ROADBLOCK - smart puzzle game for one player

 

THE STORY BEHIND THE CREATION OF ROADBLOCK


Most of the games I design, start with a theme first, not with a game concept. I got the inspiration for the SmartGame “RoadBlock” during a bicycle ride on a dark evening on an island (called Terschelling) off the Netherlands a few years ago. The lights were on in some houses, illuminating the windows. You could see shadows in the rooms beyond, because for some reason people in the Netherlands never close their curtains, like we do here in Belgium. It all looked quite fascinating.


The game concept followed almost automatically. Sometimes you can work for years before you get a concept to work, but sometimes you get lucky and your first version works. In this case I was lucky, although I needed a second version to figure out the right shape of all the puzzle tiles, to make enough interesting challenges.


GAME OF THE YEAR

In 2008 “RoadBlock” won the “Game of the Year” award in the Netherlands. This was a special experience because the news also made headlines in the Belgian media, probably because one newspaper wrote: ‘Belgian designer wins game award in the Netherlands.’ During the following few days I was interviewed by several radio stations, newspapers and a regional TV station. What made this special was that it changed the way my family looked at my work. Although I had been a designer for many years and I had won quite a few game awards prior to this, what I was doing never became real to them until they read about it in their own newspapers.


For me, the biggest reward is not a formal award but the fact that people buy a second or third game because they are so pleased with the first one they bought.



top: example of a challenge and solution of RoadBlock


GET THE GANGSTER

In RoadBlock, you start a challenge by placing the buildings and the red car according to the positions shown in the booklet. The object is two-fold: to place all the puzzle pieces with police cars on the game board AND to place them in such a way that all escape routes for the red car are blocked off. Sometimes there are more than 60 ways to place all the pieces on the game board, but only one will make sure that the gangster in the red car can't escape. So although there is also a red car in this game like there is in Rush Hour from ThinkFun (invented by Nob Yoshigahara), the object is the opposite. And of course it’s a completely different concept, because it’s a tiling puzzle and not a sliding puzzle.


BOOSTER PACK

Last year we introduced a booster pack for this game with an extra puzzle tile and 60 new challenges. This time around you need to block in 2 cars. The position of the red one is still given, but the player has to find the right location for the green car.


THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS

Because of the theme, I had a big city like New York in mind, having seen (too) many American police movies. But skyscrapers would have made the game unplayable and expensive, and setting it in the States would have meant the cars were excessively big. So I changed the setting to a bad neighbourhood of an average city instead. But the lights illuminating the windows, where it all started, are still there.


AWARDS

  1. Good Toy Foundation: Winner "Toy of the Year 2008” (The Netherlands)

  2. Guldbrikken: Nominated Toy of the Year 2009 (Denmark)

  3. Best Puzzle nominee 2010 (GAMES Magazine USA)


REVIEWS AND OTHER LINKS

RoadBlock on the official website of SmartGames

  1. www.deskovehry.com (CZ): Recenze: Smart Games Auto Blok - souboj dobra se zlem

  2. www.gamesfanatic.pl: Blokada

  3. www.brettspiele-report.de: Blockade

  4. www.papskubber.dk: RoadBlock

  5. http://www.brettspiele-report.de/blockade/

  6. http://www.toysaretools.com/2013/11/best-toys-and-games-2013-holiday-list.html


UPDATE 2016

The updated 2016 version (new line look) now includes 80 instead of 60 challenges!

 

English /


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2016

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

PENGUINS POOL PARTY

PARKING PUZZLER

IQ-XOXO

DEDUCKTION

DINOSAURS MYSTIC ISLANDS

WALLS & WARRIORS

SMARTCAR 5x5

HIDE & SEEK PIRATES JR

HIDE & SEEK JUNGLE

NORTH POLE EXPEDITION

GHOST HUNTERS

AV MUTATION


2015

THREE LITTLE PIGGIES

BUTTERFLIES

IQ-BLOX

IQ-CANDY

PENGUINS PARADE

2014

QUADRILLION

BRAIN CHEESER

CITY MAZE

IQ-STEPS


2013

BUNNY BOO

VIKINGS BRAINSTORM

BACK 2 BACK

IQ-LINK

AB UNDER CONSTRUCTION

AB ON TOP


2012

TEMPLE TRAP

BILL & BETTY BRICKS

BEND-IT

IQ-FIT

NOAHS ARK

AQUABELLE

2011

PENGUINS ON ICE

TRUCKY 3

TROY

IQ-TWIST


2010

CHICKEN SHUFFLE

ANACONDA

CANNIBAL MONSTERS

SMARTCAR

SMARTPHONE


2009

TITANIC

DAY & NIGHT


2008

ROADBLOCK

METROVILLE

ALCATRAZ

2007

CAMELOT JR

CASTLE LOGIX

GOGETTER MUMMY MYSTERY


2006

AIRPORT TRAFFIC CONTROL

HIDE & SEEK PIRATES

TOWER OF LOGIC INFERNO

DUOPUZZLE


2005

CAMOUFLAGE

HIDE & SEEK SAFARI


2001

GOGETTER CAT & MOUSE

GOGETTER LAND & WATER

GOGETTER PRINCE & DRAGON

Raf Peeters, January 2008