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237 Reviews
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180 of 184 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great puzzle
I'm not a big fan of jigsaw puzzles (sure, they are fun, but I can think of more fun things to do with my time), but when I saw this thing in its assembled form at barnes and noble, something about it made me do a double take. It just looked so cool and unusual -- a professional-looking globe made out of jigsaw pieces with no internal support! How can it be so smooth? How...
Published on August 21, 2008 by R. Belikov

versus
69 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult or impossible to assemble neatly
I have purchased two sets of this puzzle globe. I consider myself to have above average skills in modeling and crafts, and I've been assembling puzzles and models for over 40 years. I found it impossible to assemble this puzzle neatly, without flaws. I realized, soon after inspecting the first set I bought, that it would never assemble properly without glue. In certain...
Published on July 11, 2009 by James Frick


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180 of 184 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great puzzle, August 21, 2008
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Ravensburger The Earth - 540 Piece Puzzleball (Toy)
I'm not a big fan of jigsaw puzzles (sure, they are fun, but I can think of more fun things to do with my time), but when I saw this thing in its assembled form at barnes and noble, something about it made me do a double take. It just looked so cool and unusual -- a professional-looking globe made out of jigsaw pieces with no internal support! How can it be so smooth? How can it stay solid? I hadn't even noticed that it wasn't a solid globe at first, when casually catching it out of the corner of my eye a few times as I was browsing the book stalls. It seemed like a lot of fun to make something like this, as was the prospect of testing my geography. My wife didn't see it as all *that* cool, but we still had a blast assembling this thing, though she only did the US, canada, and antarctica and only had patience for 30-60 minutes at a time. Trying to figure out which part of the world a given piece belonged to based only on parts of city names was a lot of fun. Watching it grow was great. Highly addictive, causes sleep loss. Took 3 days, maybe 4 hours a day. I would say the difficulty level is appropriate for adults and kids over ~12, or under 12 if accompanied by adults (unless it's assembled in cheat-mode where you look at the numbers on the backs of pieces). The pieces are hard and plastic, and interlock pretty tightly. It holds together pretty well during assembly, and is sturdy when fully assembled -- you can roll it around like a soccer ball (just don't kick it) and it can spin in the base very fast without breaking. It didn't seem quite as smooth as in the store -- some pieces jotted out by a fraction of a mm, but it does look perfectly smooth from a distance. My only qualm is that the printing on some adjacent pieces was slightly misaligned (< 1mm) and that some ocean pieces are completely identical, so that the only way to distinguish them is by the numbers in the back. But it's actually perfectly useable as a regular, fairly detailed globe and especially as a cool decoration! I'll probably eventually get some of their other ones, such as the globe of the night sky.
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product!!, January 17, 2008
By 
Debi D. (Bayside, NY) - See all my reviews
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Ravensburger The Earth - 540 Piece Puzzleball (Toy)
My 9-year old daughter and I have had a wonderful experience with this puzzle. She started out using the numbers on the back of the pieces, but I convinced her to use her regular puzzle skills to assemble the globe. We've both learned a thing or two about geography! I chose the Ravensburger brand because of its quality and durability; I wasn't disappointed. I definitely recommend this product to others.
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59 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great puzzle; several flaws, December 27, 2010
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Ravensburger The Earth - 540 Piece Puzzleball (Toy)
This was an extremely fun puzzle. I stayed up late at night working on it. If you don't "cheat" by using the numbers on the backs of the pieces, it is an excellent way to learn and review geography. The pieces have a great, smooth feel to them. They feel solid and seem to be waterproof (plastic or plastic-coated). My wife and I had a great deal of fun with the puzzle and would recommend it for most ages down to about age 8, depending on a child's interest in learning and an adult's ability to teach and to interest children in learning. It might be a bit tedious for kids too young or too impatient.

The puzzle is fairly solid and rigid when completed (thanks, probably, to my use of tape on the inside). It spins well in the metal stand. I disagree with the reviewers who faulted the stand--it was easy to use and did not require distorting the puzzle. I also disagree with those who wrote that it cannot be constructed in sections. That's exactly how I did it.

I gave this item 5 stars in the provided categories and would have given it 5 stars overall if not for these flaws:

1. The numbering on the back is great for the ocean areas that have virtually no distinctive features, but can ruin the experience and the learning for the land areas and the oceanic areas that have features. The numbers should only be provided for the featureless oceanic areas.

2. The box and on-line advertisements very clearly state that the puzzle requires no gluing. This is simply false. Many, if not most, connections are not solid enough to stay together well enough to support the weight of other connecting pieces. Some simply fall apart when lightly touched. There is no way this puzzle can be constructed without adhesive. Once I accepted that, and started using tape, I really enjoyed putting it together.

3. The instructions are pretty good, but do not give the full story. They indicate that the puzzle must be constructed in a certain way (South Pole to North Pole), but this does not lend itself to constructing sections, such as continents, and then assembling them, and it is also not the best way to finish the puzzle. Finishing the puzzle effectively took some creative engineering (which was fun for me, but not intended per the instructions).

4. Many, if not most, pieces have discontinuities across their connections--i.e., the words and features printed on the outside do not line up perfectly. It's not terrible, but it doesn't look like a normal puzzle.

5. The picture on the box of the completed puzzle is deceptive. It shows no discontinuities and a perfectly smooth surface. (It's probably a prototype.) Even with creative engineering, very meticulous construction, and liberal use of tape on the inside, my completed puzzle has many connections that are not perfectly smooth. It also has many discontinuities.

