Given some of my current top posts in this blog are currently all Wasgij puzzles solution posts (joys of everyone finding puzzles in lockdown), it seems a lot of people struggle with doing a Wasgij without seeing a final solved image. This guide should help anyone do a Wasgij puzzle (or other puzzles without using the box image).
If you just want the Wasgij solutions, then scroll right to the bottom and you’ll find a list of all my completed solution posts.
The first time I was given a Wasgij puzzle it was a double puzzle. 2 in 1, there’s one bonus puzzle which is the box image along with the normal Wasgij which is one you have to work out how to solve. It totally confused me because I got out the image puzzle first and couldn’t work out why it was easy and the box image. Then I read the box and worked out it wasn’t the main puzzle. Oops.
Ever since those early days when I had to sneak quick looks online at solutions to get going I’ve been hooked. In the next 2 years I’ve done quite a few across the ranges, and once I got the hang of it, I can do them without looking at the clues.
When you complete one, it’s so rewarding being able to work out the solution. At first, it can be daunting, and annoying that you can’t get the placement right. But do a few, and you’ll get your eye in. I always find the older puzzles are much harder to do. And if i have a long break from doing Wasgij puzzles, it takes a while to get back to it.
Sometimes when you end up with a lot of one colour you just can’t see how you’ll solve it. Taking a break and some time away, I usually find that one or two attempts later I get back into the puzzle again.
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What are Wasgij puzzles?
Wasgij puzzles have been around since 1997, and if you hadn’t worked out, Wasgij is jigsaw spelt backwards. And that’s what the puzzles are. Not what you see.
There are 4 ranges and a few new puzzles are launched each year.
The 4 Wasgij ranges are Destiny, Original, Mystery and Christmas. Most are 1000 pieces, but you can get mini 150 and 500 piece puzzles. I don’t really do these as I prefer the bigger ones, but the smaller ones can help get your confidence up if you’re new to them.
You have to imagine you’re in the picture as one of the characters looking the other direction. What do they see? I find these are usually the hardest puzzles of the ranges.
The box image is a view of one point in time, but what could the same scene look like in future. Think more modern days, and you’ll be on track.
Imagine what happens next to the scene in the picture. These tend to be the easiest to try because much of the outside is often the same. Therefore it’s easiest to work out where the main blocks of the outside parts go.
Similar to the original range but with a Christmas theme. Often these come with a bonus puzzle of the box image in.
How to complete a Wasgij puzzle
The start point once you’ve worked out which range and theme the puzzle is, is to read the box. Each Wasgij box usually gives you 3 clues – an idea of the perspective of the solution (ie whose view is it), and a couple of locations of small pieces. There’s usually a 4th hint online you can look up.
Then find a large place to do your puzzle. If you do a lot and don’t have the table space to keep a puzzle out, then try getting a Portapuzzle. They’re invaluable and provide a couple of flat pieces to set out pieces, or do smaller parts of the puzzle. You can buy ones with a handle as well as the basic one. Some people like the roll up ‘felt’ type of material but I didn’t find those very good as they didn’t stay flat. Or get a large thin piece of board you can move around. We used to have one which was thin enough to slip under the sofa even with the puzzle on.
My method is the most logical one for me, but everyone does puzzles differently.
Always start with the edges though. Without this on a Wasgij puzzle, you’ll have no way of knowing what goes where. I sort my puzzle out into edges and main colours/characters/writing at the same time, handful by handful. I do this on my board – tending to have about 7-8 piles by the end of sorting. Some people lay out by jigsaw piece shape, but I only do this once I’ve got nearer the end and am getting a bit stuck. Otherwise there’s too many pieces to find at once.
You can sort into any sections you want.
Puzzle sorting for beginners
- Writing. These tend to be easy to complete, so it’s always good to have these pulled out as a pile.
- Obvious people or animals. Anything that’s obviously faces or body limbs keep in a group. Where there are clothes, keep those to colour sections.
- Colours – the number of colour piles will depend on the puzzle. I group purples and pinks, reds/orange/yellows, blues, greens, whites/greys, sometimes blacks or browns, then put the rest in an ‘other’ pile. Everytime will be different.
- Buildings – look for brickwork or glass
- Obvious items – any item that stands out when looking through – vehicles or food.
