The perfect relationship gift!

The product development of IQ-Love  (for SmartGames) 

Raf Peeters, January 2022

IQ-Love is one of the most straight forward puzzle games I have ever created. The object of the game is to fit all puzzle pieces on the grid. And that’s it. But this simplicity was not intentionally, it was the result of a normal product development process.


Originally the puzzle was much more complex. It had half little hearts on some parts of the puzzle pieces. Therefor only when you placed all pieces correctly on the game board the small harts would be whole again. The problem was that the number of correct heart combinations you can make is very limited this way, because a left side of a heart can only be connected to a right side of a heart on another puzzle piece. This resulted in a very limited number of possible packings. It was also not clear if I could allow half hearts on the edge of the game board. A game where the object is to make hearts whole again, that still had a lot of half hearts would not really make sense. But it did look cool, like a box of Belgian pralines. To create a playable game, I removed the little hearts. But I kept the heart shaped game board (to satisfy my romantic soul). Next I tried to reduce the number of puzzle pieces. If you want to use puzzle pieces made of squares and triangles (=half squares), the number of shapes you can choose from, is actually a lot smaller than you think, if you don’t want to use very small/ big pieces or pieces that are easy to break. From the set of 30 options we choose a set of 11 pieces that gave the best results. Later we could even bring that down to 10 pieces and still have challenges with enough variation. To have even more variation, we added a second game board on the bottom side that has a rectangular shape. Challenges on this side feel different from challenges on the heart shaped game board. Theoretically the rectangle should be easier, because the border is parallel to the grid. This means that puzzle pieces will alway be placed with an orthogonal side against the border. On the heart shaped game board there are 4 positions where you can also place the half, diagonally cut parts of puzzle pieces. On top of that the heart shaped game board offers different types of corners: one inner corner of 90°, one outer corner of 90° and eight corners of 135°. The rectangular game board only has four corners of 90°. Therefor the challenges on the heart side offer more variation, although I can’t really say that I found them harder of easier. IQ-Love is only one of the two versions we created with this set of puzzle pieces. In the future we might introduce another version, more targeted to adults that is even harder. That version won’t have the second, rectangular game board and will use a different type of challenges. 

Money can’t buy you love, but it can buy you IQ-Love.

example of a challenge and solution

Example of a challenge (left) and solution (right) of IQ-Love on the heart shaped side of the game board.

example of a challenge and solution

Example of a challenge (left) and solution (right) of IQ-Love on the rectangular game board.

Love, it's complicated...


1) Choose a challenge. There are two types of challenges:

A. The “heart” challenges are played on one side of the game board.

B. The “rectangular” challenges are played on the other side.

Place the indicated puzzle pieces on the right game board (as shown in the challenge).

2) Fit all the other puzzle pieces on the game board. Puzzle pieces are double-sided and either side can be used. The grooves in the puzzle pieces should align with the grid on the game board.

3) There is only one solution, which can be found at the end of the challenge booklet.

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