lot of variety in the way the belts are tied too.
Although the puzzle is on the difficult side, it’s very satisfying to see the small figures come together and appreciate the fine details and humor in the art.
I’ve given assembly a 9 score.
“Brewery” by Francois Ruyer is a challenging puzzle which provides a lot of smiles as you assemble the little figures and see their expressions and crazy antics. This is the sort of image it’s difficult to appreciate until you piece it together–there’s so much going on! The Piatnik quality is very good with thick, sturdy pieces, a grid cut, a fairly tight fit, and a nice matte finish. However, there are lots of similar two-knob, two-hole pieces. There’s so much variety in the image, however, that I never thought a piece went where it didn’t belong. The repeating elements such as the big red noses and white tunics will have you referencing the box lid a lot, but each figure has a unique expression, and even tunic ties and sandals are slightly different, giving you a clue as to what goes where. If you like a challenge and need a smile, “Brewery” by Francois Ruyer is the puzzle for you.