Reviewed by: Herb Levy
(Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag, 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, about 15 minutes; about $10)
Dice are one of those game components that are game constants; you see them almost everywhere. But after years and years of taking them for granted, the attraction that gamers have for dice can wane until dice can often be, well, boring. And that’s why, when a game manages to give some excitement to the roll of the dice, that’s a game worth talking about. And that brings us to Qwixx.
Qwixx, designed by Steffan Benndorf, comes in a small box just barely big enough to hold six dice, score sheets and rules. (You have to provide your own pencils.) The dice are your standard six-siders, two in white with one each in red, yellow, green and blue. It’s how these dice are used that give the game its character.
Everyone gets a score sheet. The sheet displays four rows of numbers in red, yellow, green and blue (matching the colors of the colored dice). The red and yellow rows run from 2 to 12; the green and blue rows run from 12 to 2. The challenge is to get as many numbers as you can in each row to score the most points. And this is how you do it.
The active player rolls all six dice. The number rolled on the white dice (for example, let’s say a 4 and a 2 are rolled making a 6) is available for ALL players to use. So everyone can mark off the number 6 on ANY of the colored rows. Now, the active player – and ONLY the active player – may take ONE of the colored dice and add to its number ONE of the numbers on either of the white dice. (To continue our example, let’s say the yellow die reads 1. The active player may add the white 2 rolled to that number and cross off 3 on the yellow row.) Play then passes to the next player in clockwise order and we repeat. Easy, right? Well, it’s not quite THAT easy!
You see the problem here is that once you mark a number on a row, you may NOT mark off any numbers to the LEFT of that number. If I marked the number 6 in the red column, for example, that means I man NOT cross off 2, 3, 4, or 5 on a subsequent turn. Getting numbers crossed off is important for several reasons. First, the more numbers crossed off in a row, the more points that row is worth when scoring is done. Second, if you have managed to cross off at least five numbers in a row, you may “lock” that row. Locking a row means rolling a 12 or a 2 (depending on the color row) which means that you get now cross off the final number in a row, get credit for an extra number crossed off in that row (two for the price of one in a sense) AND that color is now out of play and no one may add to their score on that row.
As the game progresses, it will become more difficult to cross off a number since the numbers available to be crossed will diminish (and you can’t cross off the same number twice). If the active player is unable to cross off a number, either by using the pair of white dice or a colored die/white die combo, he must mark that missed roll on his score sheet. When two rows are locked or when someone notches four misses on their score sheet, the game immediately ends and points are tallied.
Each row will score based on the amount of numbers crossed out, from a measly 1 point for 1 crossed out number to a massive 78 points if you have somehow managed to cross out ALL the numbers in a row. You deduct 5 points for each miss you have recorded. High score wins!
The clever design touch to the game is the way number runs are handled. Two rows go from 2 through 12 while the two others go from 12 to 2. This makes those very high and very low numbers valuable as crossing off one of these at the start of the game gives you room to accumulate cross-offs (and high scores). Ironically, the numbers that will come up more frequently (6s, 7s and 8s) can be a problem at the start as they, literally, cut your potential point scoring abilities in half! (Later in the game, of course, these numbers are just what you want.) This blend of rolled numbers with scoring opportunities give the game its decision making quality. Quixx is listed as for 2 to 5 players. Although, theoretically, an unlimited number can play, the dual option (using the white dice and a white die/colored die combination) gives the active player an advantage so four or less seems to be the best way to go. On the other hand, the game can also be played solo as you try to best your personal high score.
Qwixx has the qualities of both a perfect family game and ideal filler – easy to learn, quick to play – and uses the familiar components of dice in a colorful and satisfying way. Colorful + quality + quick + cute = Quixx. It all adds up!
