For most of my life, there was no tile placement sub-genre of board games. There was just Scrabble. This all-time great won me over at a young age and continues to be a favourite. Once I discovered the world of enthusiast board gaming, I discovered that there were many other games that use the concept of tile placement in very different ways. In this installment of the Board Game Night Playlist, we’re doing nothing but quality tile placement games. Let’s go!
In short, Qwirkle is Scrabble without a dependency on language. Players take turns placing down tiles in order to create rows made up of tiles with the same colour or tiles with the same shape. You gain one point for each tile in your row, but just like Scrabble, you can score extra by tying your pieces to multiple rows in one turn or by creating a full row of six tiles. Without the vocabulary requirement, Quirkle better focuses on the best part of Scrabble, which is the aspect of placing your tiles in such a manner that gains you the most points. You can get it in its standard size, or in a cute little travel package that contains the same thrills while still being able to fit easily into a bag.
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival
The harvest festival is upon us, and it’s up to you and your friends to set up lanterns on the lake. This is done by placing lake tiles on the board. Each player will earn a lantern card based on the side of the tile matching the side of the table they’re sitting on. However, it gets really cool when you take advantage of matching colours for bonus cards to help you score faster. Taking cues from some of the best games in the business while adding a new mechanic to call its own, Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is a great modern take on the tile placement genre.
This one is an oldie, but it is certainly a goodie. Using tiles, players will piece together the towns, fields and roads that make up the region of Carcassonne. The only thing I love more than looking at how cool and unique each city ends up being when the game is over is the worker placement mechanics. By claiming certain aspects of the city with meeples, you can score a varying number of points based on how much of that aspect is completed. For example, a 10-tile road is worth 10 points, but it could be worth more if you’re able to extend it with the right road tiles. This one is welcome at any board game night, though its presence is damn-near mandatory at a tile placement themed event.