Tetris-inspired board games
The original Tetris game
The Tetris video game was created by developer Alexey Pakhitnov in 1984.
The concept behind the game is as simple as it is addictive: in Tetris, players must fit different geometric shapes called “tetrominos” as they fall from the top of the screen. The goal is to create complete horizontal lines without gaps, causing those lines to disappear and making more space to keep playing. As the game progresses, the speed increases, which raises the difficulty.
Millions of players have already taken on the challenge, and many more will undoubtedly do so in the future. Because that dynamic puzzle gameplay mechanic—you never know which piece will come next—and the time pressure that forces players to make logical-spatial decisions within a limited timeframe is addictive. People enjoy such challenges, creating different strategies to improve their scores over and over again. That’s how we humans are!
Over the years, numerous versions and adaptations of the game have been created for different platforms and devices, from video game consoles to mobile phones and online games, and, of course, it has also made its way into board games.
Here are the top-quality and highly successful modern tabletop games inspired by Tetris that have captivated players worldwide.
Tetris-inspired board games #1 – Blokus
Blokus is an abstract strategy game designed by Bernard Tavitian in the year 2000, featuring pieces inspired by Tetris. I
The main objective of the game is to place the highest number of your pieces on the board while blocking your opponents and making it difficult for them to place their own pieces.
Each player starts with a set of 21 Tetris pieces of different shapes and sizes The pieces can be placed on the board in a way that they only touch the corners of other pieces of the same color, never sharing a side. Additionally, each new piece played must touch at least one of your previously placed pieces on its corners.
What makes Blokus interesting is the combination of strategic planning and tactical blocking. Players must carefully consider how to place their pieces to occupy as much space as possible on the board while simultaneously blocking their opponents’ options. The balance between expanding and blocking is crucial to gain an advantage in the game.
Blokus is easy to learn, making it an accessible game for players of all ages. Furthermore, the game can be quick and dynamic since there are no fixed turns, and players can place their pieces simultaneously.
In short: Blokus is a fascinating abstract strategy game reminiscent of Tetris, which has gained popularity due to its unique mechanics and tactical approach. It offers a challenging and entertaining experience that promotes strategic planning and decision making.
- Blokus official rules in english (PDF)
- The price usually ranges around $28.
- Check current price and deals for Blokus on Amazon
Tetris-inspired board games #2 – Patchwork
Don’t let the slightly dull colors of the box or the potentially unappealing theme fool you… it’s all about creating a patchwork quilt!
Patchwork is a fantastic strategy game created by Uwe Rosenberg, the acclaimed designer of the highly popular Euro game Agricola Edited by the giant Asmodee and created by Uwe …. The game has to be really good, and it certainly is.
It actually has little to do with Tetris, except for the shape of the patch pieces and the moment of fitting them together to create the quilt. Patchwork is truly a game of strategy and resource management that appeals even to the most avid gamers.
The game includes a shared board with a spiral path on which each player’s pawn will move, symbolizing the passage of time. When a player reaches the end of the path, time is up, and the game concludes.
Each player also has a sewing board in the form of a grid on which they will construct their quilt by using patches —Tetris style pieces— that can be purchased throughout the game using coins, represented by buttons, which can be acquired in various ways.
The player who accumulates the most points when time runs out wins the game. These points are based on the buttons earned and the size of the constructed quilt.
The time element adds a sense of pressure, as progressing on the central clock allows players to earn more buttons to purchase more valuable pieces. However, it can also potentially give an advantage to the opponent.
Patchwork has simple rules and can be quickly learned, making it suitable for everyone. However, it also offers a unique combination of strategy and tactical decision-making that has both short-term and long-term implications. This enriches the game and makes it appealing even to experienced board game players.
In short: Patchwork is a challenging board game that has gained great popularity for its unique mechanics and strategic approach. If you enjoy board games that combine resource optimization with strategic planning, you will love Patchwork.
- Patchwork Official Rules in english (PDF)
- The price is usually around $30.
- Check current price and deals for Patchworkon Amazon
Tetris-inspired board games #3 – The genius square
In this game, the time variable takes on special relevance because it is a puzzle-solving game with Tetris-like pieces played against the clock. Fastest player wins.
The game mechanics are very simple. Each player has a 6×6 grid board. Seven dice are rolled, and the results give us the coordinates where we must place markers. From that point on, the first player who manages to complete the rest of their grid using Tetris-like pieces wins the game.
It’s as simple as it is addictive and competitive!
It’s a perfect game for a 1-on-1 competition that combines visual ability to solve Tetris-like puzzles with speed. It’s the perfect game to challenge someone who thinks they’re smarter than you!
