IQ-Jigsaw is a new single-player game I designed in 2023. It was inspired by a request from my new colleague Gavin at the Happy Puzzle Company. He asked me if I could create some kind of IQ-game shaped as a typical jigsaw puzzle piece. I tried to make a game board with that distinctive shape, but it looked weird and lacked functionality. Consequently, I redirected my efforts, drawing from a concept I was concurrently developing for a new IQ puzzle for SmartGames.
For the SmartGames project, I had at that time two versions of a game: one with the standard rectangular game board, akin to many other IQ-games such as IQ-Fit, IQ-Puzzler and IQ-Circuit, and another with a square game board, like IQ-Love, IQ-Stixx, or IQ-Perplex. Opting for the rectangular version for the SmartGame left me free to utilize the challenges from the square version for the creation of IQ-Jigsaw. While IQ-Jigsaw shares a similar concept, its final appearance is entirely different. But the fundamental idea remains the same: using puzzle pieces composed of identical segments, each rotated 90° in comparison to its adjacent segments. Theoretically, each segment fits only half of the spaces on the game board, but rotation alters its compatibility to the other half. This creates a puzzle akin to checkerboard puzzles, with orientation as the key, rather than color. But I wanted to go further than this. Already for many years I wanted to develop a game with jigsaw shapes that would be affordable and accessible to those unfamiliar with SmartGames. Recognizing that game boards and transparent lids are typically the most expensive components, I took inspiration from my work on TowerStacks and omitted these parts. The interlocking nature of the puzzle pieces eliminated the need for a grid. And the game's objective, forming a 6x6 square, rendered a border unnecessary. Furthermore, the hollow construction of the pieces, consisting solely of outlines, significantly reduced the required ABS material. I always try to “do more with less” in my work and this is a perfect example.
Upon solving a challenge, the individual segments appear as separate jigsaw pieces, although segments of the same color are part of the same puzzle piece and can’t be altered. Some of these pieces may have similar basic shapes, like a 3x1 or an L-shape, but differ due to the orientation of their protruding jigsaw segments. We tried various sizes, and although the game maintains its visual appeal in different dimensions, the final size struck the optimal balance between affordability and playability. While smaller pieces seemed charming, they risked becoming flimsy and too hard to handle. The game boasts 120 challenges, ranging from easy to difficult, with the difficulty reflected in the number of pieces presented in each challenge (harder challenges show less pieces). Most challenges also provide information about the position of the square's edge in relation to the given pieces, but 4 challenges at the Expert, Master, and Wizard levels omit this detail deliberately. So this is no printing error in the booklet! In these cases, players must deduce where the pieces fit in a 6x6 square without explicit guidance. Only one solution exists for each challenge, as usual. Beyond forming a square, the game offers other possibilities. Bonus challenges featuring different shapes will be available on the SmartGames website next year. These challenges, not included in the booklet, often have multiple solutions, challenging players to envision creative shapes. BTW, multiple solutions doesn’t necessarily mean that these are easier to solve. Maybe we can organize a contest to see who can come up with the most beautiful shape that can be made with these pieces? Currently, IQ-Jigsaw is exclusively available through the Happy Puzzle Company. However, starting summer 2024, SmartGames will distribute the game worldwide under their own brand, but with a different product name: IQ-Matrix. Because the word “jigsaw” only means something for native English speakers and is a word that people in France for example can hardly pronounce ;-)
Example of a challenge (left) and solution (right) .
Example of bonus challenges. Some of these challenges don’t make use of all puzzle pieces!
GAME RULES IQ-JIGSAW/ IQ-MATRIX
1) Choose a challenge. Place the pieces as shown in the challenge, in the correct position and orientation:
• The orientation of each puzzle piece is important. Each individual jigsaw segment has two indented sides and two protruding sides.
• For clarity, each puzzle piece is shown in the challenges as a solid colour. The actual pieces are hollow.
• Most challenges show the final position of the puzzle pieces somewhere within the 6x6 grid (indicated in grey). Some harder challenges only show the relative position of two or three adjacent puzzle pieces, but their exact position within the completed 6x6 grid is not shown.
2) Complete a 6x6 square using the remaining pieces.
3) There is only one solution, found at the end of the challenge booklet.
You can download extra challenges on the official SmartGames website in the future (spring 2024):
These bonus challenges will require you to complete different shapes, other than the 6x6 square grid. These challenges often will have multiple solutions.
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