50 Games in 50 Weeks: Qwirkle Cubes

May 20 2013

Qwirkle Cubes (Schmidt Spiele)Qwirkle Cubes combines Scrabble with dice.

The game comes with 90 six-sided dice. You draw a “hand” of six dice, which you roll immediately upon drawing. The first player places a set of dice in the middle of the game to form the “grid.”

Play then proceeds in turns, with players adding dice to the grid, getting points for each die added of the same color in a row or column, and additional points for completing a row with all the available symbols. That’s a little complicated to keep track of in play, but one gets used to it.

Unlike in Scrabble, all players can see all the players’ hands at all times. This allows you to plan according to how you think your opponents will play their dice.

So, while there is a random element to the game, the game quickly evolves into a strategic conflict as you build out rows and try to block your opponents.

The only complexity comes in remembering the rules governing which symbols and colors you can add to a row or column on the grid. While these rules aren’t complicated, I made several illegal moves in my first game due to my confusion. Even by the end of the game (each lasts for 20–30 minutes), I felt unsure I fully grasped those rules.

But overall, it’s a game suitable for kids and adults, that provides sufficient strategic complexity to challenge experienced adults.

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