Category Scores
Pieces 10/10
Fit 10/10
Confusion 9/10
Picture 8/10
Return Of The King box front
Return Of The King box front
Shape Circle
Brand Ravensburger

Return Of The King

by Ravensburger

Return Of The King - work in progress
Return Of The King - work in progress

Despite having a pile of un-completed jigsaws almost as tall as I am, spotting a circular Ravensburger puzzle in a local charity shop proved irresistable, even without it being LotR-themed.

I'm a big fan of Lord Of The Rings, although I was brought up on the excellent BBC Radio dramatisation, which pre-dated the films from which this picture comes by a number of decades.

The box, as you can see, has seen better days but the puzzle itself is none the worse for wear.

Pieces - 10/10

As you'd expect from Ravensburger, the pieces are just about perfect - the right thickness, rigid, easy to pick up and handle.

The pieces are cut circularly (is that a word?!), which is the most common way that circular puzzles seem to get cut - but there's a wonderful variety of increasingly weird and wonderful shapes as you get closer to the middle, culminating in a pleasingly round 'key' piece!

Fit - 10/10

Again, as outstanding as expected - pieces fit perfectly, snug enough to hold together under rough handling and yet crumpling magnificiently back into the box at the end of the day.

A Proud Puzzler
A Proud Puzzler

Confusion - 9/10

Here, we finally drop a mark.

While the vast majority of the pieces are as pleasingly unique and solidly fitting as you would expect, the 'rim' of the puzzle (which, as we'll see later, was a bit of a nightmare), did have a couple of pieces similar enough for me to end up with two sections swapped over.

But it was just that one area, at least.

Differentiation - 8/10

Mostly excellent; there's lots of different textures and tones, and even the Elvish letters give some guide in the darker, more uniform areas.

The rim, however, was mostly a nightmare - the script doesn't go quite far enough out most of the time, so it was a huge ring of near-identical black pieces. From most jigsaw makers, this would have been almost too much to bear but at least Ravensburger's excellent piece cutting meant that it was almost possible to complete that rim by 'feel'.

I'm starting to see a pattern in their puzzles, though - maybe they just like making challenging edges?!

Picture - 8/10

The picture is a nice collage of (mostly) characters, but with some odd choices; Gilmi is inexplicably left out - along with half the hobbits - and yet Frodo gets doubled up. I admit I initially assumed the "second" Frodo was one of the missing hobbits, but the more I look, the more I'm forced to admit my wife is right - as she usually is in such matters.

I think I prefer actual scenes over assembled images like this, but it's still pleasing enough to work on.

Return Of The King - the completed puzzle
Return Of The King - the completed puzzle