BACK 2 BACK - double sided puzzle game

 

THE STORY BEHIND THE CREATION OF BACK TO BACK


Back to Back is an single player game I designed for SmartGames. It looks a little bit like “4 in a row”. But Back to Back is not a 2 player game, but a puzzle. And the pieces are not placed on the inside of the game board but on the outside of it (on both sides).


DOUBLE SIDED

The object of the game is to fill up a vertical grid with puzzle pieces. But what makes this puzzle different, is that the grid needs to be filled up on both sides! Every puzzle piece has two parts that are longer and that fit inside the holes of the grid. This way the puzzle pieces can be placed vertically, but it also means that you can’t place any puzzle pieces on the flip side of these protruding parts.


It was very hard to find a set of puzzle pieces that filled the grid completely on both sides, without leaving any holes uncovered. This was much harder than anticipated and at times I wondered if it would be possible at all. Because there needed to be multiple ways to fill up the grid to have enough challenges and variation in the final product.


At last I found a set with 11 puzzle piece. All pieces are different from each other, except for the 2 pink ones.




top: example of an easy challenge (left) and solution (right). The protruding parts of the puzzle pieces placed on the backside are indicated with a white circle.




top: example of a hard challenge (left) and solution (right).


The places on the grid that are empty on both sides of the grid are in the challenge indicated by a black circle. It would have been more logical to make them white, but this looked more confusing.


Solving the challenges was easier than expected, except for the MASTER and WIZARD levels. Just like IQ-Link the position of the puzzle pieces that were given in the challenge, give you a lot of hints to place the next puzzle piece. But it does take some time to get used to the fact that you have two sides to fill up. But I seldom needed to rotate the game to see how the other side looked like.


Just make sure that you play this game on a stable, horizontal surface. You can’t play it when holding it in your hand, because puzzle pieces sometimes will drop down from the vertical grid if the game is tilted.


The game includes 60 challenges. All puzzle pieces and the challenge booklet can be stored inside the game itself afterwards. When you buy the product, you are looking at the transparent bottom behind the window box and the grid will act as a lid.


THE HARDEST BUTTON TO BUTTON

The hardest part in the development of Back2Back was to get the fitting of the puzzle pieces right. Everybody who has seen the pre-production samples shown on the toy fairs will remember that the puzzle pieces could easily be removed from the vertical grid and sometimes dropped off accidentally. We tried to change this by fine tuning the size of the holes and puzzle pieces, but could not solve the issue completely until we changed the material of the white vertical game board.


So in the final product this is now made from a softer, flexible material. You need to push a little to get the puzzle pieces in and out, which is perfect. So although the game rules say that you need to play it on a table, you can also play it in a car, train or plane or even upside down if you want.


REVIEWS AND LINKS

  1. Back2Back on the official website of SmartGames

  2. http://pelnapara.znadplanszy.pl/2013/08/11/do-plecaka-5-twarza-w-twarz/

  3. http://www.majorfun.com/

  4. http://scheherazade.znadplanszy.pl/2013/12/26/twarza-w-twarz/

  5. http://thepuzzleden.blogspot.be/2014/10/back-2-back-from-smartgames.html


AWARDS

  1. Best Puzzle Nominee 2014: GAMES Magazine (USA)

  2. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2013 (USA)


 


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Raf Peeters, January 2013

English/

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