The product development of LogiBugs (for SmartGames)

Raf Peeters, January 2024

LogiBugs wasn't originally planned for 2024. I needed to design a few games for the tin box format, but the one I had in mind (Smart Dog) resulted eventually in a compact game. This left us without a new tin box game for 2024. Fortunately, with over 130 SmartGames designed so far, there's always an older concept that can be reused. One I liked, but that never really sold well, was Deducktion. I thought little ducks would have been a popular theme, but apparently I was wrong. Predicting what will or won't sell well, still remains a big gamble after all these years.

There was not really anything wrong with the game mechanics of Deducktion. It's a logic puzzle providing hints about the correct position of ducks by showing numbers and/or colors. The existing challenges were good, balanced and liked by the few people who bought the game. So the main design challenge in this new version was to come up with a better theme. Part of the concept requires figurines with the same color to be placed adjacent to each other AND in the right order.  There aren't many numbered things in the world. Race cars could have been an option, except that my colleague Rein already used that theme for a tin box named Pole Position. And a theme with animals raised a different problem. While the duck theme was also a bit absurd, there exists a "Hook a duck" game that features rubber ducks with numbers, so on a certain level it made sense. However in nature, animals normally don’t have numbers printed on their back. This “insight” inspired me to use ladybugs, because they do have some kind of numbering in the form of several black dots. Of course I know that each species of ladybugs always has the same number of dots, but as an artist, you have the right to use a little poetic license.

Once we were sure about the theme, the rest of the development was quite easy. We designed each ladybug in two parts. The black bottom part sticks through the colored top part, creating the dots. This way we can avoid the use of printing. For people who sometimes have trouble picking up puzzle pieces (not to mention my boss) the heads of the ladybugs are angled on the bottom side. This way, you can easily tilt them in case you need to place a beetle somewhere else. The nice artwork for the box was done, as usual, by Hans. Both the illustrations and the actual figurines of the beetles look very cute, as far as I am concerned.

All challenges are identical to the ones of Deducktion, but are rotated 90°, because the 3x4 grid looked better this way. It’s not the hardest SmartGame, but it’s a good introduction to logic for kids or casual puzzlers. And the magnetic pieces and metal box make it a perfect travel game, ideal for long (car) trips. LogiBugs will be available in Spring 2024.

Example of an expert challenge (left) and solution (right) for LogiBugs with 2 color hints and 3 number hints.


To begin, remove all the ladybugs from the game board. 

There are 3 ladybug families: red (5 pieces), orange (4) and yellow (3).

1) Choose a challenge.

2) Fit all the ladybugs on the game board according to the following rules:

A) Each challenge gives specific hints about the location of some ladybugs:

• A square with only a color indicates that you must place a ladybug there with that specific color. It can have any number of dots.

• A square with only a white ladybug indicates that you must place a ladybug there with the specific number of dots shown. It can be any color.

• A square showing a ladybug with a color and number of dots means that specific ladybug needs to be placed there.

B) Ladybugs of the same color family must form a "chain" by being placed adjacent to each other (horizontally or vertically). The ladybug with 1 dot needs to be placed adjacent to the ladybug with 2 dots, which needs to be adjacent to the ladybug with 3 dots, and so on. This chain can be straight but does not have to be (solutions will feature chains of many different shapes).

3) There is only 1 solution, which can be found at the end of the booklet

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