Posted by: gschloesser | August 2, 2011

Fits

Design by:  Reiner Knizia
Published by:  Ravensburger
2 – 4 Players, 45 minutes
Review by:  Greg J. Schloesser 

NOTE:  This review first appeared on Boardgame News.

Tetris the board game.  ‘Nuff said.  

Well, maybe I’ll say a bit more.  Like, “Why didn’t I think of this?”  Take a classic and highly addictive video game and convert it into an equally addictive board game.  The result is Fits by designer Reiner Knizia and published by Ravensburger.  Methinks they may have a mega-hit on their hands. 

Each player receives an assortment of oddly shaped pieces, ala Tetris, a plastic board and two double-sided inserts.  Each insert depicts six columns and twelve rows of dots.  In a nice touch, all of the pieces and inserts fit snuggly inside the board, making for easy play and storage.  Players place insert number one into their board and play begins.  The ultimate objective is somewhat akin to that of Tetris:  attempt to fit the pieces into the board with as few gaps as possible.  However, this objective changes somewhat in each of the four rounds, adding a variety of challenges and helping keep the game fresh.

To begin the game, each player receives a card depicting one of their pieces, which they must slide down their board to the bottom row.  All pieces inserted must be slid from the top to the bottom of the board, and unlike Tetris, cannot be slid sideways.  It’s a straight-down slide.  Then, one-by-one, cards are revealed from the deck and players slide the matching piece down their board.  Players may opt to discard a piece rather than place it, which can be very helpful when certain pieces would upset one’s plans.  This process continues until the deck expires and players have placed or discarded all of their pieces.  Points are tallied, and play continues in the same fashion for four rounds.   

Each round uses a different board insert, each giving players a different objective.  In all rounds, players must cover as many dots as possible, but there are also other objectives.  In round one, players receive one point for each row they have completely covered, but lose one point for each uncovered dot.  In round two, there are seven bonus dots that should be left uncovered, as each will earn one-to-three points.  There are no longer points for completed rows, but that one point penalty for each uncovered dot is, as always, still present.  Round three is similar to round two, but now there are both positive and negative bonus dots.  Those pesky negative dots cause a loss of five points apiece, while the positive bonus dots still only reward from one-to-three points.  Of course, a player should attempt to cover the negative dots and leave the positive dots uncovered.

Round four is a bit different, as the insert depicts five pairs of symbols.  The object it so leave both dots of a specific symbol uncovered, which earns the player three points.  Leaving just one uncovered costs the player three points, while covering both earns a big, fat zero points. 

 As mentioned, the presence of four different board inserts makes each round feel just a bit different, which helps prevent the game from growing redundant over the course of the game.  While the mechanics are the same from round-to-round, the objectives are different, which causes a player to think a bit differently when inserting his pieces.  

Fits has that same highly addictive quality as Tetris. There’s the choice of where to slide a piece, and which way to orient it.  There’s the verbal hoping for a desired card to be flipped so that an objective can be met.  And almost inevitably, there are the moans of frustration as a piece must be inserted that will ruin an otherwise perfect board.  And, of course, what really makes the game a winner is that feeling that you could do much better the next time, so you immediately demand one more game.  That same feeling seems to prevail whether the game is played with dedicated games or in a family or social environment.  Let’s examine the formula:  easy to learn, fun to play, filled with moments of glee and frustration, and leaves players with the desire to immediately play it again.  That sounds like a sure-fire hit to me!

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Responses

  1. FITS is a serviceable desktop Tetris that barely straddles the line between too thoughtful for kids, and too simple for adults. (5/10)

  2. Light tile laying game, except the tiles look like tetris pieces and you slide them into place. A complete game uses 4 boards with different scoring rules. This was a great idea because the basic game is just ok. Good family fun. (6/10)


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