For most of the Gameloft crew, board games are deeply ingrained in our childhood memories. Whether it involved picking up our first chess piece or throwing backgammon dice, we all hold fond memories of playing board games. With consoles like the PlayStation 3 offering a modern twist to various traditional board games, it can be a great way to play familiar titles for that nostalgic feeling.
One of our favorite games we like to play in the office is Blokus. This is essentially an abstract strategy game, so it gets pretty intense when the Gameloft crew faces off against each other. Producer Philippe Laurens is particularly excited to share the news regarding Gameloft’s release of Blokus on PSN!
Jennifer Kye: For those unfamiliar with the game, what is the basic concept of Blokus?
Philippe Laurens: The goal of the game is for each player to place as many of his/her 21 differently-shaped pieces on the board as possible. The strategy to win is to place your pieces so they “block” the other players from placing their pieces!
Each player begins at one of the corners of the board. The players take turns placing one block at a time. Each new piece on the board must touch another piece of the same color, but it can only touch at the corners, never along the sides. When none of the players can place any more pieces, they all count the number of squares that their pieces occupy. This is their final score for the match. It’s a captivating strategy game!
JK: How did the development team work to make the game accessible to beginners?
PL: The principle of the game is really simple so even a child can grasp it quickly. The tutorial is pretty clear but we’ve also added an option that can be handy for beginners. With this option on, once you select a block, all the different places on the board where you could actually place it are highlighted. You just have to choose one spot to place your block. Plus, PlayStation Move controls enable you to move your blocks even more intuitively (Blokus also works with standard control pads).
JK: Conversely, how did the development team incorporate challenges for Blokus veterans?
PL: Getting the perfect blocking strategy on Blokus can be tricky. You can, of course, select the difficulty level in the game, but also determine a time limit for each move. Having to choose where to put your block in only 10 seconds is very challenging, believe me!
Also, each of the four game variations requires a totally different strategy. We have created a Career mode which gets progressively more difficult. You can play through 30 rounds, each with a different game type and rule variant.
JK: How did you end up adding a special mode for color blind gamers? And how does it work?
PL: One of our game designers on the team is color-blind, so it became clear that we had to add a Color-Blind mode, if only for him to work on the game! It works very simply: different icons for each different color are added on the blocks to make them more easily identifiable for the color-blind.
JK: What aspects make Blokus such a fun and engaging game?
PL: The principle is really simple and you can play for hours while still discovering a new strategy – it’s quite addictive. With its four game variations, Blokus definitely offers a lot of variety. Based on the game variation, you have the following options: Four players control one color each, two players control two colors each, or four players play in teams.
You can also play Blokus Duo. With only twocolors, the board is smaller and the start position is in the middle of the board. We also added some avatars to the game you can customize as you like. The Multiplayer mode also adds a lot of fun. You can play with up to four riends locally on the same PS3, or play online.
JK: If the development team were to play a Blokus tournament, who would come out as the champion?
PL: I would! I accept challenges! As I’d like to say: Bring it on!