Blokus Strategy

At our house, the kids play Legos for hours. Annabelle (8) and Josh (6) will spend hours building towers as high as they are. Isaac (4) can’t compete with the older kids. Sometimes he ends up knocking over their towers because of it.

There are two different intrinsic needs happening here. The desire to create; then second, the desire to feel in control. These two needs affect your Blokus strategy. The game is called Blokus, so you are naturally going to want to be a Blocker, and knock down opponents towers, but a straight blocking strategy will impede your own ability to create as a Builder.

Are you a Builder or a Blocker? To win this game, you need to be both. Here is the strategy.

  1. Get out quickly
  2. Play your 5 tiles first
  3. Share space (Builder Strategy)
  4. Block conservatively (Blocker Strategy)
  5. Watch closely

Get out quickly

Get into the middle, and into other peoples areas quickly. After playing a few times, this will be natural. You may be tempted to stay close to home. DON’T DO IT.

Play your 5 tiles first

My wife, Mallory, pointed this out to me, but if you don’t play your 5 tiles first, you end up running out of space for them later.

Builder vs Blocker

Blokus works best if you play as a builder. You do this by playing pieces so that your corner and the opponents corners are touching, allowing you both to play off of the connection. As you can see below.
img_0022You may be thinking, but the game is called Blokus, shouldn’t I be trying to block?

You are thinking like a Blocker. There is certainly a place for that in this game, but often when you Block. Not only do you anger the Builder you are playing with, but you also leave yourself open for another block.

Suppose you are yellow, and it is your turn. What do you play? There are three good options.



Option 1. Good (Blocking only) It is pretty satisfying to block them completely, but it leaves you open for a bad follow-up block.


Option 2.  Better (Building Only) This leaves you open for more moves. There is no possible way for them to completely block you on that side.


Option 3. Best (Building and Blocking) Not only do you block them on many points, you also leave yourself open to get into their area. This satisfies the desire to create, and the desire to dominate. (We call that piece the clobberer, because it works so nicely.)


General game play

Once you decide to mostly act as a builder, the game will go much more smoothly for you. you will always have an opening, and won’t often get trapped early on.

Later in the game, space gets limiting. Look around and match your pieces with spaces. If you have a space completely open and no one can take it. Don’t play there until later. Target areas that are contested to ensure that your tiles are played where you planned them.

And if possible, save your 1 piece for as long as possible. There is nothing worse than getting to the end and losing because your wife saved her 1 piece. Let that be a lesson to you.

Thanks for reading, do you have any other Blokus strategies that have worked well? Any Blockers out there that are successful?

3 thoughts on “Blokus Strategy

  1. Good introduction. Blokus has taken over our lives in ways that I never could imagine. I taught game theory at CSU Chico for years but no-one can devise a wining strategy for a game with more then two players because of the coalitions that form. This make games like Blokus very difficult to analyze. How
    can you analyze ‘ making friends’ in a competitive game. It is bizarre and has lessons for all of us.


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