Players 2
Length 30-60 minutes
Equipment Required one standard piecepack
Designer DavidBoyle, James Kyle, ChrisYoung
Version 1.0
Version Date2004-06-30
License custom license: Copyright (c) 2004, David Boyle, James Kyle and Chris Young These rules may be copied and distributed for free provided the authors are credited and/or the header remains in place, and this license is included.


An asymmetrical abstract game in which one player attempts to reach the opposite side of the board with any one of the pawns, while the other player attempts to make further movement by the pawn player impossible.

Designed to be enjoyed by a strategist versus a tactician.


Reviews & Comments

We played numerous games of Blockade during the judging of the GroupProjects contest, but the runners were always able to break through the blockers' defenses. It is a fun brain burner, though, and we recommend bidding for the right to play the runners, with the lowest bidder winning if a runner escapes within the set bid number of moves. Or perhaps play two games, with each player taking the runners once, where the player who gets a runner to the end in the fewest number of moves wins. -- ClarkRodeffer (./) (./)

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Anyone who's known me for very long knows I'm a sucker for a good abstract, so after I read the Blockade ruleset, I was really looking forward to playing. Blockade is an abstract traversal game of unequal forces for two players. Our games typically lasted about 40 minutes. One player (the runner) tries to get any one of the four pawns from one end of the board to the other, while the second player (the blocker) tries to immobilize the pawns by surrounding them or trapping them against the board edge using coins from other suits. Coins move like chess kings, only onto empty spaces, but the blocker may move up to four of them (one of each suit) on a turn. Pawns move like chess queens over or onto empty spaces and/or like-suited coins or over other pawns, but the runner may (and must) only move one pawn on each turn.

The rules are clearly written, one of the best text-only rulesets I've seen. Likewise, the appendix is brief but fully-functional. With 24 coins in play, Blockade is a real brain burner for the blocker. In fact, the blocker never won in any of our seven games. Yet, it was relatively easy to see the runner's best moves. There were some times when it felt like the blocker was just about to hem in the last pawn, but somehow the pawn always managed to escape. I'm not sure whether or not the authors had this experience during play testing, but it indicates that there might be some balance issues with the game, which is not uncommon in unequal forces games. One possible fix would be for players to bid for the right to play the runner by declaring how many moves they think it will take to get a pawn to the opposite edge of the board. If that many moves pass without getting a pawn home, the runner loses. Or maybe require the runner to get two runners home to win? Or limit the distance a runner can move to perhaps four spaces?

Conclusion: Blockade is a game that I really want to like, and I did enjoy playing, but it doesn't seem to be adequately balanced. Score: 23.12

-- ClarkRodeffer

Oct 19, 2004


BGG page:

CategoryGame MechanicAsymmetricCategory MechanicRectangularBoardCategory SpaceRestrictionCategory SpaceAttainmentCategory