Blueprints is a fairly simple dice game where you don’t need to roll any particular number to win – instead, you represent architects using the dice as building materials.
Players begin the game with a randomly dealt blueprint that they hide behind a screen. These show where you can place you dice, and your blueprint asks for a specific structure: two dice here, one there, and so on. Sticking to your blueprint is good, but deviating from it can also reward, as we shall see.
The game plays over three rounds. and in each round players take turns selecting one die from a pool and adding it to their blueprint behind their screen, and after everyone has placed six dice the round is scored. The dice represent different building materials: green is recycled material, clear is glass, brown is wood and black is stone. Green scores exponentially – the more you have, the more points you get. Brown scores for the amount of dice its adjacent to. Black scores more for being higher up in your building, and clear simply scores the face-up number value on the die.
Your blueprint doesn’t mind which material goes where: as long as you stick to the blueprint you instantly score six points. Everyone totals up their scores and receives awards of first, second and third that are worth points at the end of the game. But you can also get points in other ways from Prizes – if you have four of the same number value, five of the same colour, one of every number value (1-6) or if you’ve built the tallest building – though this last prize requires you build at least five levels high!
So what you’re trying to do, ideally, is grab some of these prizes whilst either sticking to your blueprint (6 points is a LOT in this game) or scoring the most to get the most valuable building award. After the third round of building, everyone reveals their awards and scores are totaled. Most points wins.
Those after space epics or combative derring-do may find the building theme a bit bland, and if you want a deep and involving strategic battle in the vein of chess, Blueprints isn’t that either. But I enjoyed this: it’s relatively quick-moving tactical challenge that doesn’t outstay its welcome, and the fact the rules are fairly light makes it far more accessible than many games. A neat design.
It's not hugely combative, but players can spot what materials the others are after and play spoiling tactics - particularly in the two-player version, where you take two dice - one for yourself, and the other gets dumped.
Once you're familiar with the rules, there's nothing here to encourage long drawn out pauses.
But that's not to say there's no meaningful decisions to be had. The safety route is to hit those blueprints accurately, but you really need to get a couple of prizes too...
Blueprints isn't a game drowning in variety, but every play will present you with the same tactical challenge. And the blueprints themselves arrive randomly - as do the dice, of course.