List Price: $25.50
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This tactile wooden block game combines the logic and strategy of Set with the creative multi-maneuver game play of Scrabble. Easy-to-learn rules mean you'll be creating columns and rows of matching colors and shapes in no time! Look for opportunities to score big by placing a tile that touches multiple pieces and matches both shapes and colors; the player with the most points wins.
- 108 blocks
Average Rating: 3.6 in 5 reviews
Qwirkle is the latest winner of the Spiel des Jahres, a prestigious gaming award in Germany, and the most coveted award in the gaming industry. Quirkle is essentially an abstract game, and can best compared with Scrabble, but with colours and shapes instead of letters. If you enjoy games like Dominoes, Ingenious, Set, or Blokus, this tile-laying game will definitely appeal to you.
Gameplay in Qwirkle is speedy and smooth, and the rules are very easy and quick both to teach and to learn. Despite the simple rules, Qwirkle game-play has ample room for decision making and strategy. Qwirkle does have an element of luck-of-the-draw, and thoughts about this luck element depend will depend on your own perspective: hardcore gamers might find the luck element too much, but casual gamers will find the luck element just right. For most people there's just the right mix of skill and luck, and that's why strongly appeals to families and is accessible to a wide range of ages.
The wooden components are colourful, well produced, and good quality. The only draw-back is that the colours could pose a problem for the colour blind or in low light.
The bottom line: Qwirkle is an abstract Scrabble-like game with colours and shapes that has all the essential elements - great components, quick play time, ease of learning, and just the right blend of luck and strategy - to make it the perfect choice as a gateway game or family-friendly favorite with instant appeal for people of all ages.
The game features 108 wooden blocks, containing a mix of six colors and six shapes. To begin, each player draws six blocks. The starting player is the person who has the most blocks with a common characteristic -- for example, three blue blocks or three blocks with circles. You play those blocks, draw your hand back up to six blocks, and play continues.
The rules to placement are simple. Lines are created of shapes or color. Blocks that are added to that line must share the same characteristic as blocks already in place in line. So, a line of circles will not have a square in it. Another rule: A row where the common characteristic is color can only have one block of each of the six shapes. If the common characteristic is shape, you may only have one of each color.
Players build on the blocks lying on the table, Scrabble style. Scoring is simple: If there is a row of four blue blocks and you add a fifth block on your turn, you get five points. Points are awarded to how many blocks there are in the line -- not how many you place. And the person who places the sixth block in a row gets a six-point bonus. That means hand management is involved, because you may not want to place blocks which give your opponents the chance to score 12 points. If a block can score in two rows simultaneously, it gets points for both of those rows.
The game is addictive and pleasingly made. After only a couple of plays, it already has moved into the favorites category. The rules are quick and easy to explain, so there's no problem get newbies (or non-gamers or kids) up and playing competitively. Abstract strategy fans need to check this one out.
Qwirkle is an engaging and challenging game for all ages. There is intricate strategy involved when approached thoughtfully, but even young children can pick it up quickly. My 6-year-old son learned it rapidly, although he still claims to need a little help. He keeps up with adults' scores pretty well--and often wins. Some of the pieces (colored symbols printed on black blocks) are losing their colors, but this is not a major problem. We've played it a lot and expect a little wear and tear. Qwirkle is rooted in skill and luck of the draw.
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