Other SmartGames 2016

Updates  to other SmartGames

Raf Peeters, January 2016

Apart from the real novelties (check out the previous pages) like Little Red Riding Hood, Penguins Pool Party, IQ-XOXO, Deducktion, Parking Puzzler and Dinosaurs Mystic Islands, we also worked on updating a lot of older SmartGames. Not only Troy and SmartCar got a complete make-over, there are several other games that got a refresh or a new variant too. Many older SmartGames are still perfect puzzle concepts, but were never updated after their initial introduction, sometimes more than 10 years ago. A lot of the work on these updates was not done by me, but by my colleagues. I only helped with the concepts, challenges and design of the plastic parts, because I had  more than work enough with finalizing the other new SmartGames.


In all my designs I try to do more with less. But how could I improve something like Safari Hide & Seek, which only had 4 puzzle pieces? Fewer pieces were not really an option here. What definitely needed to be improved was the storage compartment. The original game has a sliding drawer, but that isn’t always ideal. If you don’t place the booklet and puzzle pieces very carefully inside this drawer, sometimes the booklet or pieces get stuck. The original version was still designed using pen and measuring rod. But the square corners and edges looked quite outdated and were not so pleasant to handle.

The first thing we did was to redesign the housing, so that it looked in line with newer SmartGames. Adding extra puzzle pieces to add value to the new version, was not really an option for me. It would weaken the simplicity of the concept.

But the new storage compartment has 2 sides. Without adding much extra cost we could include an extra playing grid and add more variation to the challenges. The puzzle pieces are double sided too to match the color of the bottom and top side of the housing. The final version has a day side and a night side, each with different animals from Asia. The day side plays similar to Safari, although the challenges and puzzle pieces are completely different. The night side, which is much harder, is similar to Angry Birds Under Construction, but has also different challenges. 


Although this version has the same theme as the older Hide & Seek Pirates game, it is more similar to Hide & Seek Safari because each grid and puzzle piece is also divided in 9 squares. This means that this Junior version is harder than to original Pirates version, where each separate grid was divided in 5. But to make some challenges easier again, my colleagues have added a wind rose to the STARTER and JUNIOR challenges, showing the orientation of the most difficult puzzle piece. 


The working title for Jungle - Hide & Seek was “double fun”. When I needed to come up with an idea to add value to Camouflage North Pole, I looked for a similar idea to give a double use to some parts. I couldn’t use an extra playing grid, because one of the more expensive parts of this game are the challenge cards. The result is a variation to Camouflage that has 2 playing modes for each challenge. The game includes 2 T-shapes puzzle pieces with an eskimo. Before you start you decide which eskimo you want to use: the one on ice or the one in the canoe in the water. For each playing mode there is just 1 solution. But the solution for both eskimos is often completely different. There are 20 cards, printed on both sides. Each side has 2 playing modes, so you end up with 80 challenges. Just by adding 1 puzzle piece, I could increase the number of challenges from 48 (for the old version) to 80. The only downside is that the concept looses a little bit of simplicity. The old version explained itself. In this new version you need to read the game rules to understand why you have 1 puzzle piece too much. But I think in this case, the advantage to having much more challenges for the same money, is worth it.


Ghost Hunters was developed by Hans and a former colleague Mathias. It’s a variation to AquaBelle, with the same puzzle pieces but a different theme and challenges. Most levels give you extra clues, making this version easier than AquaBelle. The artwork of the cards was done by Simon Spruyt, well known flemish maker of graphic novels.


Anti-Virus Mutation started also as an idea to make a “double fun” version of Anti-Virus. The original version was based on an idea by Oskar van Deventer, but we were allowed to make variations to it. When I started I wanted to do the same thing we did for Hide & Seek Jungle. If the top and bottom side had a different grid, we could use the same puzzle pieces twice and add more variation to the challenges. For that reason the second grid needed to have a shape, similar to the one on the top side (square with rounded corners). Therefor I could not play with the shape of the grid, but only change the orientation. The original version had a grid which was rotated 45°, the mutated version has a more common grid orientation of 90°. Surprisingly this new version is not simpler to solve, although the edges of the grid are now straight instead of having a wavy shape. Later during the development, we decided not to add this second playing grid to the existing version of Anti-Virus, but to spin off a separate, more compact version of it. The reason for this is that it would have made the classic version too expensive and too thick. This new version Anti-Virus Mutation has not only a grid with a different orientation, but also a different set of puzzle pieces.


A few other older games also received an upgrade, gaining not only a new packaging but also more challenges:

• RoadBlock, Penguins on Ice and Quadrillion now include a booklet with 80 challenges instead of 60!

• Temple Trap now includes 60 challenges instead of 48.

• There is also a new version of IQ-Puzzler, named IQ-Puzzler PRO: This improved version includes 120 challenges AND their solution (the old version didn’t include any solutions, because they were not unique). This IQ-Puzzler PRO version uses a different set of puzzle pieces and has 3 different playing modes (2D 90°, 2D 45° and 3D).

example of a challenge/solution on the day side of Jungle Hide & Seek

example of a challenge/solution on the night side of Jungle Hide & Seek

example of a two solutions of the same challenge: on the left with the eskimo in the water, on the right with the eskimo on ice

example of a challenge/solution of Ghost Hunters

On the left the new Anti-Virus Mutation. On the right the original Anti-Virus, which is slightly bigger.

Website ©2016 Raf Peeters

Products and images: © Smart