Blockers is an abstract tile-placing game where each player is endeavouring to do two things – get all their own tiles adjacent (or at least in as few groups of tiles as is possible) and pick up as few of your opponents’ tiles as possible.
It’s one of those games where points are bad, so lowest score wins.
Each player is given a set of coloured tiles which show either a letter, a number or a symbol on it. These are shuffled face-down and then each player puts five of them on their individual tile racks.
The board itself is a grid – with horizontal lines denoted by letters, vertical lines by numbers, and each individual square showing one of nine different symbols. On your turn, you simply place one of your tiles in one of it’s legal placement spots – matching its number, letter or symbol on the grid. Having done so, you add a new tile to your rack from the face-down draw pile. In terms of rules it couldn’t be much simpler.
However beyond that place-a-tile mechanic, the game starts to get interesting. As you don’t want tiles scattered all over the board, you are trying to clump your tiles together as much as possible – and this is where two things can hamper you; firstly you may not be drawing the tiles you really want. Secondly, as the game progresses, the other players are getting in your way! You can ‘capture’ an opponents’ tile by removing it and putting your own in its’ place – but you can never split a group, so you have to take a tile that is on the edge of a group rather than in the middle. And as noted above, these tiles count against you at the end of the game…
At the end of the game players score one point for each group they have on the board, and whichever opponent you have taken most tiles from scores you that amount of points (also also noted above, points are bad). The player with fewest points wins, and ties are decided in favour of the player with the fewest captured tiles.
Although my favourite game of this type is Take It Easy, I rate Blockers highly. There’s a pattern to the game of starting off nice and neat and then best-laid plans going awry. But everyone else – hopefully – is experiencing the same thing. And what this does have over Take It Easy is the interactive element of messing around with each other’s plans. It’s less friendly, and more feisty!
This is very much a game you can play with casual players – there’s a hint of Sudoku to the board layout, which may help sell it to some… has that Take It Easy thing of chasing a perfect score, but as Sam says, you won’t get left alone to do that. I also really like the pieces – although they’re only cardboard, the super-shiny candy squaress make me think of Tooty Fruity sweets.
Yep, there's definitely an element of Take That in Blockers. Tactically you can keep an eye on opponent's movements, and when they are about to join two different groups together, you can capture a tile that sets them back. Often this will happen just as a consequence of clashing plans anyway.
Low, as long as you don't have a player who agonizes over every small decision.
There are only ever 5 tiles to play, and often a few of them won't look that helpful to you. So nothing to really give anybody a headache.
Simple rules, fast play, random factor of the tile draw. Blockers is a proper family game - as long as you don't mind a little bit of potential frustration in your fun!