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Subject: A Family Guy's Review rss

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Jimmy Okolica
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I'm new to BGG (so be gentle) and wanted to start rating the games that I own/play. However, to be fair I wanted to come up with a personal rating system and once I did that I, I thought it might be worthwhile to put the results in a review. I hope it is helpful for those in a similar situation. Constructive Criticism welcome.

Who I am/ Who Might Find This Useful
While I do occasionally play games at a local gaming group, when I buy games, the intent is (1) playing alone, (2) playing with my kids (ages 3, 7, and 7) or (3) playing with my non-gamer wife and friends. So the most important things for me are: (1) theme (to interest my wife, it can't just be pasted on), (2) degree of luck (not too much but more than just trace), (3) screw you factor (my wife likes these games – especially if there is an ability to gang up on the king), (4) adaptability for kids, (5) adaptability for solo play, (6) appropriate for large groups and (7) playing time.

Overview
A 1 - 4 player area control game. Player place Tetris-style pieces on an 18-x18 board to to extend their area of control and restrict their opponents. Playable by ages 5+ in 30 minutes (give or take depending on who is playing), the simple rules, pretty colors and unusual shapes make this game approachable by children, spouses and non-gamers who normally would avoid a pure strategy abstract game.

Number of times I've played: 10+

Theme (1 = trace, 10 = transports you to a new world)
Pure abstract game -- no theme Score: 0

Degree of Luck (0 = trace (go play Chess), 10 = all luck (go play War))
Pure strategy. While I have not seen a rigorous analysis of the search space, I would not be surprised if the search space is comparable to Chess. At the same time, its newness and pretty colors (not to mention simple rules) make this game much less daunting. Score: 0

Screw You Factor/Player Interaction (0 = multi-player solitaire, 10 = Winning is 2nd priority)
This game can be played by one player with the objective of placing all pieces (of every color) on the board. Excepting that one variant, this game has a significant screw-you factor. While I suspect optimal play is more about defensive play (i.e. maximizing your future moves) rather than offensive play (limiting your opponent's moves), there is no question that there is a strong screw-you factor. My kids and my wife get great pleasure out of trying to trap me (one of these days they may even be successful) and it keeps their interest until the end. Score: 7

Adaptability for young kids (ages 3, 7, and 7) (0 = unsuitable, 10 = built for them)
I started playing this game when my older kids were 5 (almost 6) and they caught on immediately. I think by the end of the first game the parents were told not to tell them possible moves unless they asked. While the kids haven't played this alone yet (I'm afraid of letting my 3 year old near them without close supervision for fear of pieces getting lost --- ooh, shiny), I think they could play this game very well without any adult supervision. Score: 10

Adaptability for solo play (0 = unsuitable, 10 = built for it)
Played solo, this isn't a game so much as a puzzle. I have tried a couple of times (so far without success) but only after already getting it out and playing with the wife and/or kids. Score: 7

Appropriate for large groups (0 = unsuitable, 10 = built for them)
Unfortunately this is hard-wired to 4 so the only way to play with large groups is either teams or tournaments (with multiple sets). It doesn't have the feel of a team game but I think it would work. Tournaments on the other hand would work fine if multiple sets are available. With games completing in 30 minutes, I think you could easily have a party-tournament with 3 sets. Score: 3

Playing Time: Average: 30 minutes.

Summary:
I enjoy Blokus. However, it really depends on who you are playing with. The only competitive games I've had are online (where I generally lose). At the same time, I love playing this with my wife and kids. Although the winner is known (well, probably) it is still a lot of fun each time my daughter says, "uh oh, you're in trouble now Daddy." Personal Score: 8
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Tokelau
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William Hostman
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Alsea
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I've been Banished to Oregon... Gaming in Corvallis, living in Alsea... Need gamers willing to try new things...
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The Splattered Imperium
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nice review. Only on major disagreement:

offense is how I win this against others. It is important to get into others' turf quickly, and to use your big pieces quickly. A good offense IS an excellent defense, as well, since by blocking them into their corners quickly, you also hold open a chunk of your own.
 
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Jesper Rugård Jensen
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About the age for playing. I taught one our friends' five year old girl the rules in something like 30 sekunds, and she played with her parents after that - no strategy, but didn't play it wrong once. It is an amazingly simple game, and can be played as a puzzle or competitively.
 
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Jimmy Okolica
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aramis wrote:
nice review. Only on major disagreement:

offense is how I win this against others. It is important to get into others' turf quickly, and to use your big pieces quickly. A good offense IS an excellent defense, as well, since by blocking them into their corners quickly, you also hold open a chunk of your own.


I agree with using big pieces quickly. I'm just partial to counter-punching. Let the person overextend and then slide through the cracks they've left. While it's true this can backfire against a much better player,I've had good success with it.

This makes me want to play online again... I need to find the online gaming site again...
 
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