The Global Puzzle
Obviously, I should have known that a 600 piece puzzle with pieces that are actually shaped like countries (when there are only 193 countries in the world) had a lot of extra pieces. Since seventy percent of the world is covered by water, those extra pieces are all blue water ocean pieces. That’s about 450 blue puzzle pieces that look practically alike (except they contain textual facts about the capitals, population, and size of all 193 countries–all alphabetized from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, to help you find where to place the pieces)!
I had been looking forward to getting The Global Puzzle for years (and if I’d gotten it ten years ago, I probably wouldn’t have had any trouble reading the small print in the deep blue ocean). I planned to pull this puzzle out on game night with visions of the whole family putting it together, maybe even doing timed games to see who could put it together fastest. In the fun, we’d learn all the countries of the world, and increase our scores on Trivial Pursuit.
In reality, this puzzle took three hours to assemble, and should be treated like – well, like a 600 piece puzzle with its own dedicated table for snapping in a few pieces each time you pass by.
Things to improve:
- Although the puzzle seems to be drawn to scale, I would have been happier with less water and larger country pieces.
- Greenland could be one piece instead of three, and Malawi could have its own piece instead of having to share with Mozambique.
- The United States is divided by regions, consisting of about fifteen pieces instead of fifty; but one piece would have suited me!
- A Broader View website offers a fun Geography Challenge that drills recognition of the countries on the map. I didn’t know about the online Geography Challenge until I began to research for the review, so perhaps the publisher could include information in the packaging of the puzzle to highlight this fun and informative feature.
Even so, I like The Global Puzzle; it is educational and informative. We discovered the “hanging Chad,” learned that the Falkland Islands off the coast of South America are owned by the United Kingdom, and found just where in the world is the Black Sea.
Things to keep in mind:
- Ocean pieces are interlocking, but the countries are not interlocking and retain the outline of the country. Until the whole continent is complete, it is easy to jiggle the countries around when the table is bumped, which might make it a challenge with little ones wanting to join the fun.
- Small pieces might create a Curious George moment for toddlers.
- Consider putting the puzzle together in a location where you can come back to it later – not the dinner table a couple hours before it’s time to eat!
- If you can spare the space, leave the puzzle connected for a few weeks. Every day remove the pieces from one continent, and assign puzzle time as geography. In just a few minutes a day, your children will learn where Cote d’Ivoire and Kyrgyzstan are!
Overall, I think this puzzle is well worth the investment to make it a part of your family library or game chest, especially when you add in the value of the online challenge. For the price, you definitely learn more about the countries of the world.
Last Updated: February 11, 2013
Leave a Reply
Our Rating System
Product packaging, including cover art, description, and graphics.
Materials, durability, formatting, editing, and legibility.
Accuracy, appropriateness, and consistency of worldview.
Ease of Use
Clarity, usability, simplicity.
Charm, likelihood of repeated use, the fun-factor