Dale Yu: Review of Katamino Pocket

Katamino Pocket

  • Designer: André Perriolat
  • Publisher: Gigamic
  • Players: 1
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 2-3 minutes per level?
  • Played with review copy provided by publisher (Hachette USA)

katamino pocket

Katamino Pocket is a portable version of a well known solitaire game, unsurprisingly enough called Katamino.  In the game, you have 12 pentominos that you use to fill in particular areas on the board. If you have seen some older versions of the game – this may be a bit different.  The original versions only had 10 pentominos instead of the 12 in this set…

The board itself is made up of 12 columns, each being 5 units tall.  You will use a bar to designate the solving area for a puzzle, and then you will try to arrange the designated pentominos into the area so that all the spaces are filled.  You are allowed to rotate and flip them as you wish – some of the pieces have chirality.   As each pentomino has an area of 5 units, you’ll always have a number of pieces equal to the number of columns!  One of the pieces is a 1×5 piece, and the rules do make clear that this piece must always lie across the columns of the solving area.

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There is a booklet which provides you with a number of different challenges.  For the most part, they start with a smaller number of pentominos, and you add one new shape to the mix with each successive step.  Of course, you’ll always have to re-arrange all the pieces each time that you add a new pentomino to the existing crew!

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While the main Katamino version is a beautifully produced wood set; I requested the pocket version as I thought this would be great to have for travel.  And, it meets all my expectations for that.   The game comes in a plastic case, with room for all the pentominos on the grid.  Below the playing surface is a pull-out drawer, which easily holds the rules and divider piece.  As an additional bonus, it can hold unused pentominos while you play.

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So, if you’re in a car, plane or train, you can hold the whole case in your hand, putting only the pieces you need to solve the particular puzzle on the board, and keep the unused ones in the drawer.  When you finish a level, you can pull out the piece you need for the next level and continue on.

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So far, I’ve spent about 2 hours with this – and it’s been a nice way to while away some travel time and airport layovers.  I supposed if you wanted to be competitive, you could time yourself doing a particular challenge and see if you could beat your time (or that of another player) – but for the most part, I just enjoy the solitary activity of arranging and re-arranging the bits to fit into the allotted space.   I would highly recommend this as an activity to occupy yourself or maybe a child while traveling.  If you’re looking for a great conversation piece for your coffee table, I would probably suggest the full blown wooden version instead.

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Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it! Dale Y
  • I like it.
  • Neutral.
  • Not for me…

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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