|Interaction||Components & Design|
Blueprints is a light-ish dice game in three rounds. Each round, players receive a blueprint card showing a building they must construct from six dice. Should construct, really. If they have a better plan, that’s fine too. The blueprints show a top-down view of the building, with a number in every space telling you how high you are supposed to stack your dice there. On your turn, you pick one die from the pool of available dice and place it on your blueprint. There are only two rules that you must follow: you can never put a die in a place that is not supposed to have any in your blueprint, and you can never put a die on top of another die that shows a higher number. Putting all sixes at the bottom is probably a bad idea. In case it’s not obvious, you also cannot move a die once it’s placed. You don’t see builders pushing around finished rooms in real construction sites, either. After building, you roll a new die into the pool.
The dice come in four different colours, representing four different materials. The materials are important in scoring, after all players place their six dice, because each material follows its own scoring rules. Every wood (orange) die scores two points for every other orange die it shares a face with, so you want all your wood in one corner. Recycled materials (green dice) are better the more you use of them, they score based on the number of green dice in your buildings. If the other players let you get all six, that’s 30 points. Stone (black) dice score for the floor they are on, the higher the better and glass (clear dice) scores the points the die’s top face is showing. In comparison, actually following your blueprints is only worth six points, so you might choose to ignore them and do your own design. The points you score here are not yet victory points, however. For the highest-scoring building, no matter how high it scores, you get a Gold Award worth three victory points, followed by a two point Silver Award for the second scoring building and a one point Bronze Award for the third.
But those are not all the points you can score, you can also try and win the special prizes. The Skyscraper Prize goes to a building with five or more floors, the Structural Integrity Prize is awarded to a building with four or more dice showing the same number, to win the Geometer Prize you need dice showing al the numbers from one to six and for the Materials Prize you have to have at least five dice of the same color. All prizes are awarded only once per round with ties being resolved by who used more of the in-demand materials that were drawn before the round started. Since all buildings are hidden from the other players until it’s time to add up the scores, this forces you to pay close attention to the other players’ choices: if they are going for the same prize as you, you want to know it early.
Ultimately, you only make two decisions per turn: what die to take and where to put it. But there are many factors influencing those decisions. Do you pick a stone die to put on the third floor and score points for your building, or do you take another wood die and try for the Prize? Do you put a six-point glass die on the bottom floor, knowing that you might not be able to build on top of it? Ignore awards completely and collect three prizes in one round? And how do your opponents figure into all this, do you try to figure out their plans to disrupt them? Do they figure out yours? Can you leave the single stone die for another round and put it one floor higher, or will it be gone then? If you build your house only with wood, will the big bad wolf blow it down? I’m not saying that Blueprints is a deeply strategic game with tons of interaction, but it does get a lot of mileage out of its very simple mechanics. For a game that you can learn in less than five minutes and play in less than thirty, it does make you think a bit for your victory and keeps you entertained. The same goes for the game’s looks, by the way. There’s not much material there, but you can’t deny that the blueprint cards with the colourful dice look very good.