In 2021 I designed the first SmartGame with a sport theme: Gooal! I am not exactly a big soccer fan, but I do like connection games and this theme was perfectly suitable for one. Because the goal (pun intended) is to create a path from your player with the ball to the goal.
GOAL, GOAL, GOOOOOOOAL!
This game is a magnetic travel game. I already designed a connection game for this subcollection “Puzzle Beach”, but this new one is different. In Puzzle Beach you know which figurines need to be connected. In Gooal you only know the starting point and that the end point will be in one of the 3 squares behind the goal line. But you don’t know if you need to make one continuous path (your player dribbles and scores the goal) or that you pass the ball to other players of your own team first.
The biggest challenge was to create a combination of puzzle pieces that resulted in enough different solutions that looked like something that could happen in a real soccer game. Of course this puzzle game is static and a real game isn’t, so there are limits to what I could do. Sometimes the keeper of the other team is positioned in a way that would not really make sense. But a magnetic game with a theme like this comes with many limitations for a designer. One limitation was that the pieces with the players only can be placed in one orientation (with their feet at the bottom).
You always need to use all puzzle pieces. The challenges show you the position of all the pieces with players. You need to find the position of the pieces with the path. Sometimes you can score a goal by using just one or two pieces. But that’s not allowed, because you must use the 5 path pieces. The difficulty in most challenges comes from finding a solution where all puzzle pieces are used.
The illustrations of the cover and puzzle pieces were made by my colleague Jeanne. In case the upcoming World Cup is boring, you have at least something to do that is more fun ;-)
Example of a simple challenge (left) and solution (right) of Gooal!
GAME RULES GOOAL!
1) Choose a challenge. Place the puzzle pieces with the players on the game board as indicated.
2) Score a goal! Fit the remaining pieces on the board to create a path so that the ball moves across the field and crosses the goal line:
A) The path starts at your player with the ball.
B) You can pass the ball only to other players of your own team.
C) All pieces with paths must be used! No loose paths are allowed. A path should either connect to one of your players or to another part of the path.
D) The path should end inside the goal, by crossing the goal line (the path should continue 1, 2 or 3 squares behind the goal line).
3) There is only one solution.
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