Wasgij. It took me a while to notice, but it's jigsaw spelled backwards. An appropriate name for this puzzle concept, where the picture you will be creating isn't the one on the box, but what one of the characters in that picture is looking at.
In the case of my Wasgij puzzle, I would be finding out what the man sitting on the elephant at the rear of the scene could see. That is, what terrifying situation the boat was heading towards, which had all the animals and some of the more alert passengers scared (Warning: the answer will be revealed by the end of this review).
At first, I found the idea of doing a puzzle without knowing the picture a bit daunting. However, it's not as difficult as it seems, as you aren't really working blind. A lot of the image you will be creating is just the scene on the front of the box from a different angle, and the back of the box gives away the placement of some of the items too, giving you more help if you need it (I chose not to use these however, as it made it more fun).
Clues on the back of the box
I started with the border, like I would with any other puzzle, matching pieces of the same colour together. Eventually, I was able to determine where each section went by comparing them to the picture on the box. For example, I realised that the pink section would be the smoke.
Starting with the border
After I had finished the border, it was clear I should use the box whenever I got stuck, but it turned out I didn't really need it. I ended up doing a lot of the puzzle without reference to anything, as it made it more interesting. I turned the white pieces into a boat, the multi-coloured pieces into people and the pale green into water.
One of the few things that did frustrate me while I was doing the Wasgij was that often while I was piecing together a section, I didn't know where it would eventually be located within the picture. I often had to move what I had done to another area when I realised, and everything usually fell apart in the process.
Doing the trees at the end was also frustrating - I just had a mass of greens and yellows and blacks to work with. It took me a while to get on a roll with this section, but once I did, I was surprised how quickly I finished.
However, if you work from the box more that I did, you can probably avoid both of these issues.
The scene is slowly taking form
In all, I quite enjoyed the Wasgij. I think the extent to which you're affected by the puzzle concept really depends on how you do puzzles in the first place. I've certainly learned that I don't need to look at an image much anyway.
You do need patience to complete the puzzle, of course. My Wasgij definitely took me longer to do than the average 1000 piece puzzle. But anyone who does puzzles would likely have such patience anyway. Puzzles are not something done by those who want instant results.
Plus, this isn't exactly a dull puzzle in the first place. All the Wasgij puzzles have a sense of humour; you're not merely creating a picture of a house from a different angle. It's more like working out the punchline to a joke.