Monday, December 29, 2008


This is a board game that was recommended by a friend, so we decided to give it a whirl before the neighbourhood girls come over and 'beat the pants off us'. As I was researching for this blog entry, Wikipedia actually gave names to the shapes that are used in playing. It is no secret that my mathematical abilities are limited, (despite my illustrious lineage), but my grasp of the English language has always been quite keen. I must have been away the day they taught about "polyominoes". I knew "dominoes"...but "monomino", "triominoes", "tetrominoes" and "pentominoes"???? The mono, tri, tetro, and pento I get, but I don't recall these terms. Guess we'll have to dig out the Trivial Pursuit game next. For those of you who are as astounded as I was, there is a brief description following. Too much learning for a Monday??? It's a good game of strategy.
The game is played on a square board divided into 20 rows and 20 columns, for a total of 400 squares. There are a total of 84 game tiles, organized into 21 shapes in each of four colors: blue, yellow, red, and green. The 21 shapes are based on free polyominoes of from one to five squares (one monomino, one domino, two trominoes/triominoes, five tetrominoes, and 12 pentominoes).

In recreational mathematics, a polyomino is a polyform with the square as its base form. It is a connected shape formed as the union of one or more identical squares in distinct locations on the plane, taken from the regular square tiling, such that every square can be connected to every other square through a sequence of shared edges (i.e., shapes connected only through shared corners of squares are not permitted). Polyominoes with from 1 to 6 squares are called respectively monominoes, dominoes, trominoes (or triominoes), tetrominoes, pentominoes and hexominoes. Polyominoes have been used in popular puzzles since at least 1907, and the enumeration of pentominoes is dated to antiquity.[1] Many results with the pieces of 1 to 6 squares were first published in Fairy Chess Review between the years 1937 to 1957, under the name of "dissection problems". The name polyomino was invented by Solomon W. Golomb in 1953 and they were popularized by Martin Gardner.[2]

I've only thrown the tiles, the whole lot of them, fancy names and all, at the Professor once for blocking my most stellar move.


  1. OK. Way too complicated for a simpleton such as I (or maybe such as myself or even I, myself). Just give me another heart to do and I will be relaxed and satisfied with my efforts. Plus I will have something tangible for all my hard work. What will you get just for participating in blokus?

  2. For participating in Blokus I'll get the opportunity to sit and play. I'll get some mental stimulation...actually I'll get a lot of mental stimulation trying to figure out how to place those dratted little polyominoes in the best strategic spots. I'll get to enjoy time with the people I'm playing with, and hopefully someday, the satisfaction of having been able to get all my pieces on the mean feat.

    Then, I'll put the game away, pick up my metal, shape a heart, and hammer the heck out of it...that will be my therapy!

  3. Wow! This game looks like it would be a lot of fun to play because I love anything to do with geometrical shapes. We always spend time playing Scattegories during the Christmas holidays. Over the years it's turned into an opportunity to stretch the categories and indulge in a lot of laughter. That's the great thing about board games ...the company and sharing time together.