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Beyond jigsaws: different types of puzzles

True nerds know that jigsaws are the best type of puzzle, but there comes a time when you might want to branch out and try something different for a change. The thing is, there are just so many different types of puzzle – so it can be a little… puzzling to know which ones to try.

Rubik's cubes are a fun type of puzzle

There are word puzzles, logic puzzles and number puzzles , and that’s before you move onto physical puzzle games like the Rubik’s Cube. Looking to expand your nerdy horizons beyond the puzzle mat? Read on, puzzlers!

Word puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles
Puzzle games
Optical illusion puzzles
Number puzzles
Logic puzzles

Word puzzles

There are loads of different types of word puzzles, and if your brain favours letters over numbers, they’re definitely a lot of fun to solve. Some of these word games are ‘framework’ word puzzles, such as crosswords and code words, while others have a different format such as word searches and word wheels.

Crossword puzzles

How many types of crossword puzzles are there? Well, there are plenty, including cryptic puzzles, quick crosswords and code word puzzles. The quick crossword is a straightforward question-and-answer type of quiz, while the cryptic puzzle is more complex with cryptic clues and anagrams to work out.  

The most usual format for crossword puzzles is a blocked grid, though they also come in barred grid versions, where every square is filled and the words are separated by lines instead of blocked out squares. 

A code word puzzle is like a normal puzzle, but with no clues, just two letters given. Fiendish? Well yep, certainly at first, but once you get the hang of it, you can work out which letters fit where to make a grid of words like a normal puzzle.

Crossword puzzles are the most usual types of puzzles found in puzzle books, though you can, of course, get all sorts of puzzles in books, newspapers and online.

Word searches and word wheels

Word searches are a popular type of puzzle for kids, with a grid of letters that hide a series of words. The words are usually linked by a theme and can be written backwards, forwards, up, down or diagonally.

A word wheel has a central letter with eight letters around the outside. You have to make as many words as you can, using the central letter and at least two others. There’s always a nine-letter word hidden in there too for real word wheel experts! Have a go against the clock here.

Cryptogram puzzles

If you’ve ever fancied yourself as a bit of a codebreaker, you might want to give cryptogram puzzles a try. They usually take the form of a short piece of encrypted text, and normally they can be solved by swapping out one type of letter or number for another. They’re mostly simple enough to solve with a pencil and a scrap of paper, but some might test your grey matter a little more!

Puzzle games

Of course, there are many different types of puzzle games too. These include different types of geometric puzzle, where you have to fit a series of shapes together to make a different shape; types of handheld puzzle games, such as wooden block spelling games.

Of course the best-known type of physical puzzle game is the Rubik’s Cube, which can be solved using an algorithm. There are loads of different variations of the Rubik’s Cube out there, and you can easily spend months going down the algorithm rabbit hole (or even longer, if you get into speed solving these puzzles!).

Rebus puzzles

Rebus puzzles add a creative twist to traditional word puzzles by using pictures and symbols to represent words or parts of words.

These visual word puzzles challenge you to decode the images to reveal a common phrase or saying. It’s like translating a secret code where pictures speak louder than words.

Ideal for those who love a blend of art and language, rebus puzzles will have you thinking in pictures and puzzling out the puns. They’re a great reminder of the playful side of language and how it can be visually represented in the most unexpected ways.

Optical illusion puzzles

If you’re keen on testing not just your mind but also your eyes, optical illusion puzzles are your go-to. These intriguing puzzles use visual tricks and illusions to challenge your perception, making you question what’s in front of you.

From finding hidden objects within complex patterns to understanding how a seemingly impossible object exists, these puzzles are a feast for the eyes and a workout for the brain.

They remind us that things aren’t always as they appear, pushing us to look beyond the obvious and find clarity in the chaos. Perfect for those who love a bit of mystery with their puzzling!

Jigsaw puzzles

Of course we all know that the best type of puzzle is a jigsaw, but did you know that they come in a variety of different types and genres? These ideas will help you expand your collection and improve your puzzling skillz.

There are lots of different types of puzzle!
Everyone know jigsaws are the best type of puzzle!

Gradient jigsaw puzzles

Cloudberries released one of the first-ever Gradient puzzles and they’re still super popular. Gradient puzzles have no images, but display a spectrum of colours that gradually blend into each other.

Sounds impossible, right? Not really, since the best gradient puzzles are cleverly designed so that you know which colour shades and tones go where. Check out our range of different Gradient puzzles, including MOUNTAIN, PIXELS and our original GRADIENT puzzle (which comes in three different sizes). Once you’ve tried one, you’ll be hooked.

We always like to collaborate with creative artists, and these kinds of projects offer lots of remote opportunities for illustrators.

3D jigsaw puzzles

Some people like 3D jigsaw puzzles that can be constructed vertically as well as horizontally. These often take the form of famous buildings like the Eiffel Tower, and can be a fun challenge to put together.

There’s another type of 3D puzzle, though – the kind that are put together like regular jigsaw puzzles but have a cool 3D effect that can only been seen when you put on the special red-cyan glasses. At Cloudberries, we have a couple of these fun designs to try – including SPACE and DINOSAURS – and both come with two pairs of 3D glasses to make your puzzling even more fun.

