“Sleepy Princess Pile Up” is a cute game for children ages three and older that was designed by Liesbeth Bos. The game is directly inspired by a classic fairy tale called “The Princess and the Pea” and the game even comes with a condensed version of the story.
“Sleepy Princess Pile Up” includes a small cardboard bed, four mattresses, pillows, and blankets, a wooden princess figurine, a wooden pea, a pink die, and a double sided, round board. Just like in the story, players must place the wooden pea under the bed and stack a tower of mattresses, blankets, and pillows into a tall pile on top of the pea while trying not to topple it over. The double-sided board offers two games in one. One side of the board is for the competitive version where each person is trying to stack their particular set of colored linens first and then the flip side of the board is a cooperative game in which all players are trying together to create the stack of mattresses, pillows and comforters atop the bed. As a bonus, the instructions contain a short version of the “Princess and The Pea” story. According to the official game description:
Normally Penny, the little pea princess, doesn’t like to go to bed. But today she is very tired. To make sure she gets a good night’s sleep, Penny stacks a high tower of mattresses, down comforters and pillow on top of each other in her bed. It is very soft, but very wobbly. Who can help Penny stack everything on her bed, to get a good night’s sleep?
- Two enchanting games of skill: This stacking game includes both a cooperative and competitive variation.
- Contents Include: 1 Penny Pea princess, 1 pea, 4 sets of bedding (each with 1 pillow, 1 downy comforter and 1 mattress, 1 princess bed (with 4 parts), 1 game board (printed on both sides), 1 die, 1 set of instructions.
- A new version of a classic HABA favorite! Suitable for 2-4 players ages 3 and up. Playing time about 10 minutes. Made in Germany.
Liesbeth Bos, a game designer who resides in the southern region of the Netherlands was the mind behind this game. After studying industrial design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven and the University of Wisconsin she became a toy, playground equipment and educative materials designer. For fun she had invented a game with her dad, which got published with a small company in Switzerland. The first “real” board game she invented, “Capt’n Clever” was published immediately. And from that moment on the focus shifted from designing toys to designing games. The world of games is just too much fun!
Recently the focus on children’s games is slowly shifting in a more mature/family-oriented direction. The main goal stays the same. A game should be fun, and should have something; a mechanism, a surprising element, different use of materials, anything goes, that should make it stand out from what is already out there. And so whether she is working on projects for larger companies like HABA, or developing something for a smaller publisher, every product will get the same amount of care and attention in order to get it looking and feeling as top-notch as it can be.
Liesbeth Bos recently granted an exclusive interview where she discussed this game and more.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in designing games and how did you come up with “Sleepy Princess Pile Up”?
Liesbeth Bos (LB): I was a freelance toy designer and a gamer; so, every year when I visited the Toy Fair in Nuremberg I’d just visit the Game halls for my own interest. Then one day a friend mentioned Klaus Teuber, and him doing well. I asked who it was… And then it hit me… Of course, games need designers too. I actually designed and had published a game already by then, but never thought of it that way. I went home, designed a game, showed it at the toy fair and publishers started fighting over who could have it… Ha!
As far as “Sleepy Princess Pile Up,” I was designing toys for HABA already and now I am creating games. Knowing what they can do, I thought about what makes HABA special and different from the other publishers. They can do wood and fabric. The thought of that lead to little mattresses and bedding and such, stacking those, which then lead to the “Sleepy Princess Pile Up”. My main objective was to create a game in which young children would have to think about a choice, sort of like a first strategic kind of thinking.
MM: What is it about the “Princess and the Pea” story that so appeals to you?
LB: From what I remember, from my childhood. She “rocks!” She is not this pretty girl waiting for her knight in shining armor to come rescue her. Nope, she gets soaked to the bone and just knocks on a door and asks if she can sleep there. She can, then the whole pea story starts, but she does not get out of bed or complain. She just hangs in there and casually mentions it the next day.
MM: What were the challenges of developing this product, such as making the fabrics and figurine?
LB: Stopping! Part of making this prototype was so “zen” and mine was handmade but exactly like it is today. I hand stitched all the components and doing that was just wonderful. There were no real challenges. I thought of it, made it and it was more or less exactly like it is today. At another fair, HABA and I discussed the packaging, as they wanted to use the clear window for the box. We drew the box on a piece of paper which was lying around, and even that is exactly like that first sketch. Sometimes designing games is like a fairy tale, but usually it is hard work.
MM: What is your favorite thing about the game and it’s play-pattern, aka rules?
LB: My favorite thing about “Sleepy Princess Pile Up” is the fact that it invites children to play with the material and role-play a bit. There are competitive and cooperative rules. They are more like guidelines for kids at this age. As a parent I would not make them play by the rules if they do something different. It is experiencing the joy of playing a game, which is one of the strengths of the HABA kids games. Enjoy playing, experience gaming but keep it simple and loose. The thing I do like, as I mentioned above, is the option to choose. Do I walk to the left or to the right? Put something in the washing machine or try to add my own pillow… some early tactics, some risk calculation is involved without it being too teachy or pushed upon the kids to play that way. I think the balance the game has there is super.
MM: What kind of feedback have you gotten regarding this game?
LB: Amazing feedback. People love the game, the components, and the memories it makes with their children. I met my best friend through my daughter Puk (she is the one mentioned in the rulebook) who was friends with her daughter when she found out I was a game designer, she told me about this super game she’d bought for her daughter. Turned out it was “Sleepy Princess Pile Up!” I thought she was kidding, but she did not know that I designed it. That was a very special moment.
MM: What other games have you created?
LB: Ha… a lot! For HABA, the “Sleepy Princess Pile Up” there is a whole line of games developed. We have a little card game in a tin box and a “my very first game” also with this Sleepy Princess theme. The challenge there was making three different games based on the same story. But it worked and they are all equally beautifully done and illustrated.
Other than that, I currently have a little line of games out with a Russian Publisher. They have the best art! My publisher from Finland is doing a line of games based on the box being part of the game. We have a little fire truck game called Weeeooo weeeooo and a police car coming out later this year named Wooop wooop. I designed that with my co designer, Anja Dreier Brückner (also a HABA designer) and we were nominated for children’s game of the year in Sweden with that.
Another children’s game with innovative material will come out at Pegasus later this year called “Polar Party!” Another recent one, for more of a family crowd would be “Black/Dark Stories Investigation” a standalone language independent deduction game for the “Dark Stories” line. It recently was awarded with the Dice Tower Seal of excellence. If you would like to see most of my games, please look me up on Board Game Geek, click on “designer” enter my name and there you can see most of my games as well as the interview I did on the HABA games described above. It is also on YouTube here.
MM: Are you working on anything else at the moment and is there anything else that you would like to mention?
LB: I am always working on games. Even though I am “known” for the lighter games, there is another side to me as well. I am an agent for Hobby Game publishers and try to localize their products globally. The gaming industry feels like one big family and it is the best place to be working in.
I hope you all enjoy the “Sleepy Princess Pile Up” as much as I did making it and playing it. Overall, I hope you find enjoyment in playing games and making new memories together.
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“Sleepy Princess” retails for about $24.99. To learn more, visit the official website of HABA.
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