Monday, May 11, 2009

Review of Reiner Knizia's "Fits"...

So I think Reiner Knizia gets a bad rap in the gaming community. He is easily the most prolific designer in the world right now and has produced some classics in the past 15 years. He has been criticized mostly for creating games where the themes are almost non-existent. Okay, fine, but I have fun playing his games. A lot of fun. So much fun, usually, that I could give a rat's ass if I'm really just counting cards and rearranging cubes on a grid. So what happens when he decides to take on Tetris? Obviously, there is no theme. But is it fun? Oh yes, it definitely is.


The plastic pieces of this game are pretty high-quality and serve their purpose just fine. They are perfectly ridged to slide down the ramp from top to bottom. As well, the ramps double as storage containers for all of the different pieces. Very useful and keeps everything in perfect order.

Rules and Gameplay

The rules to this game are easily explained in the rulebook and anyone familiar with Tetris will catch on immediately.

The game takes place over four rounds and they increase in difficulty (although this is easily adjustable). Everyone has a different start tile determined by a card which helps differentiate how everyone plays their other tiles. After this, one player flips from a pile of cards showing all the different pieces. Much like the classic Take It Easy (or for other, maybe Bingo), everyone has to play that tile at the same time. The tile can be oriented however you'd like, but once its fixed the orientation can't be changed as it slides down from the top to the bottom of your ramp. As well, unlike Tetris, the pieces can't be slid horizontally from column to column once they've begun their descent. Now, if you REALLY don't like the tile that was drawn, you can set it aside but you won't get a chance to play it again. And this could hurt you, depending on what round you're in. Here's why.

In round 1, you get 1 point for every horizontal row you make and lose 1 point for every dot that remains uncovered. Now there are exactly 72 squares in your 16 pieces and 72 dots on the board that need to be covered. So just tossing away a piece isn't necessarily the best idea. In the second round, rows don't count. There are certain numbered spaces and if you leave those uncovered you get the corresponding number of points. You still lose a point for every other dot left uncovered. The third round introduces -5 spots that really need to be covered and the fourth round gives 3 points for every pair of corresponding symbols left visible at the end.

So, how does it play? Well, my favourite part of Take It Easy was the point where everyone starts begging the flip person to flip a certain tile. You get the same thing here, but with every tile! The specific shape you want never seems to get flipped up in the right order and it's frustrating fun. It is a much more luck-dependent game than Take It Easy but it also a lot shorter. There are decisions to be made on every turn, although I wouldn't say they are all that taxing. What is a little tricky about the game is having to decide which pieces to toss and which to play. Plus the different boards give each round a different feeling and lend somewhat of an arc to the game, unlike Take It Easy.
Great. Lots of fun!


This game is very light. It actually sometimes feels a bit like you are playing with a toy more than a board game. So don't expect a ton of strategy. But there is some planning and lots of decisions to be made every turn, some of which are agonizing. But, much like Bingo, the luck of the draw will often help you the most in the end.
If you're looking for a lot strategy, this is the wrong game for you.


I'm very glad I ordered this game (and boy, was it hard to get a hold of!) It is a very light, very short game that has been a piece of cake to teach. Everyone loves Tetris and this seems to scratch that itch while sliding in the joy of a good round of Bingo. And it's more strategic than both of those games. For the price, I'd say pick it up. I think most of you would already know if you like this sort of thing and our group definitely does.

One thing I do wonder is whether it will outstay its welcome. After four games, our group is already wanting more boards to play. I know Ted Alspach is posting more at his great site Bezier Games and we will be downloading them ASAP. Considering how this game is already selling out across North America, I expect there will be many expansions...
Knizia strikes again. This time he hits a lot lighter but still packs as much punch.

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