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Blokus


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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
5+ 20-30 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Bernard Tavitian

Manufacturer(s): Educational Insights

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  • WARNING: Choking Hazard - Small Parts

Product Description

Not only is Blokus one of the most beautiful games to be found, it is also a tremendous two to four player strategy game. There are literally only two rules, allowing the game to be accessible to even the most casual of players; and games can end in ten minutes! Players take turns laying down twenty-one pieces of different shapes on a grid, attempting to block their opponents and make more room for themselves. The player who places the most translucent plastic pieces is the winner, as players seek to expand their own territory in this clever little game.

Product Awards

Mensa Best Mind Game Award
Best Mind Game, 2003
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 2002

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Bernard Tavitian

  • Manufacturer(s): Educational Insights

  • Year: 2003

  • Players: 2 - 4

  • Time: 20 - 30 minutes

  • Ages: 5 and up

  • Est. time to learn: Under 5 minutes

  • Weight: 1,259 grams

  • Customer Favorites Rank: #148

Contents:

  • 1 board of 400 squares
  • 84 pieces in 4 colors
  • Instruction Guide
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Product Reviews

Ben Baldanza
May 31, 2002

Blokus is an in-your-face, territory domination game in abstract format. It is a highly interactive contest that is best with four players and with its fast play and good replay ability it is one of the more interesting, if lesser known, new games around. Part of its obscurity may be its French origin and the fact that few comments have been made about it in most of the normal German game sources.

The board is a raised plastic square with slightly raised gridlines. Each player receives an identical set of 21 pieces, with sizes from one to five grid-size squares in unique orientations. Each player's goal is to place as many pieces as they can on the board, with minus points assigned at the end equal to the total number of squares not placed. So, if I am left with a 5-square piece, a 3-square piece and a 2-square piece, I score negative 10 points.

The key, of course, is how the pieces are placed. The first piece must be placed in a corner of the board and each piece from then on must touch only the corners of any piece previously placed. This typically results in a fast race to the middle of the board in order to leave many expansion options open. On any given turn, there are obviously two choices to be made: which piece to place and where to place it. These decisions can be made to quickly place an unusually shaped piece that will be difficult to fit in later, to perfectly squeeze in a piece that has been left open by other placements, to create an outlet for more pieces by opening a new area of the board with a placement, or to play the right size piece to cut off an opponent's growth. In practicality, the best moves do several of these at once and the player that can see the board and its development best, along with good sequencing of their pieces, will prove victorious.

Within this straightforward process, amazingly intricate patterns develop and the choices for attack versus defense reveal themselves quickly. It is necessary to leave options open for growth, lest you be cut off without the right piece left to open up a new area of the board. It is especially satisfying to find a key placement that extends a seemingly dead-end link; of course, finding those spots for your opponent is also key. If you manage to place all of your pieces, you score a 15-point bonus and that is raised to 20 if you manage to place the one, single-square piece as your final play. These bonuses only make sense in the context of multiple games, obviously, since the only other scores are negative and thus zero would be an easy winner in a single game.

The pieces in Blokus are nicely colored plastic that are hearty enough for normal play, but will certainly break or crack if stepped on accidentally. The game comes packaged with rules in four languages, a trend that is nicely becoming more common especially with non-German European producers. There is a nice implementation of the game online at www.blokus.com, and it is worth trying the game here before buying a physical copy to see if this is your cup of tea. The physical game is worth owning, though, as it will appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike and provides a refreshing and interesting play in a short period of time.

John McCallion
December 31, 2003

Congratulations to Educational Insights for publishing this colorful game (included in last year's Games 100 as an import). Your 21 colored pieces show all the ways in which one to five squares can be orthogonally joined. Use one piece to cover a corner square of the 20x20 board on your first turn. Thereafter, you may only place pieces that touch at least one of your other pieces--but only at corners! Only opposing pieces can meet at edges. Pass if unable to play. The game ends when everyone is blocked. Win by having unplayed pieces covering the smallest total area. The solitaire puzzle option is excellent practice for competitive play.

John McCallion
December 31, 2002

Twenty-one pieces in your color represent all the ways in which one to five squares can be joined orthogonally. On your first turn, lay a piece to cover a corner square of the 20 x 20 board. On subsequent turns, place a piece to touch at least at an edge. Anyone unable to play passes. Play ends when everyone is blocked, and the player with the fewest squared in unplayed pieces wins. Whether you tackle the vexing solitaire puzzle or get involved in the deep territorial intrigues of competitive play, you'll find this simple and colorful game addictively fascinating. Fans of this game can join the Blokus Federation at www.blokus.com.

Other Resources for Blokus:

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