Blokus Beauteous

We knew the first time we played this, it was love at first sight. The rules are easy to learn….so easy that you don’t expect it to play as well as it does.

There are complex decisions to make, figuring what your opponents might do and how to counter them and stake out some territory for yourself.

I must admit – since receiving my copy of Blokus (Educational Insights) I have brought it to every gaming event I’ve attended and nobody’s had a bad thing to say about it.

My interest was first peaked when rather than setting the board up squarely (with a side facing each player) we set it up to look like a diamond (with a corner near each of the four players). Even this little touch alerted us to something special. Blokus is a beautiful game full of excellent, dramatic situations.

Blokus simplus:

The board, a 20X20 square. Each of 4 players (best) gets 21 pieces (blue, red, yellow, green). These pieces represent every combination of 1-5 blocks, touching orthogonally (I love this word! Never knew about it until I started playing serious boardgames…it’s the [compliment] of diagonally). Your goal, starting in your corner, is to play all your pieces to the board and try to block your opponents from doing the same. And the only legal way to play a piece is diagonally touching another of your pieces. It may NOT touch any pieces of the same color along a side (here’s that word again… “orthogonally”.) Your play may, however, put your piece in contact with your opponent’s pieces any way at all.

Note: Don’t try picturing what I’ve just written. Look at this:

And the pieces are two-sided, so you can turn one over if it fits your needs better that way.

Players now take turns playing until no one can make a legal play. Everyone then counts up the total ‘area’ of their remaining tiles (I have one five tile, a four, and a three…my score is 12; you have a three and a four for 7.)

Because of its short play-time, Blokus fits easily into a gaming session. The entire game takes only 20 or so minutes. Heck. Many of the games we play take longer than that to read the rules! But, if you’re anything like the folks I’ve played it with, you’ll want to play it again.

If you start to feel you are a blockus expertus, there’s a website where an obliging ‘bot will kickus your behindus.

Our only concern was being slightly mislead about the age range of the game. The Blokus folks indicate that it’s “suitable for 5 and up.” We played with a very bright 7 1/2 year-old who couldn’t quite grasp the game’s strategy

We say Major FUN for 8 and up!”

Blokus Keepus!

Marc Gilutin

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