Blueprints is just the perfect theme for me, mixed with the perfect mechanics. As an engineer / former architecture student, I still work in the world of designing buildings, which is the theme for this game. As a gamer, I’m always the one stacking my components whilst waiting for slow players to take their turn. So a game which has you stacking dice to build optimal point scoring buildings is one that I was keen to try, but that seemingly flew under my radar for a long time.
Blueprints is a game played over 3 rounds. In each round, each player is given a card depicting a building form made of 6 cubes (exciting architecture at its best!). This is the blueprint for the building you should build this round – you’ll receive 6 points if you build it right, but don’t worry if you want to let your creative flair run free, you can actually build whatever you like if you think you can get more points another way! When I say whatever you like, you must obey the building rules where higher value dice are placed on top of a dice of lower or equal value.
Dice for your building are drafted from a central pool. Both their face value and their colour is important when it comes to scoring. There are 4 colour in the game, orange for wood, green for recycled material, clear for glass and black for stone– each colour has a different scoring mechanism. The face value is based on the dice being rolled at the start of every round and the supply being replenished with a new dice, rolled from the bag. Sometimes value matters to you either for scoring purposes and to stick to the building rules, but sometimes it doesn’t matter and you can choose dice to try and hinder your opponents.
At the end of each round, scores are totalled based on the scoring mechanism of each colour and then awards are given for first, second and sometimes third place on the score track. Bonus awards are also available for different styles of building eg. having at least 5 dice in one colour or just building a stack of 5 or 6 dice tall. Importantly, the score track is then set back to zero, but you hold onto your award cards. The person with the highest total on award cards at the end of the game wins.
I find that Blueprints is just a really satisfying game to win. The drafting mechanic can be really tactical, but because of dice rolling, luck does have a part to play in the game. I often find myself aiming for a bonus and failing by one dice due to some back luck towards the end of a round. However, you also need to pick a strategy each round and stick to it – I haven’t seen many people succeed with a whole mess of multicoloured dice for their building. The game is really simple to pick up, and seems very well balanced so that even new players have a good chance of winning.
Blueprints is fast becoming one of my favourite fillers. It has a nice simple mechanic, but something unique in the way you create a 3D object to score your points. It is definitely not a dexterity game, but gives you some of the same simple pleasure. It has worked really well for just the two of us and my only complaint is that the one time we’ve played it as a first game with a total stranger it didn’t have enough meat in it to break the ice for us, like many other games can sometimes do. Barring one-off specific situations, Blueprints gets an 8/10 from the Yellow Meeple.
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