Blokus (officially pronounced “Block us”) is an abstract strategy game with transparent, Tetris-shaped, colored pieces that players are trying to play onto the board. The only caveat to placing a piece is that it may not lie adjacent to your other pieces, but instead must be placed touching at least one corner of your pieces already on the board.
In Seikatsu, players take turns placing tiles into a shared garden area, with each tile showing a colored flower and colored bird. Players score for groups of birds as they place them, but they score for rows of flowers only at the end of the game and only for the rows of flowers that exist from their perspective, i.e., that are viewable as lines from where they sit at the game board.
By all appearances, it’s just two players taking turns laying stones on a 19×19 (or smaller) grid of intersections. But once its basic rules are understood, Go shows its staggering depth. One can see why many people say it’s one of the most elegant brain-burning abstract games in history, with players trying to claim territory by walling off sections of the board and surrounding each other’s stones. The game doesn’t end until the board fills up, or, more often, when both players agree to end it, at which time whoever controls the most territory wins.
Auf Heller und Pfennig takes participants to a medieval marketplace that looks remarkably like a plain matrix for square tiles. Each turn, players place tiles onto the board that modify (either positively or negatively) the amount of money to be made by the shops that share that tile’s row or column. Three times the board is filled with tiles and shop money is earned, after which the player with the most money wins.