Growing up we played a lot of Tetris always enjoying trying to figure out how to make those shapes work for you to get high score. Recently there has been a slew of games released that feel a little bit like lining up the blocks from Tetris. Barenpark is currently my favorite but if you enjoy Barenpark you should definitely try out Patchwork, Feast for Odin, and Cottage Garden. They all take the system to a different place but you are always trying to make piece fit on the board.
Barenpark is simple enough you simply place one of your pieces on the board each turn. You want to do so in a way that gets you the most points. The strategy comes from figuring out where to place those pieces on the board(s) that you have. Covering certain spaces will get new territory to build on or they might get you new and exciting buildings to place on future turns. Some of the best buildings are of course more oddly shaped than others.
One of the high point values you can get in the game is from completing a tile for all but the one space on each tile you can’t build on. Once you do that you grab the highest score tile remaining and place it on that board. Since they are in descending order there is a desire to get those boards filled up fast. But sometimes you can make up the points you lose from waiting by building some exciting buildings. So there are always choices!
Once you have played the game a few times you can break out the goal cards which add even more things to think about as you are building out your bear park. They will often give points to the person who builds the most of a certain type of tile. So then there is a race both to get those tiles but to also find a way to get them onto the board.
Barenpark is probably the simplest of the tile placement games that remind us of tetris. Although all of the games I mentioned earlier are tons of fun. This is just easily my first recommendation out of that set. It is easy to explain and play and has some wonderful art. It is so great it almost worked its way onto the top 50 of all of our games but #55 is nothing to be sad about either!