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FITS is a new game from Reiner Knizia. It plays 1 to 4 players. The basic object of the game is to fit variously shaped pieces together on your player board. There are 4 boards included and a game consists of playing each of the 4 boards, and comparing cumulative scores.
(photo by jaugusto72)
The components are very nice and the actual pieces are of excellent quality. Each player gets a ramp, 2 double-sided boards (which fit the ramp) a plastic slider, and 16 pieces in various shapes. The shapes are similar to the ones found in Blokus or Tetris. Each board has a set of dots, 6 across and 12 deep; in some boards the dots are replace with symbols or numbers. The boards and pieces are in primary colors and each player plays on his own board (so no mixing of pieces). The various symbols used for scoring on the fourth board have unique shapes and colors, so color-blind players shoud not have much difficulty with the game.
The play of the game is very simple. There are 4 rounds to a game, one round is played on each board. To start a round, each player draws from a deck of 4 cards to choose their starting piece (so each player will start with a different piece). That deck is then set aside and play continues from the main deck, which has each of the shapes shown on a square card. When a piece comes up, the player may play it; if the piece isn’t played at the time, then it won’t be played in this round. Pieces are played by putting them at the top of the ramp and sliding them into position – the player may do anything he wants with the piece until it hits the ramp, at which point it just slides down until it hits another piece and stops. Gravity isn’t really a factor in the game – you just slide the piece into place.
Each round has slightly different rules for scoring. In all the rounds, any exposed dot will cost you a point.
In the first round (on board 1), you earn 1 point for each complete row you make.
In the second and third rounds (on boards 2 and 3) there are specific spaces with numbers and the numbers are added (or subtracted on board 3) from your score. In the fourth round there are pairs of symbols and you score 3 points for each pair left exposed but lose 3 points if only one of a pair is visible.
Scoring is done at the end of each round and the player with the highest final score is the winner.
This review is part of a series of reviews I’m doing as I evaluate games my wife may use in her classroom or that I’m using with my Boy Scouts. Apart from the normal review, I try to identify the kinds of intelligence that the game will use. For an explanation of multiple intelligences, see: my blog post at: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/786097
The game contains no language dependent components, which makes it a poor choice for linguistics intelligence, but does mean that anyone can play.
The scoring requires the adding up of small numbers. There is also a little math in the tactics of the game – is it worth leaving a 3 exposed if you also have to leave 2 other dots uncovered?)
This is a very visual game and so being able to see how the piece you are playing will fit is critical to success. It is also important to be able to look at the pieces you have left to play and see how you might play them as well.
The game is rated for ages 8 and up and that is probably appropriate. Younger children, unless they have played many other games, are not likely to be able to do the kinds of planning needed to be competitive in the game. That said, if your younger children want to try there’s certainly no reason they can’t. Even the patterns of the game help since the squares with numbers are color-coded.
Handicapping the game between players could be done by allowing one player a few free dots, or by letting one play the same board twice and avoiding some of the more difficult boards.
There is nothing in the game that is inappropriate for younger players.
FITS is a lot of fun. It is very challenging and most people I’ve played with have had terrible first games and then gone on to do much better in the second try. This kind of quick improvement helps drive interest in the game. That said, the game does have good replayability since the draw of the tiles is random and will make for a different experience each time.
If that’s not enough, there are already two expansion boards on the Geek and Ted Alspach of Bezier games is planning to release 3 more.
If you like puzzles, Blokus, or Tetris, then this game is definitely a must buy.
Will wait to see if a single kit come out for solo plays. A bit expensive to buy the game because the other three parts will not be used (unless one fancies a change colour ).