Blokus is probably familiar to many of you as a board game. According to Wikipedia, it was first published in 2000, and has won several awards, including the Mensa select award. Now, there's a multiplayer version available to play online!
For those unfamiliar with the game, Blokus offers quality, turn-based abstract strategy through the "less is more" approach. You are in charge of 21 Tetris-like pieces ranging from one to five squares. Your goal is to place as many of them on the board as possible, following only two placement rules:
- Your first piece must start in your corner.
- All subsequent pieces must be placed diagonally (and only diagonally) adjacent to one of your already-played pieces.
That's all there is to it. You get one point for every grid square covered by your color, with a 15-point bonus if you place all of your pieces and a 20-point bonus if you place all of your pieces with the 1-square played last.
Your first instinct might be to expand as quickly as possible to stake out territory, and although this does help, it's much less important than you might think at first. Because you cannot make a solid barrier, it is easy (and probably inevitable) for your opponents to penetrate any defense you might set up. Rather, you're better off going on the offensive, beating your opponents to prime locations and building chains that maximize your future placement options. Often you will have to choose between 2 or 3 plays that all seem critical to victory, and it's often difficult to know which play is the best, especially since you aren't always sure what your opponents are up to.
In addition to the traditional Blokus, there is also the option to play Blokus Trigon, a variation with a hexagonal arrangement rather than square. Also, there are variations for 2 or 3 players as well as a team mode.
The site has a built-in ranking system which awards points for victories. However, you'll have to register if you want to enter the ranking system. You can also just play as a guest; this is what I had to do, as my registration did not seem to make it into the system. Once you're signed in as a registered member or guest, it's very easy to join a game or create your own. You might want to practice a game against computer players before you go head-to-head, but only to get the hang of playing. The AI is not very smart, and on occasion the computer player will simply refuse to play, forcing you to abort the game. You'll want to move up to real humans as quickly as possible.
Even though it is recommended by Mensa, Blokus is easy enough to play that you don't need to be a superbrain to learn it. You don't even need to be a half-wit! So go on,
Cheers to Amanda for sending this one in! =)