Fun, Spatial Thinking for the Entire Family

Geek Culture

This past Christmas, the kids got a couple Wii games, some new handheld games, and one got an iPod Touch. Besides the iPod Touch never leaving my oldest teen’s hands (even when asleep I believe), the one stand-out game that has captured the entire family’s attention for the past three months is a simple board-game. Blokus.

Photo courtesy of Russ NeumeierPhoto courtesy of Russ Neumeier

Photo courtesy of Russ Neumeier

Blokus is listed as suitable for ages five and up. Our youngest, at eight, loves the game (and does fairly well at it) as do the GeekMom and GeekDad. It can have up to four players.

Game-play is simple. You have twenty-one different shaped pieces. The goal is to be the first to place all twenty-one pieces; however, the rule is that each successive piece you play has to be touching only at the corner of a piece you’ve played in previous rounds. If you cannot play any more pieces, you’re out of the game and the winner is the person with the fewest pieces left.

With all the different shapes, Blokus makes you use spatial thinking and creativity to plan your moves while looking for ways to block the other players from potential moves. What you see as a good path to playing several pieces can be wiped out in a single round as the other players discover new areas to expand. The game is never the same twice.

What I’ve most enjoyed is that the game typically takes less than twenty or thirty minutes to play. So, while dinner’s cooking, we can knock out a game or my youngest (the earliest riser) can get breakfast down and the morning chores done and still have time to play with GeekMom before the bus comes.

We have found that you need at least three players to have a good game. With only two players, each person is running two colors and sometimes (particularly with younger ones) they block themselves without realizing it.

Because of the very small pieces in the game box, there is a warning to keep it away from toddlers.

Wired: fun and quick game play for the entire family (ages 5+), forcing a strategic and creative set of thinking skills, and never the same game twice.

Tired: playing with two players can get confusing as you double-up on colors, but otherwise nothing else… except the youngest wishes there were cheat-codes…

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