Reiner Knizia and the polyominoes
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Lately, Reiner Knizia has been obviously experimenting with polyominoes (dominoes and tiles consisting of more than two little squares). Seemingly he's interested in what he can do with these forms. So now I dedicate this geeklist to these games; I'm sure there will be more titles to be added in the upcoming years.
Yes, I know, these aren't ground-breaking or very novel ideas right now. Also they are very simple games. But even in the last (weaker) year I could see when he makes a big box board game he tries to mix previous ideas into something more complex and entertaining*. So maybe we just have to wait until he creates his The Princes of Florence or Arkadia using the polyominoes in a complex game. So... I'm watching.


*I do think these big box games have really succeeded:
Jäger und Sammler - uses a mechanism that's somewhere between Through the Desert and a game not by Knizia, Hey That's my Fish (which already used some ideas from Through the Desert), combined with different ways of scoring. It's a fine family game that deservedly got a Spiel des Jahres recommendation.
Keltis: Das Orakel - is like a mix of his often-used idea of Tutenkhamen, Keltis and his linear adventure games; also the most gamer-friendly box of the Keltis titles.
The Hobbit - I've only read the rules so far but it uses a simple but fun cardgame mechanism as a basic mechanism for another one of his linear adventure games; also its rule variants add some Lord of the Ring-ish favor and some Tigris&Euphrates/Ingenious-ish scoring element.

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1. Board Game: Sudoku: Verdrehte Blöcke [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Sudoku: Verdrehte Blöcke
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UPDATE - an item added later: Before the previous item #1 there were two Sudoku games with a little polyomino factor added: this one that cuts the 3x3 squares into 2x2 squares and large Ls
Board Game: Sudoku: Verdrehte Blöcke

(image from the box)
and Sudoku: Verflixte Streifen which cut the 9x9 board into 9x1 lines.
Board Game: Sudoku: Verflixte Streifen

While these are more number puzzle games than games about the polyominoes, I guess these might be counted as the "first" games that belong to this list.
 
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2. Board Game: Einfach Genial Junior [Average Rating:6.05 Unranked]
Board Game: Einfach Genial Junior
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Well, this one is not about polyominoes in any way but dominoes, but it really shows where the idea might have started. Of course Knizia had his "hexadominoes" success in 2004 with Einfach Genial (Ingenious) which I won't list here; this one (released in 2007) was the first time when he turned to tiles built up of more than 1 little squares (otherwise the rules are mostly the same).
Board Game: Einfach Genial Junior

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3. Board Game: Domino Knobelspass [Average Rating:5.98 Unranked]
Board Game: Domino Knobelspass
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In 2007 he also released a puzzle game (disguised as a board game) using the Ingenious tiles called Einfach Genial Knobelspass; this 2008 game is the follow-up that uses dominoes instead. The aim is to solve puzzles: domino numbers are shown on the board and you have to find out how to place each one of your dominoes so that the numbers are placed on the corresponding numbers on the board.
Board Game: Domino Knobelspass

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4. Board Game: Gelini Nightlife [Average Rating:5.87 Unranked]
Board Game: Gelini Nightlife
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In this 2009 game he uses a Tutankhamen/Bunte Runde-like collecting mechanism: players collect tiles (consisting of 1 to 6 little squares) to place them on their own board, covering the most spaces possible.
Board Game: Gelini Nightlife

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5. Board Game: FITS [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1636]
Board Game: FITS
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This 2009 game clearly uses some ideas of Tetris, rather successfully transforming the old PC game to boards and tiles. Instead of time constraint you have some little interesting decisions (which tile not to use) and while you can flip the tiles (unlike in Tetris) you can't move them under other tiles (unlike in Tetris).
Board Game: FITS

box back with some placement problems
Spiel des Jahres nomination 2009: this game became (deservedly) popular - this year I even saw a large version of it in Essen.
Board Game: FITS
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6. Board Game: FITS Official Expansion [Average Rating:7.15 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.15 Unranked]
Board Game: FITS Official Expansion
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So a PnP expansion with tricky boards came out very soon.
Board Game: FITS Official Expansion
Board Game: FITS Official Expansion
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7. Board Game: Callisto: The Game [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:4764]
Board Game: Callisto: The Game
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This 2009 game is easily labelled as an "inferior Blokus clone". About my opinion you can read the review So you say it’s Knizia's Blokus clone?. But just to quote myself, "you might also say its elements feel familiar from some of his other games: you might say the board in 3 different sizes is a bit like in Ingenious, also you might say it was obvious that this game would be born in the end of 2009, just after the “connecting 1-sized columns with same-colored tiles that are touching each other by their sides while blocking each other” idea of the 2009 game Genial Spezial and “find the optimal placement of the Tetris tiles” idea of the also 2009 game FITS."

Still, you can say it's a blocking pentominoes game in the tradition made worldwide known by Blokus, also a winner of the 2009 Hungarian Mensa Awards.
Board Game: Callisto: The Game
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8. Board Game: Topas [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:14946]
Board Game: Topas
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A still quite Ingenious-ish (but different) domino game from 2009:
Board Game: Topas

Image by khaox
 
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9. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:3574]
Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG
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And another puzzle game from 2009, actually ttwo of them: Dr Knizias Gehirn Jogging.
External image

Of the three (each of which comes with some dozen square cards and 7 transparent sheets), there is one that really fits this list:
External image

In Abenteuer-Safari, your aim is to have all the animals form their own herd - that is, there should not be two separate groups of (one or more) animals visible when you have placed the correct foils in a correct orientation on the card.

