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Toy review: Ravensburger

The three puzzles I received for review.
The three puzzles I received for review.
Meagan J. Meehan

Puzzles and board games are staples of playtime. Most children count puzzles and games as being among their most treasured of childhood toys and practically everyone has fond memories of completing a puzzle or playing a game with friends and family. One of the most well-known and well regarded puzzle companies is the New Hampshire based Ravensburger which is actually the U.S. subsidiary of Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH, a German toy and game manufacturer with a 130-year history.

Ravensburger is a company that is well known for crafting excellent puzzles.
Meagan J. Meehan

Ravensburger was founded in 1883 in a German town by the name of Ravensburg. For over a century the company has produced high quality toys that are beloved by children across the globe. Ravensburger is celebrated for their meticulous commitment to detail, high production standards and superior quality control. They are held is especially high esteem for their top-quality puzzles. In fact, they currently hold the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle (it contains 32, 256 pieces, measures 17x6, and is called “Keith Haring: Double Retrospect”).

Recently, I was given the opportunity to review three products—two puzzles and one game—that are currently being offered by Ravensburger.

The first item I received is a game called “Dream Cakes.” According to the company statement:

There’s something for everyone to love in this sweet bakery-inspired competition. Players work on multiple cakes at once and judge finished creations to earn blue ribbon points. Thousands of possible designs mean different delicious outcomes every time! Ages 4+, SRP $16.99.

“Dream Cakes” is a colorful and cute game that is easy to set up and play for 2 to 4 players. The game comes with 75 pieces that must be separated and sorted into piles based on their category. Then players use a spinning wheel to see how many pieces they are allowed to take and from which pile. As players gather pieces they start to assemble cakes that they can design whichever way they choose (all players can create more than one cake at a time). For each completed cake players are awarded a “Ribbon Card” that is worth between 1 to 3 points. The amount of cards that a player receives for each cake depends on how tall the cake is; “five tier” is the tallest cake and, therefore, the most valuable kind (a “Cake Measuring Tool” is included in the set). However, if a player spins the spinner and lands on “Big Spill” then they must put all none-used cake parts back into the piles. For this reason, it is not always wise to wait until you have enough pieces to build the tier five cakes. The game is played until all the ribbon cards have been earned. Players then count up all the points on their ribbon cards and whoever has the most points is the winner.

“Dream Cakes” is very easy to play but somewhat difficult to describe in text alone. Hence, the YouTube video link below might help clarify the gameplay:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UedASkN4T9U

Overall, I was very impressed with this game. Every piece was decorated differently on both sides which made for a wide variety of colors and patterns to choose from (the cakes can also be designed in various shapes, see the slide show photos for an example). It was very simple to set up and equally easy to tidy up. Since the box is relatively small it is also not difficult to find a place to store this game. I think children who like puzzles, colors, and cakes—especially little girls—will be particularly fond of this product.

For the age group of 4-6 I give “Dream Cakes” 5/5 stars.

The second item I received for review was a puzzle from the “3D Building Puzzles for the Whole Family” collection. According to the official description:

Ravensburger expands the fun of its three-dimensional buildings with these “towering” 3D show-stoppers for ages 10+. Features precision-cut flat and hinged pieces that fit perfectly into place! The latest 3D puzzles showcase the colorful and whimsical Tula Moon artwork that brings three of Europe’s most recognizable buildings—Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and Pisa Tower—to life in a totally unique way! Ages 10+, SRP $27.99 each.

The puzzle I received was “Tula Moon Pisa Tower.” More commonly referred to as “The Leaning Tower of Pisa,” this 16" x 6" x 6" three-dimensional puzzle replicates the famed Italian building right down to the “leaning” detail. This puzzle contains 216 pieces plus three stands that helped builders “stack” each piece. This puzzle is very complicated and the only way to complete it in reasonable time (between 1-2 hours) is to look on the back of every numbered piece. By putting the puzzle together based on numbers—instead of the confusing abstract visuals—builders will see the structure coming together promptly.

This puzzle is colorful and fun. All the pieces, which are made out of plastic, fit together perfectly and, upon completion, the tower seems to be leaning just like its namesake in Pisa, Italy. Although this puzzle takes considerable time to finish, it is a fun pastime and will enthrall puzzle enthusiasts. Furthermore, its beautiful artistic design makes this puzzle viable as a room decoration so it does not necessarily need to be dismantled upon completion. However, parents should be warned that this puzzle does contain some small pieces so it should not be left around small children.

Overall, I give the “Tula Moon Pisa Tower Puzzle” 5/5 stars.

The third item I received for review was a straightforward cardboard, flat-bed, medium-sized puzzle. According to the information:

Ravensburger “Disney Pixar” Puzzle includes 64 puzzle pieces, some of which are shaped as beloved Disney Pixar characters from movies such as “Monsters Inc.,” “Toy Story,” and “Finding Nemo.” Intended for ages 5+ this 14.25" x 10.25" puzzle sells for $11.49.

The “Disney Pixar” puzzle took me about a half hour to complete. It was fun for an adult and would undoubtedly be even more fun—and challenging—for a young child. The bright colors, quirky bubble design, and popular animated characters make it even more engaging and inviting. For younger children—like the suggested “5” on the packing recommendation—this puzzle is quite advanced and it will likely lead to much celebration upon its completion.

Overall, I give this puzzle 4/5 stars for adults and older children but 5/5 stars if it is intended for young children.

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I was extremely impressed with all three of the products I received from Ravensburger and I would highly recommend this company to anyone who likes puzzles and/or games. For more information about Ravensburger visit their official website:
http://www.ravensburger.com/us/start/index.html