# Are some pieces better than others in Blokus?

Obviously the smaller pieces are generally easier to get rid of than the larger pieces, but I'd be interested to know which pieces I should aim to get rid of first, and which pieces I should save. I'm sure this largely depends on the gaps on the playing board, but are there some pieces that go better in the majority of cases?

• I'm wondering if might make sense to reword the question to better match the question in the longer text. Something like: Which pieces are best to play first in Blokus? Oct 25, 2012 at 14:18
• @JoeGolton I was actually trying not to ask which pieces to play first :-) I already asked that here: boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/1497/… Oct 26, 2012 at 7:47
• I'm even more confused, then. For example, I think the "best piece" by far is the "1." The 1 should be withheld from being played until it affords you an opportunity to break out into an entirely new territory from which you would otherwise be blocked. So that's a good answer to your headline question, but not a good answer to text which asks about "which to get rid of first." Oct 26, 2012 at 15:31
• I agree, the "one" is the best piece and so you shouldn't try to get rid of it Oct 26, 2012 at 21:05

For scoring purposes alone placing the pentominoes first is the optimal approach.

What you place first depends on your strategy. Sometimes I like to go straight after another player to attempt to block them in. Y, I, and L are good opening pieces for that. For a more balanced to the middle approach, I like to open with F or W. They give lots of corners to build off of and are not immediately threatening to the other players.

I, P, T and X can be difficult to place later in the game, so I like to get them out as soon as possible. F, U, L, W and Z are all great for cutting other players off, so I like to save them for when I get close to another color.

Usually only 2 of the 4's give me trouble; the straight piece, and the perfect square. I tend to prioritizing placing them over all the smaller pieces and even some of the 5's.

In most games what you place becomes highly dependent on what the other players are doing. Especially in later turns. You need to give yourself room to grow while simultaneously denying space to your opponents.

Most certainly; all pieces are NOT created equal, some pieces are greater than others.
I've found that the 'better' pieces are the ones with more vertices. The fewer points a piece has, the easier it is for an opponent to fully block all expansion opportunities. The more points a piece has, the more opportunities you'll have for branching the next piece off of it.
Accordingly, I try to play my "low-point" pieces early, and in 'unimportant' locations. I try to save my "high-point" pieces for when I begin encountering the enemy and expect resistance.
To list:

``````I = 4
P = 5
V = 5
L = 5
N = 6
T = 6
U = 6
Y = 6
Z = 6
F = 7
W = 7
X = 8
``````

Of course, none of that takes into account how easy or difficult a piece can be to play, merely how strong it can be after it's been played. Additionally, the situation can make a piece much stronger; the long bars are excellent for making a long jump into enemy territory, and if they can be played to block an opponents expansion into that area then they're the perfect piece for the moment. In general though, the vertex count gives me a good and easy way to rate pieces.

Like so many Blokus questions, the answer is: "It depends".

Late in the game, the "best pieces" are the ones you can still play. That will depend on what your opponents have done already, and won't always be the same ones.

All the pieces are both "good" and "bad", but in general the ones with lots of corners (like, F and X and W) are "more useful" than those with long straight edges, (like L and I).

But every piece has both good and bad qualities, and times it should be used, and times it should be saved.

Take for example, the I (or I5 as it called in online games):

Good qualities:

• it takes you as far as possible in one direction,
• it can cut off an opponent in some situations where no other piece will, because it's the only one that's 5-long.