First off, I have to admit that one of Betta’s biggest draws for me was the theme. I like betta fish and we’ve owned more than one over the years. (Not at the same time, of course. The little colorful thugs will literally murder each other)
Second, I’ve only played it on Board Game Arena. Since it depends on transparent cards/tiles, I have no idea how well it physically works. (I had assumed that it was transparent cards like Gloom. Looking at pictures, it looks like the empty spaces are just cut out, making floppy cards. I really don’t like that)
The theme behind Betta is that you are creating a betta display at a pet store. What you are actually doing is rearranging three-by-three grids with images of different colored betta fish.
Each card or tile is a three-by-three grid with mostly empty spaces and two to three different colored fish. At the start of the game, pattern cards are randomly drawn. You are layering cards to try and duplicate the patterns. You get points for both duplicating patterns and for your largest group of fish per pattern at the end.
It’s not bad but around the same time as I learned Betta, I learned Shifting Stones, another pattern/puzzle game. And Shifting Stones is better than Betta in almost every level. You have more control and make more deliberate changes in Shifting Stones.
The decisions in Betta feel simple and (thanks to luck of the draw) limited. I feel like I can make plans for the long game but then depend on luck for anything beyond two moves to work.
Betta’s biggest draw for me is the fact that I can casually play it online. That and I like the images of betta males. (Those are ones with the colorful, feathery fins) And I have to admit that that is enough for me to occasionally play it.
But unless I was talking to someone who really loved fish, I’d recommend another game.