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Why would someone bother with a board game version of Tetris when the digital versions are faster, simpler, and more exciting? Turns out, Brikks actually does have a place in the board game world.

Jeremiah & Kara

MeepleGamers

6.7/10 Publisher: Stronghold Games Designer: Wolfgang Warsch Artist: Anne Pätzke Game Type: Roll and Write Game Type: Spatial Placement Initial Year of Release: 2018 Age Range: 8+ Expected Playtime: 30 min Number of Players: 1 – 4 Brikks - Stronghold Games - Review 1

Theme and What is it?

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Slowly, steadily, little colored blocks move down your screen — a yellow L, a white T, a useless zig-zaggy shape that no one likes — frantically, you arrange them in such a way that they will fall and settle into complete rows. Suddenly, the holy grail of blocks pops onto your screen — a straight line. Four beautiful blocks stacked on top of one another. You move the line all the way to the right and it falls, completing four entire rows at once. It is glorious. It is Tetris. 

I mean Brikks. It is Brikks.

Brikks is a Tetris-themed roll and write game where players are trying to arrange “falling” colored blocks into neat rows. By maneuvering the blocks, planning appropriately, and managing their available energy dots, one player will set the high score and win the game!

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Gameplay Mechanics

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Brikks is the cleverly designed pencil-and-paper version of the popular arcade game “Tetris”. 

On their turn a player rolls two dice — a colored die and a numbered die. Together, these dice determine which “block” is on screen. Each player then has to draw the block on their player sheet, as though it was “falling” from the top of the screen to the bottom.

Throughout the game, players will earn “energy points” which they can spend to rotate the blocks as their falling. Players can also spend five energy points to change the current block into any other block of their choice. There are also bombs that the players can use to blow those dang zig-zag blocks (or any other block they just don’t want to use) to smithereens. 

At the end of the game, the players get points for their completely complete and mostly-complete rows. They also get points for the bombs and energy points they didn’t use. The player with the most points wins! 

The mechanics here are smooth and streamlined. I wouldn’t say they’re particularly innovative or intriguing, but they managed to make a board game that actually feels like Tetris.

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Initial Impressions

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When I first saw Brikks I thought, “If I wanted to play Tetris, I would download the app”. I wondered why someone would bother with a board game version of Tetris when the digital versions are faster, simpler, and more exciting.

Turns out, Brikks actually does have a place in the board game world. It’s not exactly like Tetris, like I thought at first. For one, it’s multiplayer, which allows players to compete against one another. It’s also slower, which allows players to analyze and strategize more than they’d be able to in a normal game of digital Tetris.

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Game Build Quality

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The component quality of Brikks is similar to a lot of roll and writes. There’s a pad of paper, some pens, two dice, and four clear plastic chips that players can use to track the current on-screen block.

The game comes with plenty of double-sided player sheets. One side has the screen where players will draw their blocks and keep track of their points. The other side has a chart of all the blocks on it, which players use to find the block determined by the dice roll. 

One thing that kind of bothered me is that players get 2 sheets for the game. They use the front of one to draw their blocks on, and the back of the second sheet shows all the different blocks that could be rolled. At some point though, players are going to run out of sheets and might not have 2 to use per player. I wish the designers had included smaller, laminated block charts for each player instead. They’d be more durable and take up less table room. 

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Artistic Direction

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The artwork in Brikks is reminiscent of an old style arcade game. The player sheets look like an arcade cabinet, the blocks look like the classic Tetris blocks. I don’t think the artwork is particularly interesting, but it fits with the theme really well! 

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Fun Factor

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I feel like Brikks is a casual game. It’s a good way to pass the time, but I don’t think it’s one that I’d find myself itching to play. 

Still, it’s a pleasant challenge, trying to fit all the blocks together into neat little rows, trying to get the blocks to cover the same-colored dots, and everyone I’ve played it with so far has had a nice little time.

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Age Range & Weight

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The age range for Brikks is 8+, which is probably just about right. Some young players might struggle with remembering how many energy points they have to spend to rotate their blocks, or switch blocks, but with the help of an adult they should do just fine.

This is also a pretty light game. The decisions players have to make are usually pretty straightforward and simple. I suppose some really intense players could spend a long time agonizing over every block-placement, but generally the game moves forward quickly and painlessly.

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Conclusions

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Overall Brikks is a fine little roll and write and I’m impressed that the designer was able to put together a board version of a digital game! While it may not be my favorite roll and write out there, I think Brikks would be really appealing to people looking for a lightweight roll and write, and to people who really enjoy Tetris and want to try out an electronically-absent version. If you’re looking for a clever, boardgamer version of Tetris, check out Brikks!

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