Here’s hoping that Dragon Age 4 will let us actually visit places like Par Vollen and Tevinter, but until its release, I shall content myself with lovingly running my fingers over the pieces of the Dragon Age: World of Thedas Map Puzzle. This 1,000-piece puzzle comes in at 20 by 27 inches and is made with care. Where some puzzle manufacturers cheap out on materials, this one uses a quality board at about 1/16th of an inch thickness, making its pieces very sturdy.

Dragon Age: World of Thedas Map Puzzle

Art by Francesca Baerald
Dark Horse Direct, BioWare
July 14, 2021

The image layer is firmly glued in place and is slightly textured. It does catch some light, which requires moving yourself or your light source around a bit sometimes to properly discern the pieces. The same lightly textured material covers the lid of the box, with a smoother material for the lower section. Though not as thick as the puzzle pieces, the box is made of a firm cardboard, making it just as sturdy and therefore worthy of being a collector’s piece for your shelves.

Inside, the pieces all come bound in a simple, unmarked, resealable plastic bag. Like everything else, the plastic is of good quality that won’t tear easily along the seams and has two small holes on either side at the bottom to allow air to escape so that the lid can sit snuggly atop the packed up pieces.

Each piece is about 1 inch by 1 inch, with variation in size within those dimensions. Challenge comes with shapes that are not at all uniform. There are a few standard shapes, but each one feels uniquely cut with differences in edges and angles for variety, and all fit well together. If an accidental connection is made, the pieces can be worked apart with care to avoid any lifting at the edges.

As for the image itself, it is simply beautiful when it all comes together, but you can admire Francesca Baerald’s stunning cartography work well before you put the puzzle together. Even if you are not familiar with the Dragon Age series, you can still appreciate the beauty of the imagery. The map of Thedas includes exquisite details, from monsters in the oceans to the intricate symbols and whorls that frame the piece. The image graces both the top and the bottom of the box, and a heavy stock glossy paper version is also included. It’s perfect for reference, and also for framing and hanging on your wall.

I missed the initial lockdown puzzle craze because I was lacking in appropriate surface area to complete one, but I recently grabbed a cheap puzzle mat that I can spread out on my bed while I sip wine and puzzle away. I used to be an avid puzzler, but it takes me a bit to get back into the groove now. The World of Thedas puzzle presents a comfortable challenge thanks to imagery that isn’t too repetitive, but with subtle enough differences in the lines and coloring to make it a fun effort to get me back into the hobby.