As you may already know, I love brain-building games. Which is why it is surprising it took me so long to come across Blokus. We received Blokus as a holiday gift one year from my parents. At that time, I had never heard of if before, and despite its many impressive awards listed on the box (Oppenheimer Toy Portfolio “Best Toy Award,” MENSA Select National Competition Winner, Learning Magazine’s Teacher’s Choice), it went on the shelf and was ignored for several years. Just this past year, it got dusted off and is now in frequent rotation at our house. Honestly, I regret not opening it sooner!
Blokus is a game of strategy, a turf war where players aim to dominate the game board with their colored puzzle pieces. Visually the game reminds me of an analog version of Tetris, especially in the shapes of the puzzle pieces. But apart from that, it is pretty different than Tetris. In Blokus, players are meant to lay the pieces down on the board in order to claim the most real estate on the game board.
To gain and protect the most space on the game board by fitting as many of the 21 pieces on the board as possible.
2-4 players, ages 5 and up
Each player chooses a color and gets 21 puzzle pieces of varying shapes and places them in front of his/her side of the game board.
During each players first turn, they must play their first piece by placing it in a manner that covers a corner square. One piece placement per turn.
Each new piece must touch at least one other piece of the same color, but only at the corners. The pieces of the same color CANNOT touch one another along an edge/ be placed side by side. Once a piece has been placed on the board, it cannot be moved.
The game ends when all players are blocked from laying down any more of their respective puzzle pieces. Each player then counts the number of unit squares in their remaining (unused) puzzle pieces. 1 unit square = -1 point. A player gets +15 points if all of his/her pieces have been placed on the board. Five additional bonus points are awarded if the last piece placed on the board was the smallest piece (one square unit). The player with the highest number of points wins!
Game play usually lasts about 1/2 hour and moves pretty fast (so it is good for short attention spans). There are also many variations of the game, explained in the rules. For example, there is a team version of the game, or even a one player version, so you or your bored child can play it solo! But I suggest trying it out with the whole family. Enjoy!