You don’t want too many piles, but with bigger colour piles you can split them up at the next stage and pull out items within those colours. You can then see the Wasgij coming together.
I do the same sorting for any puzzle. I keep out the edges, and put each pile into sandwich bags. Or you can use boxes (takeaway containers would work well) or these puzzle sorters.
Step by step guide to Wasgij solutions
Step 1 Complete the edges
Don’t worry if you’re missing a couple of pieces, you’ll find them. Sometimes you get a long way through but realise you’ve got a couple of edge pieces in the wrong place. Don’t worry, you can fix it later.
Step 2: Start with the writing
This is the easiest part to put together. If any go next to the edge, then fix them on. If not, you can just put them on the puzzle board, or use a separate tray or board. I start all my ‘small’ sections on my boards, then move them over to the puzzle area when I know more about what might fit where.
Step 3: Choose one of the main colours
Pick the colour where you think there’s a few pieces that will be easily put together. Look for patterns, e.g clothing patterns, or building brickwork. I lay out all of this colourway on one of my boards. Then put similar shades together where they’re obvious. E.g all sky pieces, all blue dress etc. Then put each of those obvious patterns together. If there’s more than 3-4 pieces put together I’ll move them into my puzzle.
Step 4: Work through the colours
I do bright colours first as they tend to be easier. If there are obvious colour sections on the edges, try and find these to start building up the puzzle. Then you can work your way inwards.
Step 5: Make use of sorting boards
If you run out of space in the middle of the puzzle for all your completed sections and don’t know where they sit, make use of your sorting boards instead. These puzzles do take a lot of space.
Step 6: focus on large plain areas like grass or sky
Start with pieces that are joined to other areas, then the plain pieces. This is where you might want to sort the pieces into puzzle shape in rows. Look for where you have non standard pieces to fit as there’s fewer of these, e.g 3 male or 3 female pieces, or 2 male next to each other..
Some sections you’ve done might be easy to place. You might struggle with some others. If you’re not sure, remove them from the board to free up space until you know where they go. Just fill in any remaining gaps, until you know where they go.
Step 7: Add any people to complete them
I hate doing these the most because there’s often lots of little people. Look for any colours that might join elsewhere.
Step 8: Re sort remaining pieces by shape
When you’ve got a bit stuck and haven’t got too many pieces left, re-sort into puzzle shapes so it’s easy to see everything. I don’t bother putting these into colours. By this stage it’s mostly random pieces left. Just work through the pieces until it’s finished. By this stage, you get used to the pieces and colours, and it’s easier to find the pieces that will fit.
Remember, if you can’t see where anything goes, sometimes a break is good. Take time away, come back the next day, and it’ll probably be clearer.
If you can’t get started, you can find my Wasgij solutions below. Or search for solutions online. When I started out, I found just knowing what was round the edges it helped get started.
Wasgij solutions (if you need some help)
Full Monty Fever – Original 3
A Day to Remember – Original 4
Blooming Marvellous – Original 6
Football Fever – Original 21
The Bake Off – Original 23
A Very Merry Holidays – Original 24
Celebrity Chief Chef – Original 26
20th Party Parade – Original 27
Dropping the Weight – Original 28
Catching Wedding Fever – Original 29
Strictly Can’t Dance – Original 30
Safari Surprise – Original 31
The Big Weigh in – Original 32
Calm on the Canal – Original 33
A Piece of Pride – Original 34
The Sands of Time – Destiny 3
The Office – Destiny 11
Old Time Rockers – Destiny 16
Paying the Price – Destiny 17
Fast Food Frenzy – Destiny 18
The Puzzlers Arms – Destiny 19
The Toy Shop – Destiny 20
Highway Hold up – Destiny 21
Hound of the Wasgij Ville – Mystery 4
Childcare – Mystery 11
Unusual Suspects – Mystery 12
Purrfect Escape – Mystery 13
A Typical British BBQ – Mystery 15
Birthday Surprise – Mystery 16
Catching a Break – Mystery 17
Grabbing a quick bite – Mystery 18
Only Fools and Horses Duckin and divin
You can buy Wasgij puzzles* from Amazon, or try Hobbycraft, The Works or charity shops on the high street.
For jigsaw accessories, check out my post Helpful Accessories for puzzle fans
Let me know if you’ve any questions about completing Wasgij puzzles. Good luck.