Hey folks. Today, I hoped in a DeLorean and went back to the 80s. I grabbed a Ecto Cooler, watched some Alf, and listen to Duran Duran on a cassette tape in my Walkmen. See, I wanted to play Tetris, which came out in 1984, and thought the best way was to just experience the 80s in all it’s shoulder padded glory. Little did I know, I didn’t have to do any of that! Well, at least I got my Grays Sports Almanac. Today, we’re looking at Tetris Link by Techno Source. It’s a 2-4 player abstract puzzle game that plays in about 20 minutes.
The box depends on which one you can find or buy. I’ve had a flip top box, but recently bought the Techno Source produced one for a tradition two piece box. The game comes with the rules, tower grid, game die, and 100 tetriminos. These come in 4 different colors to depict the different players. So, not a lot in the terms of set up.
The tetriminos come in blue, green, yellow, and red. Each player has the 5 of each Tetris shape. These are what most would describe as a Square, S Shape, T Shape, L Shape, and Line. These are clear plastic and very reminiscent of Blokus pieces.
The game tower is clear, and each Tetris piece slides down the middle. On the sides are the scoring tracker for each player. There’s a tracker that goes from -5 to 25. Each player will have their matching color to slide up and down to keep track of points. The game die has each Tetris shape on it and a side that just says “Tetris Link.”
Set up is easy. You set the tower grid up, slide each player to 0, and give each player all the tetriminos of their chosen color. Now, if you’re serious about the game you’ll sort all your tetriminos by similar shapes. If you’re even more serious about the game and playing mind games, you’ll connect all your tetriminos together making it near impossible for your opponents to tell what pieces you have left.
To play the game, everyone will take turns rolling the game die. First player to roll “Tetris Link” goes first. Players are trying to get the most points. On each players turn, they’ll roll the game die and place that shape into the tower. If a player rolls “Tetris Link” the shape they play is up to them. Once you connect three of your colors together, you get three points. Any other piece that connects to that grouping gets an additional point. You might be wondering about the score tracker going to -5. Well, if you ever place a tetrimino and there’s an empty space under it you lose that many points. So one empty square loses you one point. 3 empty squares loses you 3 points. Once a player places their tetrimino, it’s on to the next player. Move your scoring grid as you earn points or lose them. The game ends when the board is filled. And no tetrimino can go beyond the top of the board and stick out.
During the game, you’ll be trying to get the most out of your placements and trying to set up future points. You can also use your tetriminos to block other players from gaining points. Usually the first game is pretty timid. Once one person has started blocking others, all the gloves come off and it’s a race to victory without regarding others.
What do I think about Tetris Link? I might have given it away in other blog posts, or even the beginning when I said it depended on what box you bought. I have two of this game. One was a Christmas gift, while the other was bought as a used game. My wife and I work in a children’s pediatric clinic, and I brought this game in one day. The kids loved it, and my wife was able to work on visual spatial skills, fine motor skills, and turn taking. So, I knew I wanted to get another copy for work. Sadly, this game is out of production. It’s a little difficult to find due to being out of production. It’s what really got me into the Board Game hobby. Sure, I’ve played board games before this one, but this one opened me up more to family gaming. I was able to play game after game of this with friends and family. Each game was filled with laughter.
Every time I teach the game, it goes as follows. First game, timid. Everyone is trying to get their strand of tetriminos to get the most points. Second game, grudgey. All players are trying to get the most points, but are keeping an eye and blocking last games winner. Third game, all out war. All the gloves are off, and the points don’t matter. What matters is stopping Ashley from winning the third game. So I might lose some points by playing this line the long ways, but I completely cut her off. Good luck winning now, Ashley! . . .But really, I enjoy this game, my kids enjoy this game, and my grandma enjoyed this game. It’s easy to teach, fast to play, and has a lot of choices for being a random die roll. I highly recommend this as a step up from Connect Four and to anyone looking for a light fun puzzle game.