Gamewright’s City Square Off
The ages for this game say 8+, so my 8-year-old and I played it. She liked it. The object of the game is to build up your “city” on a grid. Each player has the same set of Tetris-like pieces, and a deck of cards randomly directs you to add one of the pieces to your grid on each turn.
Once your grid is “full” — meaning your next piece placement must fall outside the grid — you lose the game. The layout is like Tetris, but it has absolutely no time element like Tetris. The tagline on the game says “Plan to Win!” and that is the truth. My 8 year old learned that the first time she played. She built her “city” in almost a perfect square, leaving no room on the outside for wider pieces. She lost quickly, but learned quickly, too.
The next game, she kept an eye on her bigger pieces and planned on where to put them. She built into one corner, then another. She learned to leave large open spaces whenever possible. I must admit I was impressed.
This game relies heavily on spatial reasoning. The player can rotate and flip the pieces in whichever direction they wish, but must keep in mind the next additions still on the table. The age recommendation is appropriate. That being said, my 5 year old understood the rules of the game and enjoyed placing the pieces, although she was unable to grasp the concept of the game well enough to win. My 8 year old has said she would rather play against my 5 year old instead of against me.