It’s also suitable for challenging oneself, as it can be played solo like any other type of puzzle.
- The Genius Square official rules in english (PDF)
- The price is usually around $30
- Check current price and deals for The Genius Square on Amazon
Tetris-inspired board games #4 – Project L
Project L is a strategic tabletop game designed by Michał Mikełek and published by Boardcubator in 2020. In this game, players take on the role of scientists aiming to complete projects by creating specific patterns using Tetris-like tiles and three-dimensional pieces. The main objective is to efficiently build projects and earn the highest number of points.
The game features a set of Tetris-style pieces. players must select them and combine to construct projects, following the patterns and restrictions outlined on available project cards. Completing each project grants points and special abilities that can be utilized in future rounds.
What makes Project L intriguing is the combination of pattern-building mechanics and resource management. Players must make strategic decisions on which pieces to acquire and how to use them most efficiently to complete projects and maximize their points. Additionally, the game offers gradual progression, as completed projects can generate new opportunities and advantages for players.
In short: Project L is a tabletop game that offers a challenging and tactical experience, blending pattern analysis and decision-making to efficiently construct projects. If you enjoy tabletop games that test your puzzle-solving skills and resource management abilities, Project L can be an interesting choice for you.
- Project L official rules in english (PDF)
- The price is usually around $30
- Check current price and deals for Project L on Amazon
Tetris-inspired board games #5 – Ubongo
Ubongo is a board game designed by Grzegorz Rejchtman and first published in 2003. This fast-paced and mentally challenging game challenges players to solve geometric puzzles, similar to Tetris, within a time limit. The main objective of the game is to be the first to correctly complete your own puzzle within a set timeframe.
The game features a central board and Tetris-like pieces of different shapes and sizes. At the beginning of each round, a challenge card is revealed, displaying a pattern that players must replicate using their own pieces on their individual board. All players compete simultaneously to complete their puzzles as quickly as possible.
What makes Ubongo interesting is its combination of speed, dexterity, and problem-solving. Players must quickly analyze the shape and size of the available pieces, identify how they fit into the challenge pattern, and place them correctly before time runs out. The time pressure adds excitement and a competitive aspect to the game.
In short: Ubongo is a board game inspired in Tetris that offers a fun and competitive experience, testing players’ skills in terms of speed, spatial perception, and quick decision-making. If you enjoy tabletop games that require mental dexterity and a healthy dose of competition, Ubongo is sure to delight you.
- Ubongo official rules in english (PDF)
- The price is usually around $40.
- Check current price and deals for Ubongo on Amazon
Conclusions and tips for choosing
The five games showcased are excellent, and while they all draw inspiration from Tetris and are tabletop games, each one offers a distinct gameplay experience.
We are going to give you some tips to help you choose one of them.
Indeed, why choose just one? Who says you can’t have and enjoy both Patchwork and Ubongo, for example? They are indeed very different games.
Based on the number of players
If you’re on the lookout for a game for two players because you’re a competitive soul who wants to go head-to-head and challenge someone:
- If you’re looking for a game that is 100% like a Tetris-style puzzle:
- simple, suitable even for children: Battle of Geniuses
- a bit more complete: Ubongo.
- For a game with more strategic richness: Patchwork.
Games for three or four players
If you’re looking for a game to play with family or a group of friends, then:
- If you want a Tetris-like puzzle game: Blokus.
- For a game with more strategy and richness, your game is Project L.
Based on the number of players
Here is an approximate ranking of the games in order of difficulty, from easiest to hardest:
- The genius square: It is likely the easiest game to learn and play.
- Blokus: Also easy to learn and play, although the strategy can become more complex as you progress.
- Patchwork: With simple rules, the difficulty lies in strategic decision-making to optimize the quilt patterns and resource management. Although it may require some practice, it is accessible to most players. Great game.
- Project L: While the rules are straightforward, making strategic decisions to maximize score and manage resources may require a more careful approach.
- Ubongo: It can be considered the most challenging game on the list in terms of difficulty. The combination of speed, mental dexterity, and puzzle-solving under time pressure can be challenging for many players. However, the difficulty level can be adjusted using easier or harder challenge cards.
Based on the duration of a game
There are no significant differences in this aspect among them. All of them are fast-paced games with durations ranging from 10-30 minutes. However, it’s possible that you get hooked, play multiple consecutive games, and end up spending several hours without even realizing it.
Based on the price
There isn’t much difference in terms of price either. They all range from around $25-40. They are budget-friendly games that offer an excellent balance of quality, value, and replayability. All of them are highly recommended.
And that’s all! Thank you for reading. We hope you found it useful.
Have a great day and enjoy the real world and real life!