by Amanda Nettgen
Board game manufacturer:
Number of players:
2-4 (although there’s a 1-player brain teaser option)
5 to adult (in my opinion, a child would have to be at least 10 to have fun)
Blokus is a shape-based strategy game that will have you thinking again and again. It makes you ponder like chess does and is the winner of a half-dozen game awards.
The game and gameplay
I must say, when my husband first mentioned getting this game, I assumed it wouldn’t be interesting. As it turns out, it’s very mentally engaging and quite fun to “claim your territory” with this game.
While there are a lot of parts (pieces) to this game, there aren’t a lot of parts to understand. There’s a communal game board filled with grids on which players place their individual shaped pieces.
The markers come in four primary colors, and if you’re playing a two-player game, you and your partner will each control two colors.You begin with 21 pieces that (like people) come in all different shapes and sizes. I recommend sorting your shapes by the number of squares they contain, as such determines how much space they will take up on the board.
Whoever has blue starts and put his first piece in one of the four corners (of the game, not Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, or Arizona, that is). Then it’s yellow’s turn to do the same thing, followed by red and then green (although it truly doesn’t matter whose color goes first – this is just the game’s suggestion).
When blue’s up again, he’ll touch the next piece he wants to use with a corner of his previous piece. The business of corners touching (but not sides) is mandated and is the foundation of this game.
Ideally, Blue will want to make his way towards the middle of the game grid to maximize his opportunities to branch across the board.
From there, hell aim to “blok” the other colors from putting pieces down by positioning his own shapes in such a way that the other players won’t be able to continue a color in the same location.
The game is finished when no one can successfully place any more pieces. The squares of your remaining pieces are added up and -1 is applied for each unused grid unit. Bonus points can be gained if all pieces were put down and the last piece played was the smallest one.
The winner is the player with the better score, even if that score is still negative.
Pros and cons
Blokus is a solid thinking/strategy game that will be different every time you play it. Like most games, eventually the game play becomes not as fresh and therefore you’ll play it less, but for my household, it’s a staple.
It’s fun to take to the park and play outside.
The box says children as young as five will be able to play Blokus, but I wholeheartedly disagree. It’s too much of a moves-based, calculating game for children to comprehend, much less be interested in (and that goes for some adults, too).
Plus, the likelihood of some pieces to disappear (all of which are pretty crucial) goes up when kiddies are involved. The game does not supply any duplicates of parts with this game (unless you start substituting other colors’ pieces).
Blokus the board game also comes in these varieties: Blokus 3D, Blokus Duo, Blokus Trigon and Blokus Giant (some are pictured on this page). There’s also a downloadable PC game and even a PSP version! This review was of the original version.
Blokus is a surprisingly clever delight that will get you back into strategy games. It’s best for people who don’t mind brain games.