For people that have never had the pleasure of putting together a Stave Puzzle, there are often a lot of questions that are asked concerning the different types of puzzles, what makes them different and, often, why do they cost so much? Hopefully we will be able to answer a few of these questions, as well as suggest some puzzles that are good if you are new to Stave.
To answer these questions we need to discuss the various types of Stave puzzles. First there are Traditionals. Traditional puzzles are what most people think of when you hear wooden jigsaw puzzle. Stave Traditional puzzles usually have 4 sides, but there are often special added pieces adorning the edges or various other unique cuts that make for a fun puzzle. On some of the larger puzzles they will also include a rebus that is only solvable once the puzzle is complete. In keeping with a long tradition of high end puzzle manufacturers such as Par Puzzles, Stave includes silhouette pieces that often depict objects associated with the puzzle, such as a piece in the shape of a snowman for a winter scene. Another factor that sets Stave Puzzles apart, not only for the traditionals but all of the puzzles, is the quality of the craftsmanship. The pieces are put together with great care and it shows. They consist of multiple layers of wood that are hand cut once the image has been attached to the board. The pieces fit together with minimal gaps, really top quality all the way around.
The next most popular type of puzzle Stave creates are called Teasers. These are very original puzzles that are rated from 1 to 4 swords (1 being the easiest and where we suggest you start should you have never tried one before). Since no Stave puzzle comes with a picture of a solution, the first part of solving the puzzle is to figure out the structure of the Teaser. Often the puzzle is framed in by traditional puzzle pieces and you have to solve the interior. It is a lot harder than it sounds. For instance, you may have a puzzle with an animal theme. The frame may consist of some vegetation and then you have an assortment of animals that you must figure out how they all fit together inside the frame. Often you will have interesting connections that you have to really think about if it’s a solid fit. The more swords the puzzle is rated, the harder it is. There are a variety of different types of Teasers that we won’t go into today, but if you want to really get a feel for what a Stave is about it’s worth trying a couple out!
Trick puzzles are another popular type of puzzles. These are rated from 1 to 5 thunderbolts. Tricks are much harder than Teasers, and some may hard to figure out if you have no experience with Stave puzzles. Tricks can come in a number of different ways. A lot of them are designed so that the pieces will fit together with the wrong piece to “Trick” you. Some puzzles have more than one solution. For instance, you may be required to put some pieces together in 2 different ways to make 2 different objects, using the same pieces and having pieces that fit together in multiple ways. You probably get the picture – pun intended (or you may get the picture after many hours or trying!). When you start to get the very complicated ones, you may have many pieces that go together with each other, causing there to be potentially thousands of ways a puzzle can be put together. They can be frustrating and require a lot of patience, but when you finally solve it you feel you have accomplished something rather difficult.
Stave also produces a line of puzzles called Treats. They are rated by hearts. These are really ideal for someone that wants a little more challenge than say a Traditional puzzle may provide, but is not quite ready for a full-blown Teaser; they are kind of a middle ground type puzzle. Finally there are Troublemakers which are a class unto themselves. As the name describes they will give you a run for your money, and the fact they are rated by Pitchforks should tell you something about them!
All in all, Stave Puzzles are unique and should be treated like a piece of art. The designers and cutters at Stave are true masters of their craft and that is part of the reason why they are on the top end of pricing for custom puzzles. However, once you get your hand on a few Staves there is a good chance you will be addicted and be ready for another and another!