I got myself a copy of FITS, the Tetris-like game from Ravensburger. It’s a fun little puzzler, where players must fill up the space with polyominoes — like Tetris bits, but this game also includes those with three or five squares. Each tile will appear exactly once in a random order and the rules are slightly stricter than in Tetris, since there’s no moving sideways. Badly placed tile will block a lot.
There are four rounds, each with a different scoring rule. In each round, every empty spot is one negative point. In the first round, extra points are awarded for completed rows. In the second, for spaces with point values. In the third, there are positive spaces and very negative spaces. In the last one there are pairs of symbols: if both are showing, it’s points, but if only one is out, it’s negative.
It’s very simple and plays relatively quickly. It’s very multiplayer solitaire, the number of players doesn’t matter a bit. The rule book includes a scoring scale for solo play. However, I don’t find the solo game that interesting — the game is more fun with other people. It’s not brilliant, but so far I like it. What’s even better, Nooa liked it a lot and had great fun playing with the (sturdy plastic) tiles. That might be the reason to keep the game.
Yesterday I played a game of Steam. Again we had three players on the US board, but this time using Basic rules. Those are actually pretty good! Of course, they remove quite a bit of the tension, as the auction is gone and the money is a lot easier (no loan-taking in advance, just go down on the income track when — and only when — you need cash). The basic game is still the same, though: get a good engine, build flexible track, secure cubes for future deliveries.
So, in some ways the basic game makes things easier — new players will need to do less challenging forward planning — while keeping the game interesting. It’s not a bad mix, and I wouldn’t mind playing the Basic game again. My preference is still the Advanced game.
In our game experience paid off. I built a gorgeous network — a large ring of about 4-5 cities and 4-5 towns, then urbanized another city outside the circle and connected it several times to my ring and for the final touch built a route across the ring. In the end, I would’ve had six-link deliveries for two or three turns more. It was very pleasing to build. Final scores were about 79, 73, 59 or so, so it wasn’t a slaughter or even a particularly obvious victory in the end, thanks to the split income and VP tracks. In Age of Steam, this would’ve been brutal.