Puzzle Review: Trefl's New Wooden Puzzle Line
Trefl has launched a line of wooden puzzles in 2022, and lots of the designs are available at Puzzle Warehouse! I’ve snatched up the cutest one, Colorful Puppy, with art by Dean Russo. This one, along with the majority of the line, are 500+1 piece, but there are a few 1000 designs as well.
The packaging was a good sturdy cardboard box, nice and thick, and a pleasing square shape. The front features a full color image of the puzzle, and a sneak peek at some of the whimsy shapes included. The back of the puzzle box has a lot of information about Trefl wooden puzzles, and provides information in many different languages since they are a European based company with puzzle distributors all around the world. Although the box is not actually metallic, there is a golden effect on the logos and some of the text that gives it a luxury feel.
Inside the box is a paper bag containing the pieces, with eco-tape closure, and a small full color image ‘poster’. It’s not very big, but still larger than the image on the box, which can be helpful to those who need it bigger. The lid was held together with tape, which makes this a plastic free puzzle, which you know I love and encourage all companies to strive for! What the poster was lacking in size, the paper bag made up for. It’s…tall. Comically so. But it left enough room to fold the bag back up at the end of the process, and safely secure the bag so that the pieces wouldn’t slide around or fall out. I was able to re-use the eco-tape as well, unsure if this was on purpose or an accident, but we love a recycle moment. The bag aided in holding in that wonderful campfirey smell until I opened it and saw the beautiful pieces at the bottom. Torched wood smell is one of my favorite parts of wooden puzzles. So cozy!
With wooden puzzles, comes one of my other favorite things…Whimsies! Whimsies, sometimes seen as ‘whimsys’, are the special cut pieces that are shaped like real objects, as opposed to the standard puzzle piece shape, or a random/squiggle cut. Sometimes puzzles have whimsies that relate directly to the specific image. Other puzzles' whimsies are randomly assigned/unrelated to the image. This puzzle was loosely related to the image as the whimsies are themed to animals, and it is an image featuring a puppy. However, this may have just been coincidence, as to the best of my knowledge, currently, all the designs feature the same set of whimsies regardless of image. Unknown if this is the plan for Trefl moving forward, or if they will cater whimsies to the design itself in the future. There are 50 different animals representing everything from cute and cuddly to little and crawly. including aardvark, moose, sea horse, meerkat, poodle, and a beetle.
The pieces themselves are a good thickness, but overall on the smaller size. Folks with dexterity issues may not have the best time with these. The whimsies are around 1”-2” each, but the other pieces are ¼”-¾” each. The cut pattern is a random cut, which includes all sorts of shapes and sizes, with no uniformity. A very nice surprise is the back of the puzzle features a lovely floral/foliage pattern. If you were really ambitious, you could technically do the puzzle as the back being the image, but that would be super duper hard. A few of the pieces you could see some of the laser burn on edges, but not so much that it affected the overall image or colors of the puzzle. The top is almost completely matte, only the black areas catching some of the light and reflecting it ever so slightly. I use a lamp that produces daylight color temperatures, and had no issues with completing the puzzle and seeing the darker colors near the blacks, if you’re doing this in a dimly lit room, you may struggle with some pieces coloring, but you can always use the shapes to complete!
I really like trying out new brands, or new offerings from existing brands. Something that I find helps when trying a new-to-you puzzle is picking a familiar image or artist. I’ve done several Dean Russo puzzles across various brands, so it helps me move along with the process and not get overwhelmed in the new-ness of it all. I can also differentiate a good or bad experience as it takes the image out of the equation and leaves it up to the brand and its quality. Overall I had a fun time putting this puzzle together and enjoyed it a lot. Price point is on the mid to lower side for a wooden puzzle. It’s definitely much cheaper than expected for a 500 piece wooden puzzle. I’d gladly grab more of these in the future and recommend to anyone looking to try something new, or try a larger piece count wooden puzzle without breaking the bank.