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Long weekend

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Jigsaw puzzles from Japan

Epoch 1500 + 400 small piece combination jigsaw puzzles

On this page: Available puzzles - Taking the challenge

The puzzles

Itsukushima sunset
© Epoch
Position map

Itsukushima sunset

A dramatic view of the great Torii of Itsukushima at sunset. This puzzle is quite a challenge: there is a lot of purple, and a lot of shadow.

* Combination of 1500 + 400 small-piece puzzles

Out of stock
Usually ships in 7-10 days
An Epoch puzzle: 1900 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: E17106 (17-106 on box)
Retail price ¥3900 (approx. US$35.78 €28.68 £22.41)
Shipping from ¥1300 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.93 €9.56 £7.47)
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Great barrier reef
© JTB photo
Position map

Great barrier reef

This is "Heart Island", in the Great Barrier Reef off north-east Australia. And this is a classic "puzzler's puzzle", selected to be a tough challenge.

* Combination of 1500 + 400 small-piece puzzles

Out of stock
More stock expected November 6
An Epoch puzzle: 1900 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: E17105 (17-105 on box)
Retail price ¥3900 (approx. US$35.78 €28.68 £22.41)
Shipping from ¥1450 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$13.30 €10.66 £8.33)
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Family picnic
© Sev Ickes

Family picnic (Ickes)

The whole family, assembled in the garden, are only a part of this cornucopia of fun...

Born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1943, Sev Ickes is a self-taught painter in the "primitive" style. Her paintings are bright and direct representations of memories, with no concessions to perspective.

* Combination of 1500 + 400 small-piece puzzles

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 1900 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: E17113 (17-113 on box)
Retail price ¥3900 (approx. US$35.78 €28.68 £22.41)
Shipping from ¥1300 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.93 €9.56 £7.47)
Buy this puzzle Add to basket
All about ordering (please read first)

Taking the challenge

Of the puzzle manufacturers, Epoch is easily the largest company, being a general toy producer with puzzles as perhaps 20% of total sales. While size sometimes reminds us of dinosaurs, Epoch's general approach is very dynamic — coming out with many new ideas. They were at the forefront of the "small-piece" shift a few years ago, and are currently producing an array of graded puzzles (1-kyu, 2-kyu, and so on as in judo; 1-kyu being the top level).

Epoch

So what does this icon mean? This is one of the 1-kyu puzzles, selected to be a challenge, and you can see me tackling it on the right. Tip out the pieces, and it looks like an ordinary puzzle, of 2000 smallish pieces, but particularly if you start puzzles the way I do — in the middle, and without looking at the picture — something unexpected happens as the picture emerges.

Ta-da! The completed puzzles...

My opinion? Yes, this was fun to do, and definitely quite a challenge, though the difficulty lies in the image itself, which is clearly chosen to be difficult. Having a part duplicated provides extra clues: once you recognise a colour or texture in one copy, this makes it easier to sort out the other copy. I would definitely recommend trying one of these puzzles for a slight change of tempo — and it might make a good present for an enthusiast friend (unless you can read Japanese, it's not immediately clear from the box what is going on)!

Note that the pieces from the two puzzles are very close in size (within a couple of percent), and varied enough that it is not possible to sort them into two piles before starting.