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How to Play Tetris (2021) Board Game: Rules and Instructions

How to Play Tetris (2021) Board Game: Rules and Instructions

Note: This is for the 2021 board game version of Tetris designed by Phil Walker-Harding. There have been a number of other Tetris themed board games released over the years which play differently than this game. If you were interested in the 1989 version of the game, check out our review and how to play guide for the 1989 Tetris board game.

Objective of Tetris 2021

The objective of the 2021 Tetris board game is to score the most points by placing Tetriminos into your gameboard.

Setup for Tetris 2021

  • Sort each of the Tetrimino and Mino playing pieces by their shape/color.
  • Place the game board in the middle of the play area.
  • Separate the Tetris cards from the Achievement cards. Shuffle all of the Tetris cards together. Randomly select one of the Tetris cards and return it to the box without looking at it.
  • Place the remaining Tetris cards on the Next space on the game board. Place the cards so you can see the Tetrimino on the cards. This is the draw pile for the game.
  • Find the “6 completed rows” Achievement card and place it near the game board. Return the rest of the Achievement cards to the box. If you decide to use the Advanced rules, see the corresponding section below for details on how to use the Achievement cards.
  • Each player takes a Tower and a Base. Choose which side of the Tower you want to make the top and bottom. Insert the Tower into the Base and push down on it until it is snug against the Base. You should place the Tower in front of you where the bonus icons are behind the matrix.
  • Each player takes one Player Token of their chosen color and puts it next to their Tower. Each player should choose a different color. Any unused Player Tokens are returned to the box.
  • All of the players will take one Mino (single square pieces), and places it next to their tower.
Setup for the 2021 board game of Tetris

Playing the 2021 Tetris Board Game

You will play Tetris 2021 in a series of rounds. All of the players will play each round at the same time.

Each round consists of three phases.

  1. Draw a new Tetris card for the round.
  2. Play a Tetrimino
  3. Check if players have completed an achievement.

Once these three phases are complete, the current round ends. Unless the game has ended another round will be played.

Drawing A New Tetris Card

To begin each round you will take the top card from the Next pile and move it to the Play side of the game board. You will place this new card on top of any other cards already on the Play space.

The card on top of the Play space will be used this round. The card on top of the Next space will be the card for the next round.

Tetris card to be used in current round
For this round all of the players will have to add a yellow Tetrimino to their Tower.

Play a Tetrimino

Once the Tetris card has been chosen for the round, all of the player collect a Tetrimino that matches the one pictured on the card for the round.

At the same time all of the players will drop their Tetrimino into their Tower. When you let go of the piece it will slide down the tower until it meets another piece which will stop it.

Playing a piece to the Tower
This player has played the yellow piece to their Tower.

Placement Rules

When choosing where to place the piece you can choose any open space on your Tower. A couple rules need to be followed when choosing how you want to place your piece.

  • You can rotate and play the Tetrimino in any direction.
Rotating a piece in Tetris 2021
The green piece can be rotated in any direction before you play it. This picture shows three different ways you can insert the piece into your Tower.
  • You cannot flip over the Tetriminos to the opposite direction. A Tetrimino won’t fit in the Tower if you try to place it the wrong way.
  • If any part of the Tetrimino would end up above the top of the Tower, you need to find a different location to place the piece or you need to turn it a different way. 
Piece above the top of the Tower in Tetris 2021
This purple piece was placed incorrectly since it extends past the top of the Tower. You would have to place it in a different position in your Tower.
  • If there are no legal placements for the Tetrimino, you are out for the rest of the game. You will wait until the game ends to determine your final score and see if you won the game.

Once per game you may choose to keep/hold the Tetrimino from the current round. Instead of playing the piece, you will keep it next to your Tower. This Tetrimino stays next to your Tower for the rest of the game.

Playing Minos

Throughout the game you will acquire Minos (one square tiles).

Before you play the Tetrimino from the current round, you may choose to play one or more of your Minos to your Tower. You will drop them into the tower like the Tetriminos. You may play Minos in any column and they do not need to touch the Tetrimino that you will play later in the round. All the Minos you want to play on your turn must be played before the Tetrimino though.

