Games with Tetris shaped pieces are the most popular board game genre at the moment. However, there sure are a lot of them. Copenhagen, from Queen Games, takes the Tetris love and mashes it together with Ticket to Ride style card play. Read on to see if that plays out as promisingly as it sounds!
The game sees you attempting to decorate the buildings of Copenhagen with colourful facade tiles to score points. So yeah, apart from an excuse for looking nice, the theme is light. This isn't really noticeable once you start playing as the only theme you will notice is those flipping windows!
Points are achieved by creating rows and columns with the facade tiles. You get one point for a row and two for a column. Unless the row or column is made entirely of windows. Sounds easy? The thing is, the designers have deliberately put the windows in awkward places. As a result, you often have to decide between the quicker row and the longer, more point-heavy, columns.
The way you get the facade tiles is the aforementioned Ticket to Ride system. Seven cards are laid out in a horse shoe shape and on your turn you can take two adjacent cards or build a facade tile. Rules for building are very friendly with the only hard and fast rules being that tile must be within the building grid and supported beneath by either the floor or another tile.
You must turn in the amount of cards matching the colour and size of the tile you wish to use unless you are playing it adjacent to a tile of the same colour in which case you get a one card discount.
Ticket to Copenhagen
On your turn, as well as taking cards or building, you can activate a bonus tile. Once used these are flipped over. Cover a coat of arms, however, and you also get a bonus action. You get to choose from taking a single window piece, a bonus tile, or flipping all your used bonus tiles back to their usable side.
So, Copenhagen is familiar and a little bit different at the same time. I have to say that this mash up works. You very quickly learn that building in Copenhagen is not a case of neatly filling in all the gaps, ala Barenpark or Patchwork, but building rows and columns quickly. The game is blisteringly fast with the first player to hit 12 points ending the game instantly. The game can also end when the deck has been run through twice. For reference, four-player games usually go the way of the deck while lower player counts see the 12-point ending more often.
Winning the game is incredibly satisfying for you and frustrating for everybody else as they don't get an extra turn to try and overtake you, but it fits with the short play style. There can be a runaway leader problem in games where some players are new and some have played before, but it erodes after one play.
The big question is - Is this the best Tetrisy game out there? For me, almost. Barenpark has remained by go to Tetrisy game and this does nothing to change that, but Copenhagen has come closer than most. Barenpark's big issue is its set-up time. Copenhagen is quick to play and set-up, and while replay-ability may be lower without expansions, you won't notice or mind unless you play it over and over again without break!
The Bottom Line on Copenhagen
Copenhagen combines card selection, familiar to fans of Ticket to Ride, with tile placement in a smooth and elegant way. For those looking for a quick, satisfying and pretty game Copenhagen is a solid recommendation.