6. Many pieces are almost identical in shape and connection points. In other words, it's possible to fit many pieces together that are not supposed to be together. I had a few oceanic sections fitted (and taped) together, only to discover later that they were not in the correct place (by looking at the numbers and after connecting additional sections). A "real" puzzle, even one with significantly more pieces, has very few or zero connections that are identical. You should always be able to tell with 100% certainly whether a connection is correct--even in a featureless area.

In spite of these objections, I recommend this toy, but hope that the manufacturers would improve their products in the future.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old Guy's toy, August 27, 2008
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ravensburger The Earth - 540 Piece Puzzleball (Toy)
We love maps and globes. Our family room is full of them. This is just the latest addition to the decor. It was fun to put together. I'm not sure how kid friendly it is but it is really old guy friendly.
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69 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult or impossible to assemble neatly, July 11, 2009
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Ravensburger The Earth - 540 Piece Puzzleball (Toy)
I have purchased two sets of this puzzle globe. I consider myself to have above average skills in modeling and crafts, and I've been assembling puzzles and models for over 40 years. I found it impossible to assemble this puzzle neatly, without flaws. I realized, soon after inspecting the first set I bought, that it would never assemble properly without glue. In certain areas of the puzzle the pieces simply don't fit together properly, without creating distorting stresses in the ball. Some pieces require forcing or trimming to go together at all.
I was not satisfied with the first resulting globe so I decided to get another one and try again. It hasn't gone much better. I assembled the puzzle to the midpoint, the equator, and began to have serious difficulties.
The photo of the completed puzzle on the box can't be an actual, assembled Earth globe puzzle, not one of the mass produced ones, anyway. It is quite deceptive.
If you want a jigsaw puzzle, I recommend one that's made of two dimensional panels, or a smaller size spherical puzzle. This one was quite frustrating.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innovative and fun, November 2, 2008
By 
P. Sclafani (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ravensburger The Earth - 540 Piece Puzzleball (Toy)
I was thinking about getting a globe as a gift for school age children and came across this puzzle globe. It is a current, working globe with the added bonus of being able to visualize each country as it is put together. The puzzle format is easy to use (the pieces are numbered on the back), but still a little challenging. It is also hard and durable, and can withstand pressure and falling (not a hard fall, I don't think). It would be nice to have some sort of back lighting for night use, but craft aficionados will find a way to remedy that. After I gave one away as a gift, I recommended it to a friend of mine as a gift for an 8 year old puzzle lover. It was his favorite gift ever and he finished it before the night was over!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product, poor customer service - revised!, August 26, 2012
= Durability:2.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ravensburger The Earth - 540 Piece Puzzleball (Toy)
Loved this puzzle. Saw it with my family at FAO Schwartz in NYC. Came home and ordered it from Amazon at a great price. I'm a former navigator working in international transportation and like my 8 year old son to have a global perspective with maps and things. We built this with my extended family after a holiday dinner and had a lot of fun, although it was a bit above my son... Quite a bit of good natured ribbing as I built my sections from the map side, using my knowledge of what cities and oceans were near each other. The rest of my family, read cheaters, built theirs from the opposite side where each piece was numbered.

On completion, we found that one piece was missing, later discovering that the dog also enjoyed the puzzle... The piece was too chewed up to be usable and I wrote the manufacture to try and get a replacement, knowing it might not be possible.

They wrote back saying that they would work on the issue, but never followed up, even after I reminded the several times. I just wrote again and will let you know what happens.

*** Update ***

Contacted customer service again. Was told that the rep handling my inquiry was no longer with the company, for reasons I mentioned. Less than a week later, I recieved my replacement piece which was a perfect fit. Upgraded to 5 stars!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and well-engineered, February 25, 2009
By 
RBM "Sevenoaks" (White Cloud, Mi.) - See all my reviews
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ravensburger The Earth - 540 Piece Puzzleball (Toy)
We saw this at a friend's and were so intrigued that we had to get one to "play with".

It is surely a conversation piece and at 9" in dia.it can be put almost any place.

The things which were most impressive were:

1. Very well packaged.
2. Clear directions and assembly guides.
3. Sturdy semi-curved thick plastic pieces.
4. Inspected thoroughly, no missing parts.
5. Numbered pieces.
6. Great stand and assembly "platform.
7. Good fit, although the "plastic flash" on
a couple of pieces needed to be smoothed out
but not a big deal.
8. Ordered on Friday and received on Tuesday.
9. And...it's fun.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For older children only!, August 27, 2009
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= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Ravensburger The Earth - 540 Piece Puzzleball (Toy)
I got this for my 8 year old who loves puzzles and wanted a globe. I never intended for her to put it together by herself. It was meant to be a "father/daughter" project and its a good thing-definitely not made for a smaller child. Although it has numbers on back for those who need the extra help (or just want to cheat) it required three of us to get the puzzle into the ball formation. Once its together, its together-very sturdy and secure but getting it there requires a bit of patience. I would suggest an age range of atleast 10 and up. It is not a quick project either and we found it entertaining to do it after dinner each night or on a Sunday afternoon. As for the father/daughter time-it was priceless!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great toy for my 6 year old son!, November 29, 2008
By 
Mark (Spokane, WA USA) - See all my reviews
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Ravensburger The Earth - 540 Piece Puzzleball (Toy)
My 6 year old son had been wanting this puzzle ball for about a year, ever since Aug 2007. We finally got it for him on 23 Nov 2008. At first he was a little overwhemled, but each puzzle piece is numbered 1-540. So I put the puzzle pieces in piles of 100's so he could do it a 100 pieces at a time. He spent about an hour a day on it. It took him about 5 days and 5 hours total to do it, with very little help from me. He also likes it for looking at all of the countries and states.
Thanks again for such a great toy!
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Ravensburger The Earth - 540 Piece Puzzleball
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