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Puzzle pieces not yet assembled

A puzzle [ ˈpasl , ˈpʊsl ] ( English [ pʌzl ] riddle, confusion ) is a mechanical puzzle , more precisely a placement game in which the attempt is made to put the individual puzzle pieces back together to form a whole. The English word is jigsaw puzzle ( "jigsaws puzzle"), since the first Games with the jigsaw were produced.


Wooden puzzle “Europe divided into its kingdoms, etc.” from 1766 by John Spilsbury

The puzzle was invented in England in 1766 by the engraver and map dealer John Spilsbury (1739–1769). To do this, he stuck a map of Great Britain on a wooden board and sawed it up along the border lines of the various counties. The player had to try to complete the map again. Already Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont map sections used for didactic purposes. John Spilsbury sold his puzzle game as a "teaching aid to facilitate geography lessons". The parts were not yet interlocked as is usual today. These so-called interlocking puzzles were not created until the second half of the 19th century.

At the beginning of the 20th century, mass production of the previously handcrafted puzzles began. As a result, the once expensive games could be offered more cheaply and thus increase their popularity. Up to now hardly anything has changed in the manufacturing principle. A motif printed on cardboard is cut into many small parts with a punch. The handcrafted punches are so individual that the puzzle pieces look different. For giant puzzles, several punches have to be used in some cases. The producers achieved the most important advances in the manufacture of the parts through increasingly precise blanks. This is also one of the decisive quality features of a puzzle, in addition to the pressure and the stability of the colors. The more precisely the parts are punched, the less likely it is that parts will be connected incorrectly.

Executions and levels of difficulty

Without motif: Puzzle Krypt silver ( Ravensburger )

There are puzzles with five pieces for children or giant puzzles with well over 10,000 pieces for advanced users. The level of difficulty can be further increased by the number of parts and the special color features of the motif, such as large areas with low color gradations. Some internet providers send puzzles without a template or mix two games together. A combination of both levels of difficulty is also offered. Furthermore, there are puzzles that are printed with (different) motifs on both sides, so that you also have to decide which is the “right” side of each puzzle piece. In addition, puzzles without a straight edge are offered, in which some additional pieces have been added that do not belong to the design. The challenge here is not just to lay the puzzle, but to find out the unnecessary pieces.

Ravensburger also has two puzzles (2006) without a motif, the Krypt silver (654 pieces) and the Krypt bronze (631 pieces), in which an empty silver-gray (654 pieces) or bronze only due to the shape of the puzzle pieces are available from Ravensburger -tinted surface (70 cm × 50 cm) is to be put together. This series has been supplemented by other colors.


Although the game is particularly suitable for single players, there are puzzling competitions in which the participants put the same motif and do so in the shortest possible time.

On September 26, 2004 the city of Königsbrunn organized the 1st German Puzzle Day and achieved an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the world record in laying the longest puzzle chain.

On September 17, 2006, Königsbrunn competed against the city of Buxtehude on the 2nd German Puzzle Day . Both cities were supposed to lay 5000 puzzles of various sizes in five hours. Königsbrunn won the duel.

On September 28th, 2008 the 3rd German Puzzle Day took place in Ravensburg . Here the entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the largest puzzle in the world with the most pieces was broken. The world record puzzle consists of 4,088 individual puzzles, the edges of which are put together seamlessly until a coherent giant puzzle with a total of 1,034,378 pieces is created. The performance of the Ravensburger exceeded the old puzzle record of around 212,000 pieces, which was set up in Singapore in 2002, by a factor of five. The Ravensburger AG produced the puzzle for the world record.


  • AppPuzzle: AppPuzzle are applications for the smartphone in which the puzzle is shown on a smaller area directly on the display. Often there are variations in the form of picture puzzles or word games. One example of this is the WordPuzzle game.
  • Shmuzzle: A variant of the puzzle invented in 1976 is the Shmuzzle. In this case, all parts have the same shape. But there is only one way to put a Shmuzzle together correctly. The individual parts are so-called Escher tiles (after MC Escher ).
  • Chatter puzzle: Actually a form of the Shmuzzle, in which the correct position of the individual parts is based on a story or on the content of speech bubbles on the puzzle pieces.
  • Crime puzzle: Here the picture to be laid is to be seen in connection with a criminal case. First the crime story is read, then the puzzle (without template) is placed, and the picture provides further information on how to solve the crime story. The quality of the stories varies widely; accordingly, some of the information hidden in the picture is difficult to understand.
  • WASGIJ puzzle: The WASGIJ puzzle is a subspecies of the puzzle from the company Jumbo. WASGIJ is the palindrome of Jigsaw. The name already indicates the solution - the puzzle is “backwards”. The motif on the packaging shows the opposite perspective of the motif to be puzzled. Special forms of WASGIJ are: Mistery - the puzzle is what will happen in the near future. Destiny - the puzzle is what will happen in a few moments.
  • Puzzle ball : The completed puzzle forms a ball here. For this purpose, the plastic parts are arched accordingly and cut conically at the edges. An example of a puzzle ball is the Wikipedia logo.
  • 3D puzzle (Puzz3D): The puzzle pieces made of foam form a three-dimensional object (e.g. a building). Individual levels of the object are put together like a normal puzzle. Each level has teeth on the edges that connect it to the neighboring levels. The Happy Cubes are a more abstract variant.
  • Sculpture-Puzzle: A cardboard sculpture (bust, statue) is cut into thin horizontal slices. These must be built on one or more vertical, centric rods in the correct order so that the complete sculpture results.
  • Cube puzzle for children: Here the picture is broken down into squares (about 12 or 20), each of which is glued to one side of a cube. The whole thing is done with five more pictures on the remaining sides of the cube. When putting the cube puzzle together, the first thing to do is to look for the right side of the cube and then put it in the right place. Numerous puzzles have appeared as educational games on colors and shapes and to consolidate spatial thinking for children of all ages.
  • Photo puzzle: The photo puzzle is based on your own photos and motifs, e.g. B. from the digital camera, and is usually made individually for the customer. In contrast to the usual puzzles, you are not tied to previously defined motifs. Photo puzzles are produced with 100 to 2000 pieces. Photo puzzles are packed like real puzzles in a puzzle box. Photo puzzles are now not only produced in the classic, rectangular format, but also in special shapes, for example in the shape of a heart.
  • WebPuzzle: WebPuzzles are online applications in which digital images can be laid out as puzzles in the browser. The Ravensburger WebPuzzles are an example of this
  • Tantrix : Hexagonal tiles with red, yellow, green and blue connecting lines are laid out by 1 to 4 players to form a gapless area, so that a continuous line is formed with one color.


