The story behind the creation of Quadrillion

Raf Peeters, January 2014

‍The Quadrillion game is the ultimate IQ-puzzle from SmartGames for anyone who likes to solve packing problems. It has 12 big sturdy puzzle pieces that are easy to handle by young and old. It’s maybe not clear from the image above but the puzzle pieces are much bigger than those of the standard compact IQ-games. But what really differentiates this new puzzle from all existing ones is that it has an almost unlimited number of challenges.


‍When I design new SmartGames I always think of how I can make puzzles better by doing things different. I already made games where you can change the shape of the puzzle pieces (Penguins on Ice, Bend-it). So I thought: what if I made the game board itself transformable? This would offer some important advantages. Instead of creating different challenges by changing the position of puzzle pieces or pegs on a fixed game board, you would change the game board itself. It’s easier, faster, there is less chance you do something wrong or loose small pegs.

‍To keep the different parts of the game board together, each square part includes 8 magnets. But magnets don’t come cheap. So the starting idea was to have 2 separate games, one named “Yin” and the other named “Yang”. Each set would include 2 different, double sided square parts and 6 puzzle pieces with balls. When you only bought 1 set, you could of course only create a limited set of relatively simple challenges. But if you combined both games, you would have more complex challenges with 4 squares. The working title “Yin-Yang” was chosen to make it clear to customers that both games should be played together.But because the full potential of the game could only be reached if you bought both games, we decided to combine them in 1 product after all.


‍The object of the game is to create a game board and fill it up with the 12 puzzle pieces. Each square part of the game board has some places where you can’t put any puzzle pieces: the white and black dots. Each square is double sided and has these dots on different places. So there are many different configurations of the 4 squares possible, depending on how you orientate them and which shape of game board you make. And then something unexpected happened. When we looked for possible challenges and solutions, we found that 11 shapes of the game board always had a solution, it didn’t make any difference in which orientation the square parts were used. I immediately realize that this opened new opportunities. Serendipity at work!


‍I often get feedback from customers who want more challenges than the ones included a game. The first SmartGame included 12 challenges. Later we went to 24, 48, 60 and sometimes 120 challenges. But for some people more will never be enough. Finally I found something to satisfy them all.

‍There exist 638.976 different start positions when you click the 4 parts of the game board together. These have always at least 1 solution. Sometimes they have a 100.000 solutions. That doesn’t mean that finding a single one is easy. Of course 638.976 is not a quadrillion, but we looked for a product name that sounded like “a lot”. By the way, did you know that quadrillion is a different number in the US than it is in Europe? Although I didn’t make the math yet, the number of possible solutions probably comes closer to a quadrillion. The size of the text file that the computer generated with solutions was more than 20 GB! So that’s also the reason why the game doesn’t include all possible solutions ;-)

‍Of course it’s possible to create different shapes of game boards then the ones allowed by the game rules. But I can’t guaranty that these will always have a solution. So only try that at your own risk. For example the game board in the shape of a flower, also exist in a form that is mirrored from the one shown in the rules (see also image at the top of this page). But 3 of the 24576 possible configuration this shape offers didn’t have a solution, so I left it out.


‍Playing randomly an infinite number of challenges has one disadvantage: it’s hard to place them in the right order of difficulty. So we also included a booklet with a selection of 60 challenges. These challenges require you to set up a specific game board and place some puzzle pieces in a specific position. These particular challenges have just 1 possible solution, found at the end of the booklet.

‍This is really a puzzle game for anyone with enough patience. Not only children will enjoy the simple game rules and setup, but also their parent and grandparents. The magnets inside the game board make it possible to set up a new challenge in a snap. Just click and play! It takes just a few seconds to start a new challenge... but a life time to solve them all.

‍UPDATE JULY 2016: The new 2016 version (with an image on the frontside) has now a closed box, so that it becomes easier to store all parts after playing. This new version also has an updated booklet with 80 instead of 60 challenges.

the 11 shapes of the game board of Quadrillion that are allowed by the rules


1) Snap the 4 magnetic grids together:

• Any of the configurations (see illustration on page 2 in the challenge booklet) with grids side by side are allowed.

• Grids can be placed in any order, with any rotation, and with either side up.  

2) Fit the 12 puzzle pieces on the game board you just created: 

• Puzzle pieces cannot be placed on top of the black or white dots (the covered spaces).

• All of the other open spaces on the grid need to be occupied by puzzle pieces for the challenge to be solved.

• Puzzle pieces can occupy open spaces on multiple grids.  

3) All challenges have at least one solution. Some challenges have a few; other challenges have almost 100,000. That doesn’t mean that finding a single one is easy! 

Website ©2020 Raf Peeters

Products, game rules and images: © Smart