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Last update: 3rd August 2018
Earlier this week Tombola launched their brand new bingo game Blocks. Not to be confused with Blox Bingo at Gamesys which is just 90 ball bingo with a feature round, Blocks is a genuinely new concept in bingo.
Blocks has much in common with Tombola’s earlier game Pulse:
Blocks is played in six differently themed rooms which run games and chat independently of each other (apart from in the middle of the night when they link together for a few hours). There is no cap on the number of players that can join each room (unlike the Pulse rooms) and such has been the excitement over the new game that for now at least, each typically has hundreds of players.
On entering a Blocks bingo room, the first thing that the player must do is choose which stake level to play at – 10p, 25p, 50p, £1 or £2. The prizes vary according to the stake level chosen -so a £2 player has exactly the same chance of winning as a 10p player, but if they do win, they win 20 times as much.
Blocks has 60 balls – or Blocks – that come in 6 different colours, and which number is which colour changes from game to game. The game is played with a wall of 36 blocks (6 x 6). Each player’s wall includes 6 Blocks of each colour and there are further placement rules reminiscent of a 75 ball bingo card. The Blocks in each column are in numerical order, top to bottom and the first column only contains numbers starting in 0, the second column in 1 and so on up until the 6th column which contains only numbers in the range 50-60. When a Block is called, it is destroyed and if there are other blocks above it they drop down to fill the empty space (a bit like the Avalanche feature in Gonzo’s Quest).
The aim of the game is not to knock down the wall completely, but to destroy all 6 Blocks of any one colour. The first player to do this wins the Blocks prize and this typically takes 20+ calls. The top jackpot (for 8 calls or fewer) is 10,000x stake – so will appear as £1000 for a 10p player and £20,000 for a £2 player. There’s a second tier jackpot of 1000x stake for 9 or 10 calls. A few days after launch, the £20,000 jackpot has already been won once and smaller jackpots, around 50 times.
Blocks has a secondary prize (slightly more than 1/3rd the value of the Blocks prize) for the highest score; points are given for groups of adjacent blocks of the same colour. When the card is generated points are given for blocks which are adjacent at the start of the game, and as the game plays points are given for any blocks that end up next to each other for the first time as a result of dropping down. Winning scores tend to be 500+ points.
Player reaction to Blocks has been somewhat mixed – it has been clear from the chat that some players find the game difficult to understand and (as always in very busy bingo rooms with hundreds of players) others have been complaining that it is too hard to win. It is equally clear, though, from the sheer numbers of players in the rooms (and the upping of the number of rooms to 6 from the 4 originally planned and referred to in the game help file) that many people and enjoying this new bingo game and are playing again and again. As it is possible to buy in to a Blocks game for just 10p and have the same chance of winning as everyone else does, even though the games are over quite quickly there’s a lot of entertainment value to be had relatively cheaply.