Playing a Mino in Tetris 2021
This player has decided to play one of their Minos to the Tower.

If you choose to hold your Tetrimino this round (you don’t play it), you cannot play any Minos this round either.

Bonus Icons

Printed on your Tower are a number of symbols. Each of these symbols correspond to one of the pieces in the game.

If you place a piece in your Tower and it covers up a symbol that matches its type, you will receive one bonus point at the end of the game.

Playing a tile that matches a Bonus Icon
This player has played a purple piece that covers up a matching Bonus Icon. This player will score a bonus point at the end of the game.

If a piece covers up a black/gray square icon, you will take a Mino from the center of the play area and place it next to your Tower. On a future turn you can add the Mino to your Tower.

Earning a Mino in Tetris 2021
This player has played the light blue tile that has covered up one of the Mino symbols. This player will take a Mino tile which they can use on a future turn.

Check for Achievement

After everyone has played their Tetrimino, the players will check to see if anyone has completed the Achievement card in the middle of the table. In the normal game this will be the complete six rows in your Tower card.

To complete this Achievement card, you need to completely fill in six rows in your Tower. This means that every space in the row is covered by a tile that you played.

Completing Six Rows in Tetris 2021
This player has completely filled in six rows in their Tower. They completed the bottom four rows, the sixth row, and the eighth row. They have completed the six row Achievement card.

When a player completes the Achievement card they will tell the other players. They will then place their Player Token next to the highest level that has yet to be claimed. For example if a player has already claimed the highest level, they will place their Player Token next to the second level.

Completing an Achievement card in the 2021 Tetris Board Game
The orange player was the first to complete six rows. They will place their Player Token next to the top row. The next player to finish the Achievement card places their token next to the second row.

If multiple players complete the Achievement card in the same round, all of the players will place their Player Token on the same level.

If there are only two players, ignore the top level on the Achievement card. The first player to complete the Achievement places their Player Token on the second level. The other player would then put their token on the third level once they complete the Achievement.

In four player games only the first three players to complete the Achievement score points from it.

End of Tetris 2021

The 2021 Tetris board game can end in one of two ways.

The game can end when all of the Tetris cards have been used in a round. Otherwise the game could end if all of the players can no longer legally add pieces to their Tower.

Scoring Points in Tetris 2021

To determine the winner, all of the players will calculate how many points they scored during the game. You can score points in three different ways.

First you will score two points for each row that you completely fill in. To score points for a row, you need to cover each space with a tile.

Scoring rows in Tetris 2021
At the end of the game this player has completed the following rows: 1-4, 6, 8, and 10-13. As they have completely filled in ten rows, they will score 20 points from those rows.

Next you will score one point for each bonus icon that you cover up with the matching Tetrimino.

Scoring Bonus Icons
During the game this player covered the following bonus icons with their corresponding piece: the blue piece at the bottom, the purple piece on the left side towards the bottom, the light blue piece in the middle, the green piece on the left side, and the light blue piece in the middle towards the top. This player scores five points from bonus icons.

Finally you will score points based on when you finished the Achievement card. Look where you placed your Player Token next to the Achievement card. You will score the corresponding number of points.

Scoring an Achievement Card in Tetris 2021
At least three players completed this Achievement card during the game. The orange player completed it first so they will score seven points from it. The green player scores four points for completing it second. Finally the purple player scores one point from the card.

The player that scores the most points, wins Tetris 2021.

If there is a tie, the player who completely filled in the most rows wins the game. If there is still a tie, the tied players share the victory.

Advanced Tetris 2021 Game

To add a little more challenge to the 2021 Tetris board game, you can choose to play the Advanced Game. The gameplay is mostly the same with a couple of changes.

During setup all of the players will choose a color and take both Player Tokens of the color.

Shuffle all of the Achievement cards and randomly choose two of them that will be used during the game. Place these two cards face up on the table. Return the rest of the Achievement cards to the box.

When checking to see if players completed the Achievements, you will check both Achievements for each player. You may only place your Player Token once on each Achievement card, but you can play one token to each card.

At the end of the game you can score points for both Achievements if you complete them.

