Blocks & Lots

  • Currently 4.4/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Rating: 4.4/5 (55 votes)
| Comments (8) | Views (47)

Blocks & Lots

ArtbegottiWhat does it take to be happy with where you live? That all depends on what you want your city to do for you. In Blocks & Lots, a nifty educational puzzle about city zoning, the Planning Commission of Solano Heights needs your help wrangling the stakeholders in the city's development and finding the layout that best suits everyone's needs... if there is one. Created by Jared Sain with input and advice from Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Rosten Woo, and Dr. Pop!

Blocks & LotsIn each of the game's six levels, you must submit a plan to the city council that meets the requirements listed at the top of the screen. You'll start out trying to please just JT, the furniture factory owner, but you'll quickly be juggling the desires of other stakeholders, such as Tulip Groves, the conservationist, and Jerome Washington, the university president. Click on the "i" symbol next to each character to find out what they want to accomplish with the rezoning. If you can spot a potential solution, select a zone type from the top-left and click the units of the map to apply the zoning there. Be sure to pay attention to the stakeholders' faces as you make each change to see whether they approve or not. When you find a working plan, submit it to the city council to pass the level.

The goals of the stakeholders generally do not overlap, especially with the zoning constraints initially set by the game. Eventually, you'll be able to solve a conflict between two parties to try to make both happy. Select the two contending parties, and follow the dialogue trees to impose regulations or introduce new zoning types to be used in the grid. Some compromises will keep everyone happy, some won't. It's up to you to decide the best solutions for your city.

Analysis: Admit it, you probably zoned out when you first read that this game was about rezoning a city to resolve conflicts. What sounds like a boring and tedious premise is made quite interesting here in a game that's just barely beatable. We're not entirely sure there's a way to completely appease every party in the game, but there's enough of a challenge in finding the "just right" solution that the game stays fresh and compelling. And that's probably to the game's credit; if there were a quick-and-easy omni-solution to the situation posed in the game, there wouldn't be a game to begin with, and every city in the world would be a carbon-copy of this glorious archetype.

Blocks & LotsThat said, it's hard to tell if there's a tinge of an agenda coming into play in turning the zoning process into a game. The game notes that politics can have an influence on zoning, and very much does so in the final level, where you must please Consuela and four others, and the last person must be at least neutral. Some of the conflict resolution options are incredibly non-beneficial to one party, to the point where using it irks them so badly, the level can't be passed. It'd be nice if there were multiple ways to solve the final level, but it seems that most of the stakeholders can only love or hate any given setup, meaning you're really limited in who you can eventually take a hit to please the rest.

The stakeholders' inflexible personalities, which are admittedly probably realistic, make resolving some conflicts difficult, but they're all a part of what is otherwise a surprisingly fun challenge, presented in a visually pleasing style. You might not be able to please everyone, but can you please them enough to get the job done? Grab your map and get ready to paint the town red... that is, if you really dig multi-family residential complexes.

Play Blocks & Lots


BubbaJoe Author Profile Page July 17, 2013 12:24 PM

Interesting idea, but the execution is incredibly focused on "these are the right choices to make." Would have been better if there were (a) more flexibility about which constituencies you chose to appease or not, and/or (b) more accuracy about which constituencies are a "must satisfy." In particular,

requiring the low income renters to be satisfied in the final level is wildly unrealistic, since they're the least likely to have the political pull to be heard.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
LightWarriorK Author Profile Page July 17, 2013 1:44 PM

As a city planner myself, I can appreciate this game. it's VERY micro, but not inaccurate. I'd like to see it expanded to a MUCH larger city, with more zoning choices and personality types.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
sunnylauren Author Profile Page July 17, 2013 3:44 PM

It kind of bothered me to have SO MUCH low-income housing all over the city. I thought it was more proportional than that in real-life.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

Another peeve: what sort of HOA president wouldn't want to live right next to a big park?!?

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

...they could hate kids or dogs or noise.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
jwo7777777 Author Profile Page July 18, 2013 12:39 AM

Everything is a two-edged sword. The forums on the game's website actually had someone complain about unrealism of an HOA pres hating a park. The programmer argues that the HOA pres may view parks as havens for shady activity.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

It is entirely possible to make everyone happy.

Hint One:

The factory must be moved

Hint Two:

The park will not be zoned as Open Space

Hint Three:

All three conflicts can involve Everett, including one that must involve him


Everett + Consuelo = Rent Control
Everett + Jerome = Relocation Benefits
Everett + Mary = Height District
Zone Mary's house and the adjacent tiles as Residential. Zone the other four tiles on her block as Manufacturing, and move the factory there.
Zone the university and the block to its north entirely Commercial.
Zone the block in the center as Open Space.
Zone the apartment building Multi-Family, the two tiles below it as Height District, and the two blocks west of it as Open Space.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

I made everyone happy a different way:

Only need 2 conflict resolutions: rent control (Consuelo + Everett) and green manufacturing zones (JT + Tulip).

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

^ Scroll Up | Homepage >

Leave a comment [top of page]

    Please consider creating a Casual Gameplay account if you're a regular visitor here, as it will allow us to create an even better experience for you. Sign-up here!
  • You may use limited HTML tags for style:
    (a href, b, br/, strong, em, ul, ol, li, code, spoiler)
    HTML tags begin with a less-than sign: < and end with a greater-than sign: >. Always. No exceptions.
  • To post spoilers, please use spoiler tags: <spoiler> example </spoiler>
    If you need help understanding spoiler tags, read the spoiler help.
  • Please Preview your comment before posting, especially when using spoilers!
  • No link dropping, no domains as names; do not spam, and do not advertise! (rel="nofollow" in use)
Exit Fate> Dora In this free indie RPG heavily inspired by the likes of Suikoden and other classics of the genre, Daniel is a man betrayed by his country and trapped behind enemy lines who suddenly finds himself in a unique position to help end the fighting. Recruit 75 party members for your castle, take part in huge battles, and enjoy hours and hours and HOURS of play time in this massive game.  ...
The Silent Age: Episode Two> Kimberly Joe is back to finish up what was started in the second episode of this fantastic point-and- click adventure. With the fate of humanity on his shoulders, Joe needs you to help him travel through time to find answers on how to prevent the human race from going extinct.  ...
The Rogue Puzzle Game> Satori Clear your way through the dungeon in this unique Sokoban-like puzzle game by carefully selecting which swords to shove into which monsters to vanquish them all. The Rogue Puzzle Game was picked as one of only three finalists in the Game Nomad competition and is set to be presented at Gamer's Day, Arabia's largest gaming event.  ...
Sentry Knight 2> Dora Sentry Knight is back and more colourful than ever in this sequel that brings more of the same addictive defensive shooting fans have come to crave. Stay in your tower and take aim against an onslaught of baddies, upgrading spells and abilities, as you bow-and-arrow your way across the kingdom.  ...

Recent Comments


Display 5 more comments
Limit to the last 5 comments

Casual game of the week

Fear for Sale: The 13 Keys

Your Favorite Games edit

Save links to your favorite games here. Use the Favorites editor.

Monthly Archives

Legal notice

All games mentioned or hosted and images appearing on JayIsGames are Copyright their respective owner(s).

All other content is Copyright ©2003-2014 All Rights Reserved.

Visit our great partner: maxcdn!