Saturday, October 27, 2007

Review: Blokus

Board game for one to four players. Invented by Bernard Tavitian
2000, Sekkoia Company

Available from most toy retailers; discounted at

Blokus is more than just the most awarded game in recent history; it has almost become a phenomenon. A visit to the company website will quickly convince you how popular this game has become; international tournaments, online demonstrations, interactive Internet-based games, and even a free lost-part replacement service are just some of the features. After playing the game for several months, we are convinced that these awards are well-deserved!

Blokus is a strategy game in which a player attempts to place 21 differently- shaped pieces in one of four colors. The pieces are similar to those in a set of Pentominoes, ranging in size from 1 block to 5 blocks in varying regular shapes. The pieces can be rotated or flipped to help in placing them on the board. Pieces lock into the base grid, helping to preserve the developing game board as new pieces are laid. The winner is the player who has the fewest number of blocks left to place. A new player can learn to play literally in a minute or less. He can continue to play without mastering the game for weeks. Despite our experience with strategy games, and our desire to find "the" answer, we haven't yet found a consistent strategy that always wins. Numerous variations to the rules are available both in the box and on the Internet. It is possible to play solo, but we found it more enjoyable to play against another player.

In our homeschool, we place a high priority on critical thinking and logical analysis skills. I prefer to vary our curriculum from a book-oriented basis to a hands-on approach from term to term. Last term, I decided to focus on strategy games, and Blokus was our first-choice favorite! Even my 3-year-old became addicted to the game, despite the development of his own set of rules. Blokus is very appealing to a visual and/or spatially-oriented student, but is also exceptionally helpful in developing these skills in those of us not blessed with them naturally. In an educational setting, Blokus can also serve as a concrete example of rotations and transformations as well as an enjoyable addition to a geometry curriculum while remaining just plain fun.

Reviewed by Susan Kalis (10-26-07)


Michelle said...

I agree...this is an excellent game for the entire family. Even the preschoolers, who may need to be reminded of the rules and helped to find spots, can happily play along and often force the rest of us into "creative thinking" mode with their bizarre, unpredictable moves.

Joannof10 said...

This is definitely a favorite at our house! The game most likely to be found open on the kitchen table.

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

Ooh, I enjoy this game as much as my kids!

Linda said...

weird, my mother in law was just trying to remember the name of this game and ezplain it to us. Thanks for the info!