Larger puzzle manufacturers with more than 70 different motifs include:


The largest puzzle in the world measured 5,428.8 m 2 and consisted of 21,600 pieces, each measuring 50 cm by 50 cm. It was put together on November 3, 2002 by 777 people at the former Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong .

The puzzle with the largest number of pieces had 551,232 pieces and measured 14.85 mx 23.20 m. It was put together on September 24, 2011 in the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City by students from the Ho Chi Minh Economic University HCMC .

Probably the smallest puzzle in the world was created in the Laser Zentrum Hannover . The puzzle, which consists of 100 individual parts the size of a speck of dust, has a total area of ​​five square millimeters.

Largest commercially made puzzles

The currently largest series-produced puzzle is Travel Around Art by Grafika from 2020 with 54,000 pieces. When finished, it takes up an area of ​​8.64 m × 2.04 m.

Parts Original title Manufacturer year Dimensions [cm] Area [m 2 ]
54,000 Travel around Art! Grafika 2020 864 × 204 17.626
52.110 (no title; animal motifs) MartinPuzzle 2018 696 x 201.5 14.024
51,300 27 Wonders from Around the World Kodak 2019
48,000 Travel around the world Grafika 2017 768.0 x 204.0 15.667
42,000 La vuelta al Mundo Educa 2017 749.0 x 157.0 11.759
40,320 Unforgettable Disney moments Ravensburger 2016 680.0 x 192.0 13.056
33,600 Vida salvaje Educa 2014 570.0 x 157.0 8,949
32,256 New York City Window Ravensburger 2014 544.0 x 192.0 10.445
32,256 Double retrospect Ravensburger 2010 544.0 x 192.0 10.445
24,000 Vida, el gran reto Educa 2007 428.0 x 157.0 6.720
20,000 World map worldview 2004 272.0 x 220.0 5.984

See also


Commons : Puzzles  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Puzzle  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
  • Geert Bekkering: fun and patience. On the history of the puzzle in Germany. Husum 2004, ISBN 978-3-89876-186-4 .
  • Erwin Glonnegger : The game book: board and placement games from all over the world; Origin, rules and history. Drei-Magier-Verlag, Uehlfeld 1999. ISBN 3-9806792-0-9 .
  • Anne D. Williams: The Jigsaw Puzzle. Piecing Together a History. Berkley Books, New York 2004, ISBN 0-425-19820-0 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ John Spilsbury - Person - National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved October 24, 2018 .
  2. Joe McAlhany: A Brief History of Dissected Maps, the Earliest Jigsaw Puzzles. Washington Map Society, accessed October 24, 2018 .
  3. Augsburger Allgemeine: Pictures from the puzzle world record in Königsbrunn. Retrieved March 5, 2019 .
  4. World record in simultaneous puzzles / "We are puzzles!" - Bavaria beat the northern lights in a puzzle competition / Two million cardboard pieces in 5 hours. Retrieved March 5, 2019 .
  5. World record in Ravensburg - piecing together a million puzzles. September 28, 2008, accessed March 5, 2019 .
  6. Archived copy ( Memento of the original from May 25, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / wordpuzzleapp.com
  7. Information on the type of crime puzzle (private page)
  8. Info on WASGIJ puzzles
  9. Heart Puzzle
  10. Ravensburger WebPuzzles .
  11. Largest jigsaw puzzle. Guinness World Records. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  12. Largest jigsaw puzzle - most pieces. Guinness World Records. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  13. Vietnam puts together the world's largest jigsaw puzzle. Guinness World Records, October 10, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  14. On the trail of the puzzle: Anna's "Puzzlepedia" . Fotopuzzle.de blog. Retrieved November 27, 2012
  15. puzzle.de: Biggest puzzle in the world - Travel around Art! 54,000 parts .
  16. https://www.martinpuzzle.com/de
  17. ucrate: The largest puzzle in the Kodak world .
  18. The new largest puzzle in the world: Travel around the World. www.planet-puzzles.de. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  19. 42000 La vuelta al mundo. Educa. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  20. Ravensburger Puzzle - Unforgettable Disney Moments - 40320 pieces. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  21. 33600 Vida salvaje. Educa. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  22. Ravensburger Puzzle - New York City Window - 32,000 pieces. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  23. ^ Double Retrospect. ( Memento of the original from April 6, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. www.puzzlekatalog.de. Retrieved April 5, 2018. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.puzzlekatalog.de
  24. 24000 Vida, el gran reto. Educa. Retrieved April 5, 2018.