External image

The other two doesn't really fit: the maul one uses different forms (not polyominoes) and the Dragon one, while seemingly features polyominoes, actually more of a labyrinth/walls game where you have to separate dragons from adventurers and let each adventurer reach one treasure.
Pictures copyright Kosmos Spieleverlag.
 
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10. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:3574]
Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG
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This 2010 game is also more or less in the tradition of the Knobelspass games (combined with something like Katamino) but without the forced multiplayer play: it's a puzzle game where some colors are printed on sheets and you have to place your tiles accordingly.
From gallery of lacxox

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11. Board Game: Mini FITS [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:9092]
Board Game: Mini FITS
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FITS proved to be a success so this 2010 travel version was also published. It's like 40% of the game (only 2 boards instead of 4 and there are less tiles) but with changes in the scoring that make it more intense for the short duration (although feels a bit broken as covering a symbol on the second board comes with a price and risk so high that you should not really bother).
Board Game: Mini FITS

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12. Board Game: BITS [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:4865]
Board Game: BITS
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The database lists this one as a 2010 game but I'm not sure you could find this new game anywhere last year. In this sequel to FITS you are placing colorful dominoes to your boards to create the demanded polyominoes and avoid some others with more and more scoring rules in the subsequent rules. It's an interesting way of turning FITS inside out, upside down: there you were trying to fill the rows, here you certainly will. There you were placing polyominoes to create rows, here you are placing row sections to create polyominoes...
Board Game: BITS

After the SdJ nomination for FITS I found it to be a letdown that this game wasn't even recommended this year - it's at least as good as FITS and it's really different.
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13. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:3574]
Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG
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This Ravensburger Nürnberg 2011 release is another puzzle game with polyominoes: connect the same-colored balls using the lines on the polyominoes.
External image

The puzzles are harder to solve than they seem to be!
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14. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:3574]
Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG
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LogicBox 1 & 2 from Huch! & Friends

A 2011 small solitaire puzzle collection of 2-2 different types of 8-8 puzzles where your aim is to optimize your score (an erasable pen is included in each box).
In some of these puzzles you can find a mix of polyominoes and set collection; for example the first picture shows a game where you have to find "groups" of 3 or 4 symbols (that have the same color or each of them are different colors AND are the same symbol or each of them are different symbols) trying to fill the board with these 3- or 4-square polyominoes (the remaining symbols make up your "negative" score).
From gallery of lacxox

From gallery of lacxox
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15. Board Game: Domino Sudoku [Average Rating:6.19 Unranked]
Board Game: Domino Sudoku
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A 2011 web-published numbers puzzle game with dominoes in the fashion of the #1 item and Topas in this list.
 
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16. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:3574]
Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG
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Clue Investigator from Productief, 2011

I don't really know what it is, but it's another Knizia puzzle game using polyominoes and it doesn't seem too hard to guess the rules when we look at the official promotional image:
From gallery of lacxox


 
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17. Board Game: BITS Mitbringspiel [Average Rating:5.69 Unranked]
Board Game: BITS Mitbringspiel
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2012: After FITS and mini FITS it was obvious that BITS would get its mini version as well.

Board Game: BITS Mitbringspiel
 
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18. Board Game: Qin [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1596]
Board Game: Qin
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It's the first game in this list that gets a bit closer to my hopes mentioned in the header. Well, it still uses only dominoes but it has some (well, pasted-on) theme, a nice look and an Eurogame publisher - eggertspiele. The gameplay combines some ideas seen in previous Knizia tile-laying games, each of them using single hexes or single squares.

Board Game: Qin
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19. Board Game: Qin: Toad and Dragon Turtle Game Boards [Average Rating:7.48 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.48 Unranked]
Board Game: Qin: Toad and Dragon Turtle Game Boards
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2013

Two more boards for Qin, in the spirit of the FITS Official Expansion.
Board Game: Qin: Toad and Dragon Turtle Game Boards
 
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20. Board Game: Kyoto [Average Rating:5.45 Unranked]
Board Game: Kyoto
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2013

A game created to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Mobius Games, this is obviously not that a very original or strong effort. Actually, it's only squares that you place, but these squares are polyominoes - consisting of 4 small squares (or, as the illustrations shows, one rectangle and two squares, three colors). The rules are Topas/Ingenious at its simplest:
Quote:
On a player's turn, they place one tile to score. Each tile draws three or four of the four elements (the pond, moss, colored leaves, gravel). If a placed tile is connected to an already placed tile by the same elements, the player gets that score. Because it scores in each element, it is possible that the player will get the score of multiple elements at the same time.
In addition, each player has an element (one-color tile) to get bonus points. Score of this element is obtained twice.
Board Game: Kyoto

image by shawn_low
 
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21. Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:3574]
Board Game: Outside the Scope of BGG
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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In support of Babyloctobia - Knizia tile laying rules!
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2014

Carrots from HUCH! & Friends
Another puzzle game, in the vein of the other puzzle games in this list. With the tiles, cover the entire area on the challenge card. Make sure to cover the same number of carrots as rabbits with each transparent tile.
From gallery of lacxox
 
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22. Board Game: Mmm! [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:4465]
Board Game: Mmm!
Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
Hungary
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In support of Babyloctobia - Knizia tile laying rules!
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Microbadge: Follow me on InstagramMicrobadge: Babylonia fanMicrobadge: Parent of Two Girls and One BoyMicrobadge: Samurai fanMicrobadge: GameChat League - Swedish Meatball Division
2015
Covering polyominoes by die rolls - get at least one covered each turn or the cat moves closer to the room where the mice are!
Board Game: Mmm!
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