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Blokus

Title: Blokus
Designer: Bernard Tavitian
Year: 2000

It is fairly unusual for me to review games, regardless of if they are board games or computer games. It has happened before, but only a couple of times in the past four years or so. I do not know if this is something I will continue doing, but right now I feel like writing about Blokus (page on BoardGameGeek), so that is what I will do.

Blokus is a fairly straightforward game for four players. The first impression is one of dazzling colours and a nice feeling of the playing pieces (the effect is diminished somewhat because of low quality plastics). They are shaped a bit like Tetris blocks, but with more variety and difference in sizes, and the goal of the game is to place as many as possible on the board. One is only allowed to play so that a piece is diagonally adjacent to one’s other pieces already played and each player starts in a corner, working his or her way towards the middle. What ensues is a battle over the board concerning who will claim the best position and be able to play the largest amount of pieces as space gradually vanishes.

At first, there does not seem to be much to this game, but after only a few rounds, fairly complex strategies can be sensed below the surface. I am not saying that I am close to understanding how Blokus works, but I can feel depth and possibilities. This is the kind of game where each and every play presents a multitude of possibilities and the player has to evaluate which is the best. Except for the very end of the game, there are no fixed or guaranteed plays, so the input of player skill is fairly large through the game. Also, there is no luck involved.

A hitch is that the game really needs four players to work properly. There are two- and three-player variants, but they are not as good as the four player one. However, I can still recommend Blokus. It is fairly easy to learn and fun to play from the first round. And sparkling colours are nice.

Addendum: I have now played this game a lot more than when I wrote this review. It is indeed a great game and I have decided to upgrade the grade to four and a half snails, which makes it an official recommendation. The only hitch is that it requires two or four players. If you are curious, you can try the game online for free at the Blokus website.

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