SMARTCAR - Wooden 3D puzzle and toy for kids


After the more complex Smart Games of 2008 and 2009 like Alcatraz, MetroVille and Titanic, I wanted to design something really “simple” again. In SmartCar you have 4 identically shaped blocks, with only the colour and placement of the printing on the blocks being different.


The object of this 3D puzzle is to make a car that matches the image as shown in the challenge. The more difficult the challenges get, the less information the challenge gives you about the correct position of the blocks.

I’m intrigued by the fact that people always underestimate the number of possible positions that a simple block can have. Take a die, for example. You can orientate this die in 24 different ways, because you have 6 sides and each side has 4 possible orientations. You can see the same principle at work in SmartCar – there are many more ways of building a car than most people realize.

The car should always have 2 eyes visible on the windscreen; all the other eyes must be hidden by other blocks or by the car’s chassis. Finding the right position for the eyes on the different blocks took quite some time during SmartCar’s development. The eyes limit the number of possible solutions and I wanted to keep as much variation as possible.

from left to right: example of a STARTER, JUNIOR, EXPERT and MASTER challenge


Like the other wooden SmartGames, this game also evolves with the growing abilities of a child. For a 2-year-old it is just a simple toy, for older children it becomes a puzzle.

Any similarity with the movie Cars is not intentional and is merely coincidence, although my sons and I are big fans of Pixar. But however hard we tried with different alternatives, as soon as you give a car eyes and a smile, you immediately make this association. And the name and red color of the box were already decided long before I added eyes to puzzle concept.


  1. Good Toy Foundation: nominated "Toy of the Year 2010” (The Netherlands)

  2. Guldbrikken: nominated “Toy of the Year 2010” (Denmark)

  3. Belgian Toy Federation: “Toy of the Year 2010” (Belgium)

  4. 6/6 rating (Highest Recommendation) Protégez-Vous Magazine 2011 (Canada)

  5. Nominated “Deutscher Lernspielpreis 2011 in der kategorie ab 3 Jahre” (Germany)


SmartCar on the official website of SmartGames

  1. (DK): Det rullende hovedbrud

  2. (PL): Smart Auto – inteligentna ciężarówka

  3. Recenze: Smart Games Car - chytré autíčko především pro kluky


You can find the game rules  of SmartCar here. If you liked this game, you might like other wooden Smart Games for young children too:


© 2009: Raf Peeters


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