CAMELOT JR - Smart Games for kids



“Camelot Junior” (or Royal Rescue) is without any doubt my favorite puzzle for kids I designed for Smart Games so far. Probably because it combines a lot of my interests: castles, knights, paths, bridges and objects made of wood.


Like most of my games, it looks deceptively simple. It's not clear what is invented or designed here. What makes this a great game concept is not what the blocks look like, but which blocks are used in combination with a simple game rule: try to create a path so the princess and the knight can be reunited.

The positions of 4 of the blocks (the towers) are given in the challenge, but the player needs to figure out the correct position of the remaining 4 (bridge and stairways) themselves.


It's always possible, of course, to make challenging puzzles with a lot of parts and/or complex game rules. But I try to do the opposite. I started out with 12 blocks, but after experimenting with all kinds of combinations, the result was a game with only 8 blocks. More blocks would not have made the game more interesting, only more expensive.

Trying to find the best combination of puzzle pieces and game rules is probably the design element that I like the most. And together with testing out the challenges, it is also the part that takes the most time during the design process.


There are 2 kinds of challenges. For some, it looks like you don't have enough blocks to create a pathway so you need to make a very efficient bridge. These are the kinds of challenges you would expect from a puzzle with just a few parts:

But for some challenges, it looks like you have too many blocks, so you have to place the blocks in such a way that you use up the extra wood, without it obstructing the pathway. To solve this kind of challenge, you need to think more creatively.


In the first version I did, the blocks featured cross-shaped windows, and the knight always saved the princess.

But people in some parts of the world read the windows as being a religious symbol, and people in other parts of the world thought it was not very educational for the girl always waiting to be saved…

So the current version of this Camelot game has square windows and in half of the challenges the princess saves the knight. And now everybody is happy, although I don't think this will really have a huge impact on world peace or women’s rights ;-)


  1. Seal of Excellence 2008 (Canada): Protégez-Vous Magazine

  2. Trophées Flip (catégorie enfance) 2008 (France)

  3. Super trophées Flip (toutes catégories) 2008 (France)

  4. ITSA Best Game Award 2009 (Australia)

  5. Mam Dziecko (I Have A Child Magazine): Superproduct 2009 (Poland)

  6. Main Prize Winner “A child’s Friendly World” 2010, age 3-7 years (Poland)

  7. Practical preschool award 2011, Toys & Games age 3-5, Overall Winner (UK)


Camelot on the official website of SmartGames

  1. Smart Games – Camelot Review

  2. Mądry zamek i Kamelot

  3. Le blog "Les jeux de Yann”:

  4. (CZ): Recenze: SMART Zámecké schody – zachraňte princeznu



If you loved Camelot Junior, you might like other wooden SmartGames for younger kids too, like CastleLogix, Trucky 3, Bunny Peek A Boo , Bill & Betty Bricks or 3 Little Piggies


© 2005: Raf Peeters

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