Blueprints Review


The world of architecture is highly competitive and sometimes very intense! Current trends in cubism have had a heavy influence on the construction industry, and there is a big demand for new Blueprints to satisfy the world’s need for ever more indoor space. You, an aspiring architect, seek to design new award winning buildings that will make your name big in the industry, and also make you forever remembered as a master Blueprints producer!

2-4 Players | 30 Minutes | Designed by Yves Tourigny

Blueprints was published in 2013 by Z-Man games. It was nominated for the 2013 BoardGameGeek Best Abstract game award. Despite this went largely unnoticed at its release and over the past few years. Nevertheless it has been in print and available since 2013. It is one of the few designs from Yves Tourigny.

Finished structures ready for appraisal

How does it work?

Blueprints is a dice drafting and placement game. The game is played over 3 identical rounds, with each player constructing a building from dice in each. Once complete, they score it and receive awards for the round. At the end of the game, the player with the most ‘award points’ is the winner!

A round of Blueprints begins with each player receiving a blueprints card, which specifies the recommended structure they should build. They hide this card behind their screen, and then 6 starting dice are drawn from the bag and rolled, forming the draft pool. On their turn, a player will select one of these dice (there are four colours) and add it to their structure. There are a few simple placement rules for the dice. They must be placed on a valid spot on the blueprint card,  and you can never place a lower numbered dice on top of another dice – a stacked die must have a face value equal to or greater than the one below it.

After each player has drafted 6 dice and added them to their structures, players reveal their constructions and scoring is performed. Each type of dice has a different scoring condition, i.e. black dice score more for being higher up, and glass dice score their face value. The player who wins the round gets a ‘gold’ award, and other special awards are given out to players who satisfy the bonus conditions (e.g. 4 of the same number, 5 of the same colour dice etc).

After three rounds, whomever has received the highest value sum of awards is crowned the greatest architect in the city!

Awards and Blueprints

What do I think?

Blueprints is a light and quick game. I’ve owned it for about 4 years now and I still pull it out regularly to play a quick game, usually with newer players. It is always very well received. Most of my ‘bad stuff’ comments below really boil down to my preferences for less randomness in games, but as a light game these concerns should be taken lightly too.

The Good Stuff

  • Blueprints employs an innovative implementation of drafting, in using dice. Decisions are granular but each one carries weight and consequence, and restricts your future choices and decisions.
  • The building of structures is quite thematic – using dice as blocks to complete structures makes thematic sense and is quite fun.
  • The game is very quick to teach, and quick to play. The rulebook is well laid out and presented.
  • The three round structure helps newer players learn the game over the first round and play to their full potential over the next two.
  • The player aids on the back of the screens are very useful.
  • There are many options for playstyle. I really like how you can more or less ignore the ‘core’ of the game and go off trying to score big on the awards if you want to. It feels much more like you play the game your own way than other similar games which feel more restricted.
  • Compact box, but with good quality and size components.

The Bad Stuff

  • The scoring system is a bit confusing. ’round points’ and ‘game points’ (awards) are easily confused by newer players.
  • You can put a lot of effort into fulfilling your blueprint and ‘winning’ the round, but ultimately people who specifically ignore that and target awards can end up with more points than you from these. I feel the awards could have been tweaked so that you could only get them if you ‘qualified’ by fulfilling your blueprint. As they stand they don’t entirely make sense: “Here’s the building you asked for” “It looks totally different to what I wanted – here’s an award!”.
  • Almost certainly there will be several times in the game where you have no option but to take something terrible for your strategy. Of course this is part of the fun but it can get a bit annoying.
  • I’m not sure about the hidden building part of the game. On one hand it leaves the final outcome of a round as a bit of a surprise. On the other hand it limits player interaction. Playing without the screen could add some fun and interesting blocking move potential.
  • The dice rolls are random and the selection pool is limited enough that in some cases you simply cannot mitigate randomness, you can lose because of bad rolls.
The lovely dice!

I think Blueprints is a fantastic game that somehow missed out on getting big. It’s simple, elegant and really fun to play. It’s one of the quickest games to teach, and playing it you end up having to make agonising decisions that have ramifications for the rest of the round. It’s one of my favourite light games and I highly recommend it – if you see it at your local store pick it up and give it a go!


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