Thursday, May 31, 2012

Every 100 Games Series - Qwirkle

My 3,100th game played was Qwirkle. Well, to be exact it was something like 3,098, but since I’d already reviewed Invasion, I went with Qwirkle. A couple thoughts I’ve just had. First, I should really finish my Geeklist that shows all these “Every 100 Games Series” reviews. Second, I should come up with a standard starting paragraph, now that I’m 31 reviews in.

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My First Experience
My first and only play of Qwirkle came at the end of the 2012 Regional Warhammer: Invasion tournament. We were waiting on the tourney to end and so a few of us who had been eliminated, picked the game up, learned the rules and played. Since then I’ve downloaded Mind Feud on the iOS, which is essentially Qwirkle plus some double & triple scoring similar to Scrabble. So my plays of the game are somewhere closer to 12 or 13 if you count Mind Feud.

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The Components
The game comes in a smaller white box, with a bag, and nice chunky wooden black pieces. There is no board, which I really like, so you just lay your tiles out on the table. These tiles probably should be called blocks instead of tiles. They are really thick, so thick in fact you can just set them on edge and display them in front of you, so that you do not even need a tile display that might come in a game like Scrabble or Rummikub. Each of these tiles has 1 of 6 different types of images that are in 1 of 6 colors. I believe there are three of each tile, so you have 108 different tiles. 

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The Game Play
On their turn a player can do one of 2 things. They can trade out any number of tiles from their hand (which consists of 6 tiles) for that many tiles from the bag or they can play tiles. When a player plays tiles they have to be the played so they attach to a column or row that is already in play (think Scrabble here). They can play as many tiles as they’d like, but they all have to share either the same color or same shape.  When adding to the board, you cannot ever have the same shape & color appear twice in a row or column of six. So in other words, there cannot be two green circles in a single row or column. Players then score 1 point for each tile in a row or column they added to. If, they put the 6th tile in a row, then they get a “Qwirkle” which is worth an additional 6 points. At the end of their turn, the player draws back up to 6 tiles in their hand. The game ends when 1 person runs out of tiles and can’t draw anymore. That person gets a bonus 6 points.

What I Think
I was pleasantly surprised by this game. I knew that it had recently won the German Game of the Year award, despite being an American designed game from 2006. I also had some friends that had recommended to me. I figured I wouldn’t like it so much, with it being so much like Scrabble, if you hadn’t already gathered that from this review. However, I DO like it. The reason I like it much more than I like Scrabble are two fold. First, as I already mentioned, there is no board. You just build how you see fit. The added “board” in the iOS version actually is a detriment I think. The second reason and the biggest is that I don’t have to know some crazy, unheard of, and unique word that uses a “Q” & “Z” that lands on a triple score. I just make plays and try not to set my opponent up to make plays. But if I do set them up, at least they aren’t score a bajillion more points that I will be able to my next turn. I heartily recommend Qwirkle to any person, gamer or non-gamer, because I think it’ll go over well with family with young kids, gamers looking for a 30 minute experience, or old Aunt Milly who you can’t ever beat at Scrabble because she knew the word “quixotry”. I don’t even know what that means or want too.

Okay, if you look it up and want to tell me, I’d listen.

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