Impossible puzzles 

If you’re a bit of a masochist or just love a big challenge, then you might want to try an ‘impossible’ puzzle. These have been around for a long time and occupy a kind of strange space in the world of puzzles.

While there are some people who like the idea of piecing together 1000 near-identical pieces, each with the same colour, they’re usually bought as ‘cruel’ presents to keep frenemies busy for a while.

We don’t really have impossible puzzles like this, but we do have some that are super difficult but still look beautiful when they’re finally completed. SHELLS is an incredibly tough 1000 piece puzzle that only uses black and white colours, and could take a couple of determined puzzlers more than 30 hours to complete.

SYMMETRY is a little easier thanks to its riot of colours and geometric patterns, but the design is mirrored, adding a decidedly tricky twist!

Symmetry is a unique type of jigsaw puzzle
Our challenging SYMMETRY puzzle

Panoramic puzzles

Panoramic jigsaw puzzles are popular with experienced puzzle nerds, and usually they come with higher piece counts than your run-of-the-mill jigsaws. You’ll need a big table or floor space to put one of these together!

Classic panoramic jigsaws usually depict pretty landscapes or mountain scenes, but there are some cool alternatives available. In 2021 we launched our own three-puzzle box set called Triptych, which can be completed as three separate puzzles or as one giant panoramic jigsaw with 1500 pieces!

Wooden puzzles

Wooden puzzles are a popular type of puzzle for kids, but you can also get wooden puzzles made specifically for adults. And 3D wooden puzzles, where you have to assemble a 3D shape from wooden pieces, add an extra dimension to your puzzling.

Round puzzles

And if you fancy something a bit different, why not try a round puzzle. It’s the same principle as a normal puzzle, but these are shaped like big circles, with rounded edge pieces that are often easiest to piece together first.

Floor puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles can also be designed to be assembled on the floor. Floor puzzles are normally aimed at kids, who find it easier to match together large pieces, and you’ll need a fair bit of space to get these assembled. However, there are some cool adult puzzles that are either designed with larger pieces, or simply have two many pieces to fit on a table – unless you happen to live in a palace, that is.

Online jigsaw puzzles

If setting up a real-life jigsaw puzzle out feels a bit too much like hard work, why not try doing one online instead?

These days, online jigsaw puzzle websites have some pretty cool features, including the ability to make your own jigsaw from any picture you have on your phone or laptop.

Sites like Im-a-puzzle are free to use and allow players to create their puzzles and solve thousands of jigsaw puzzles online.

The site has loads of different categories of jigsaw puzzles for players to choose from, and the ‘Puzzle of the Day’ feature keeps players on their toes and gives them a new experience daily.

Number puzzles

You don’t have to be a maths genius to enjoy doing number puzzles – but let’s be honest: it helps. Some number puzzles are bit more accessible though, especially sudokus, which only really require basic maths knowledge and rely more on logic skills than those crazy mathematical operations you had to deal with in school.

Sudoku puzzles

There are loads of different types types of sudoku puzzle. The basic sudoku involves filling in the numbers one to nine on a grid of 81 squares. The grid is divided into nine squares of nine, and each square, row and column can only use the numbers one to nine once. You’re given a few numbers in the grid already to start you off. If you fancy having a go, try this site

Once you’ve mastered the basic sudoku, there are plenty of variations to get your brain whirring. In suguru, you need to fit the numbers one to five into a grid of jigsaw-type boxes, while kakuro is a crossword-type grid, where you fill in the numbers one to nine so that they add up to the totals in the corners of the shaded squares –  try some out here

And as for killer sudoku, well the clue’s in the name! You have to fill in the numbers one to nine as in a basic sudoko, but they also need to add up to the numbers in the corner of each shape – have a go here if you’re feeling brave enough!

Maths puzzles

These mathematics-focused puzzles come in all shapes and sizes, but usually involve solving some kind of maths equation or logic test. You’ll need good mental arithmetic kills and the ability to think laterally if you want to solve this type of puzzle.

Logic puzzles

There are plenty of different types of logic puzzles to get your head round. These mind-bending challenges may seem impossible at first, but they contain clues and hints to lead you to the solution. And the fun thing is, these logic puzzles can often have real-world applications and get you thinking in fun and creative new ways.

Logic puzzles are sometimes called Pyrgic puzzles and the master of setting them is The Guardian’s Chris Maslanka, who sets humorous scenarios using a cast of quirky characters to challenge your brain cells. If you’re looking for puzzle books, check out some of his testing problems here.

River-crossing logic puzzles

These are classic conundrums that involve getting a number of things, such as a fox, a hen, a man and some grain, across a river in a boat, without any of the animals eating anything they shouldn’t! You can have a go online here.

Truth or lie puzzles

These intriguing puzzles involve a series of statements from a set of characters, some of whom are telling are the truth and some of whom are lying. All you have to do is work which of the statements are true and which are false, using logic.

Sticking with jigsaws? Try these fun designs!

3 replies on “Beyond jigsaws: different types of puzzles”

  • I am looking for non jigsaw puzzles that are squares or triangles with half of something on one piece and the other half on another piece.

  • I love puzzles, and I love finding new ones to try. This post has given me a lot of new options to explore!

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