In two player games the first player to complete each Achievement places their Player Token on the second level.

Tetris 2021 Achievement Cards

Here is a guide to the Achievement cards in the 2021 Tetris board game.

Complete Tetris Line Clear Achievement Card

Complete a Tetris Line Clear

This Achievement requires a player to place a light blue I Tetrimino vertically into their Tower. When they place the Tetrimino it needs to fully complete four rows (no gaps in the rows). You may play a Mino(s) on your turn, but the I Tetrimino must complete all four rows to complete the Achievement.

Six Complete Rows Achievement Card

6 Complete Rows

At the end of a round you need to have six rows completely filled in with tiles (no gaps). The six rows can be anywhere on your Tower and don’t have to touch one another.

Complete Three Rows in One Turn Achievement Card

Complete 3 Rows in 1 Turn

To complete their Achievement you need to use either the orange L or blue J Tetrimino. You must place the piece where it fully completes three different rows (no gaps). You can place a Mino(s) on your turn, but the Tetrimino must finish all three rows.

Complete Two Rows in One Turn Achievement Card

Complete 2 Rows in 1 Turn

For this Achievement you need to play the yellow O Tetrimino where it fully completes two rows (no gaps). You can use a Mino(s) on your turn, but the yellow O must complete two rows.

Each Tetrimino Type Touching One Side Achievement Card

Each Tetrimino Type Touching 1 Side of the Matrix

At the end of the round check the left and right side of your Tower. If all seven types of Tetrimino touch at least one square on one of the sides of your Tower, you complete the Achievement. For example all seven types of Tetriminos touch the left side of the Tower. Minos do not count towards seven different Tetriminos touching the side.

One Complete Column Achievement Card

1 Complete Column

To complete this Achievement you need to completely fill in a vertical column. Each square in the column needs to be filled in with no gaps. No Tetrimino may go above the top of the Tower either.

Five Bonus Icons Achievement Card

5 Bonus Icons

This Achievement requires you to cover up at least five bonus icons with the matching Tetrimino.

Four Diamond Icons Achievement Card

4 Diamond Icons

Check at the end of the round if you have covered up all four diamond icons. You can use Tetriminos and/or Minos to cover up the diamonds.

Four Pairs of Matching Tetriminos Achievement Card

4 Pairs of Matching Tetriminos

At the end of the round check to see if you have two of the same type of Tetrimino touching. If two Tetriminos of the same type are touching by at least one square (not diagonally) you have created a pair. You need to create four pairs to complete this Achievement.

Connect Orange and Blue Tetriminos Achievement Card

Connect 4 Orange L or Blue J Tetriminos

For this Achievement you need to connect four orange L and/or blue J Tetriminos. Each of the Tetriminos have to touch where at least one block is adjacent (not diagonal). If you connect four L and/or J Tetriminos together, you have completed the Achievement.

Connect Red and Green Tetrimino Achievement Card

Connect 4 Red Z or Green S Tetriminos

To complete this Achievement you need to connect four red Z and/or green S Tetriminos together. Each of the four Tetriminos need to touch where at least one square is adjacent (not diagonally).

Connect Light Blue and Yellow Tetriminos Achievement Card

Connect 4 Light Blue I or Yellow O Tetriminos

This Achievement requires you to connect four light blue I and/or yellow O Tetriminos. They must connect by at least one square (not diagonally).

Tetris 2021 FAQs

If you have any questions about how to play Tetris 2021, leave a comment below on this post. I will try to answer any questions asked as best and as quickly as possible.

Components for Tetris 2021

Components for 2021 Tetris Board Game

  • 112 Tetriminos (16 tiles of 7 different colors)
  • 24 Minos
  • 4 Matrix Towers
  • 4 Bases
  • Game Board
  • 12 Achievement Cards
  • 28 Tetris Cards
  • 8 Player Tokens
  • Instructions

Year: 2021 | Publisher: Buffalo Games | Designer: Phil Walker-Harding

Genres: Family, Puzzle, Tile Placement

Ages: 8+ | Number of Players: 2-4 | Length of Game: 20-30 minutes

Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Light-Moderate | Luck: Light-Moderate

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