Back 2 Back 2 Back…

Recommended Age:7+
Players:Single Player
Play Time:As long as it takes to solve a puzzle
Official Site:smartgames/back-2-back
Contents:Tray and Grid/Lid
11 Colored Puzzle Pieces
Booklet with 60 challenges and the answers
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Back 2 Back is another AMAZING game created from one of my favorite game companies (admittedly I have a lot of those now) Smart Games (Smart Toys and Games). Yes it is technically a single player game and the recommended age is 7+ but again… my kids are younger and I LOVE playing games with them. SO! I taught my son (5 years old) how to play! Well sort of…we play together right now. It challenges both of us though. Of course the challenge for him is to solve the puzzle and for me its more to have the patience to teach him to solve it himself when I really just want to play by myself LOL.

To play the normal way, or rather the way you’re supposed to with kids who are old enough, keep reading below. If you have younger kids I explain how we are learning later in this post. In this way the game really is for ALL ages! Here we go!

Set Up:DSCN9165 copy

Assuming you took it out of the box already take the lid off and empty the tray. Then place the lid vertically in the little slots on the tray. Ta-Da! You have the game board! I LOVE Smart Games game case designs! They make everything so convenient for travel and storage! That was the easiest part.

Next pick a puzzle level. I recommend level 1. Set the board up based on the picture of the level you chose. The black dots are the empty spots that you get to figure out in just a second.

Once you have the board set up (which can be a bit of a challenge itself) you are ready to play.


Now for the hard part. You get to try to use the remaining pieces to fill in those empty spots on the board. Sounds easy right? Well guess what? Wrong! You are not just filling the spots in on one side of a board. You probably figured this out during set up. You can choose which side of the board you want to place the pieces. Front or back and they have to fit without pieces falling off or being shoved in sideways. There is a solution for each puzzle. ONE solution!


Really just solving ONE puzzle is winning. That is the beauty of this game. It challenges you and frustrates you on the later levels but when you solve that one you have been trying to figure out you feel SO fantastic! I mean you shout out “yeah!” when you finally solve it. Or so I have heard…moving on.

SO when all the 11 puzzle pieces fit together in the grid you have solved that puzzle. You CAN check your answers in the back of the book if you want but the temptation to peek at other future puzzle answers is too great for me.

That is how you play NORMALLY. Now for the preschool version! It isn’t that much different honestly….then again it is.


Preschool Version:

Set Up:

Set up is the same as the normal version. Place the lid vertically in the little slots on the tray. Next pick a puzzle level. I recommend level 1 here especially.

Here is what we do different.

DSCN9167 copy

Set the board up based on the picture of the level you chose. I would do this first before he sees you playing the game so you are familiar with the first few puzzles but he doesn’t know that you are. I know its sneaky but if he knows that you know how to do it he won’t want to do it. Right? I would set up and solve the first 4 and familiarize yourself with the pieces on the board.

Have him place the first piece so that it looks like one on the board. Then have him place 2-3 more on the same side. He should get the hang of that part and when he does its time to show him the back.

Show him how some pieces go all the way through and some only go half way through. Demonstrate how a piece with the big part can’t go on a spot with a piece half way through. Then show him the correct piece that goes there and how the half piece fits with the other half piece. Still with me? Ok good!

DSCN9168 copy


Now for the harder part. After the board is set up have him try to solve the rest of the puzzle. I would highly recommend getting him used to the pieces first. How some go through and some don’t. Do this by flipping the board and saying that goes somewhere on this side. Can you see where it can go?

Winning:This keeps the feel of a game, let’s him keep his independence but sets him up for success. I basically let him keep trying the puzzle and spin it as needed. If he doesn’t seem to get the idea right away do NOT solve it for him. He needs to learn and feel that victory for himself. Instead SUGGEST other ways to go. Give options with one being the correct way and one obviously being the wrong way.

Really just solving ONE puzzle is winning especially at this age! It’s actually a win for both of you! The challenge is

  1. Not solving it for him.
  2. Having enough patience to sit for up to 30 minutes while he figures a puzzle out BY HIMSELF (my kids are frustratingly independant)
  3. Helping him without letting him know you are helping him.

I would just do 4 at a time and if need be even just 2. Instead of going forward though repeat the ones you have

NEW Logo_Smart copy

done a few more times but each time help him set the board up less and less. Once he gets the pieces rules down let him figure out the side of the board he needs.

This game is designed to be a growing with you game and I LOVE that they do that. The challenges get harder and harder making it perfect for kids and adults of all ages. Even preschool! It helps build logic skills, independence, confidence and problem solving skills and it’s fun too! To top it all off it is stored in one of the most convenient cases ever! Durable and compact means it is PERFECT for travel, storing among other games and my kids can’t break the box!

I don’t think I can say enough about this game or the company. These types of games teach my children things like logic, self confidence, problem solving and overcoming frustration. I say that last one because I see far to often that when a kid gets frustrated they give up. I love that these games help my children to keep pushing and not give up. The pride they feel when they finally solve that puzzle is more rewarding to me then a smile if I let them give up.



“Whatever you try, if it is giant or small, I know you can do it! No trouble at all.”
~ Dr. Seuss

Author: sandyz

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