Dice. One of the simplest and most basic of game components. It's used in games, but it's not often used as a game. At least not well. *cough*LCR*cough* So you'll understand my skepticism when I heard about Qwixx--a simple dice game that was nominated for last year's Spiel des Jahres award. Was that skepticism unfounded? Let's find out.
6 standard 6-sided dice: 2 white, 1 blue, 1 yellow, 1 green, and 1 red.
1 double-sided score pad
1 box (Normally I wouldn't bother to mention the box, but Gamewright's new edition has a flip top with a magnetic "latch" on it. It's very nice, and makes it even more portable than before, as you won't have to worry about it opening up and spilling everywhere.)
Each person grabs a pen and one sheet from the score pad, and then you choose a start player. Easy, innit?!
Before we did into gameplay, I need to explain the scorepad, since that’s where the game really happens. As you can see from the image, the numbers move from left to right, with red and yellow going from 2 to 12, and green and blue going from 12 to 2. As the game progresses, you’ll be crossing off these numbers. The kicker in this game is that once you cross off a number, you can only move to the right to cross off subsequent numbers. So if you start with a yellow 4, say, you’ll never be able to go back and cross off 2 and 3. You can always skip numbers, too, so you could cross off 4, and then 6 in a later turn—but you’re never crossing off that 5.
On a person’s turn, he or she rolls all of the dice, and announces the sum of the two white dice aloud (or everyone can simply look at those dice…). Everyone in the game can then take that number as a “wild” color and cross off the corresponding number in any available color. It’s completely optional. Then the active player can choose one of the white die and pair it with one of the colored die to create a “color number” he or she can use to cross off on the sheet. So the active player will be able to cross off up to two numbers, and each other player will have the option to cross off one number.
If you are unable—or unwilling—to cross off at least one number on your turn, you have to check one of the four boxes on the lower right of the core sheet. These are Failure boxes, and are each worth -5 points at the end of the game.
If you have at least five numbers already crossed off in a color, you are allowed—any time you roll the correct number–to cross off the rightmost number, and then the lock symbol next to it. This locks that color, and you remove the corresponding color die from the game. The game continues until either two of the colors are locked, or one person fills in all four of their Failure boxes, in which case the game ends immediately.
The scoring is based on how many numbers you’ve crossed off in each color, not the value of the numbers. One is worth 1Vp, two is worth 2 VPs, three is worth 6, four is worth 10, and so on… The locks at the end of the lines count as a number when determining how many you've scored. You add up the positive, subtract five for each Failure, and the winner is the person with the highest score!
Look, there aren’t huge, strategic decisions to be made here. It’s a filler, and a family game—that’s why it was up for the Family Game of the Year Award! I like that there’s something to do on everyone’s turn—and that the decision on other people’s turns is actually important. You can just blindly cross off the number on your pad that matches what was just rolled. But will that limit you when it’s your turn, and force you to possibly take a Failure? Small decisions, but decisions nonetheless. Yes, it has dice and luck, but it manages the luck in an interesting way.
My family likes the game quite a bit—even my wife! The boys especially love rolling the dice into my dice tower. The 6-year-old still needs some help making decisions about whether to cross something off, but he’s still able to play just fine. And after one game he knew how to start counting up his score and putting the correct number in the correct box.
My gamer friends liked it, too—even the ones who hate dice! It’s a filler game that’s truly filler length; this will be in my game tub for a long, long time.
Gamewright's new edition comes with a double-sided scorepad, which is twice as many sheets as the 1st edition came with. Gamewright also sells additional scorepads on their Web site. Or you could just laminate a few sheets and keep those in the box.
The Final Verdict
Qwixx is a great game! This has been a hit with every group I’ve played it with, and would work with any group: kids, family, youth group, nongamers, and gamers. It’s very cheap, and there’s no reason not to have a copy of this at every game night.
Theology of Games would like to thank Gamewright for providing a review copy of Qwixx. This in no way affected my opinion of the game.
Thanks for reading!
Title - Qwixx
Designer - Steffen Benndorf
Publisher - Gamewright
Number of players - 2-5
Ages - 8 and up (That's mostly accurate, though I've played this with my 6-year-old--and a little help.)
Play time - 15 Minutes (That's accurate.)
Category/Genre - Dice-rolling
- Easy to teach.
- Nongamer friendly.
- Very portable.
- Good way to teach risk vs. reward to kids.
- It keeps all players involved all of the time.
- You can make decisions, but you're still at the mercy of the dice.
Youth Group? Maybe! Might be good for a small group.
- Gamers? Yes! It's a fun filler, though they may tire of it since it's rather light.
- Nongamers? Yes! This game is completely approachable.
* Firestone: 7.5
A fast and fun filler that does some clever things with six simple dice.