According to Wikipedia, Bernard Tavitian stumbled across the concept for Blokus "while trying to find an appropriate frame for a painting of an orchestra made up of geometric figures".

We haven't got a clue what this means, but whatever the source of Tavitian's inspiration we should all be grateful to the talented Frenchman for creating one of the most original strategy boardgames on shelves today.

Now, Gameloft has adapted Tavitian's vision to the mobile phone, and what a colourful vision it is.


The basic premise of Blokus is deceptively simple. Between two and four players compete for territory on a 20x20 grid of squares. Each player has a selection of blocks, somewhat similar to Tetris pieces. Players take turns to place these blocks on the board, attempting to cover as many tiles on the grid as they can.

Where things get complicated is that each block you place must connect corner-to-corner to one of your previously placed blocks, but cannot touch one of your own blocks face-to-face.

These restrictions don't apply when setting down pieces near your opponents' blocks, however, and so Blokus very rapidly becomes a strategic dance, with each player trying to block his opponents' potential moves, while opening up more space for his own pieces.


This version of Blokus comes with a range of features and game options - allowing for up to four human players passing the handset or several two-player variants of Blokus. If your friends are too busy to play, the AI can step in and play as up to three of your opponents.

Special mention goes to the person who decided to include a Colour Blind mode, which adds symbols to the coloured blocks. They've also included a zoom function, which almost but not quite eliminates the problem of having a 400 square grid on the tiny screen of a mobile phone.

But Blokus's best feature by far is the Tournament mode, which pits you against a series of solo challenges - score X points, win without using certain blocks - increasing in difficulty until you almost feel like all three AI opponents are solely concerned with preventing you from reaching your goal.

It can be all too easy to freeze out a single opponent by ganging up, but this is a staple of multiplayer games and serves to add to the challenge as well as frustrate.

There have been a number of boardgame conversions to handheld devices over the years, with the majority of them failing to capture the spirit of the original, let alone add anything special. Blokus is a wonderful exception to that rule.