Summer 2013 GA Report Articles
Reviewed by: Kevin Whitmore (Rio Grande Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes, $34.99)
The year is 2097, the world is swathed in ice. Civilization has been swept aside, leaving few survivors who must band together for mutual defense and the quest for food. Tribes compete for limited resources, and only the biggest tribe will reign… It’s a bleak future that ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Hurrican, 2 to 6 players, ages 8 and up; about 30 minutes; $39.99)
With the death of Julius Caesar, Octavius, his adopted son, rose to power. In 27 BC, Octavius was awarded the title of Augustus and soon became the first Roman Emperor: Augustus Caesar. Players, in the role of representatives of the Emperor, compete to gather Senators to their side, ...Read More
Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Alea/Ravensburger, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 90+ minutes; $59.99)
Stefan Feld has developed quite the reputation for designing highly intricate games that contain a multitude of mechanisms, many of which are original and very clever. His designs are typically aimed at the strategy gamer rather than the family market. As such, dedicated gamers usually eagerly anticipate his ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Ravensburger, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 30-45 minutes; $39.99)
Subtitled "a Strategic Construction Game", Casa Grande lives up to its name as players compete to build as many structures as they can in a relatively small area where the sky is the limit! Casa Grande, a Günter Burkhardt design, comes with building blocks, building platforms and player markers ...Read More
Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 13 and up, 60 minutes; $54.95)
Cinque Terre is a "pick up and deliver" game, designed by Chris Handy, challenging players to pick up and deliver produce to five scenic villages on the Italian Coast. The person who has generated the most points by the end of the game wins. Each player starts with a ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Mayfair Games, 3-5 players, ages 12 and up, 75-100 minutes; $35)
In the mid 19th Century era of power politics in New York City, the Five Points area of Manhattan was known for crime, gangs and political corruption. Against this background, Andreas Steding has designed a game placing players into the heart of the struggle, competing to control neighborhoods and install ...Read More
[This issue features an analytic look at Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar by Joe Huber. To better understand Joe's "balancing act", it might be a good idea to refresh your memory of how the game works. Towards that end, we've "flashbacked" to the review of the game as it appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of Gamers Alliance Report.] Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Czech Games Edition/Rio ...
[In this issue, we welcome Derek Croxton. Derek remembers when putting "dice" in a game title was only done sarcastically, as when referring to Avalon Hill's War at Sea game as "Dice at Sea". He got into the hobby via Dungeons & Dragons but quickly moved on to Titan and wargames. Like many gamers of a certain age, he has found his time too limited ...
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (R&R Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 14 and up, 60 minutes; $29.99)
It's back to the track with the latest entry in the stable of horse racing games: Homestretch, designed by Frank DiLorenzo. This game allows players to enjoy two sides of horseracing: ownership and betting. Each player begins with his own set of Bet tokens and a player token ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag, 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, about 15 minutes; about $10)
Dice are one of those game components that are game constants; you see them almost everywhere. But after years and years of taking them for granted, the attraction that gamers have for dice can wane until dice can often be, well, boring. And that's why, when a ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Pegasus Spiele, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $49.95)
The beautiful city of Venice provides the setting as players, in the role of Venetian nobles, compete to exert influence while constructing bridges and gondolas to become the "eminence grise" of Venice in the new Stefan Feld design, Rialto. Rialto comes with player boards for each participant, councilmen ...Read More
Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Matagot/Asmodee, 1-6 players, ages 13 and up, 30-45 minutes; $34.99)
As probably you already know from reading my reviews, I'm not a great fan of collaborative games. What is collaborative in the intent often degrades into a solo experience where one player drives the game for all. Throughout the years, designers have cleverly opted for different tricks to avoid this ...Read More
Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Out of the Box Games, 3 to 10 players, ages 10 and up, 20-30 minutes; $19.99)
In the Old West, travelling salesmen often attempted to convince the local populace of the benefits of whatever elixir they had with them. The elixir, of dubious quality at best, was commonly and contemptuously called "snake oil". But whether that concoction had any value was ...Read More
The 3 R's Meet the 3 E's Growing up and going to school, all of us were inculcated with the three Rs - reading, writing and 'rithmatic. And those 3 Rs have served us well. Not only in our regular everyday lives but in our lives when it comes to gaming. Reading has been put to good use in pouring over hundreds (thousands) of rules ...Read More
Reviewed by: Pevans (Feuerland Spiele/Z-Man Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 90+ minutes; $7
9.99) I came to Terra Mystica late. I missed it at Spiel ’12, but noticed when several people mentioned it as one of their favourite games of last year. I somehow got the impression it was a card game, a notion that was rapidly dispelled when I saw the deep box ...Read More
[Throughout the years, Gamers Alliance has been fortunate in attracting to our pages some of the finest talent in the World of Games. One of those talents is Joe Huber. Not only is Joe knowledgeable about games from a design standpoint (after all, he is the author of several successful published games - with his Starship Merchants - co-designed with Tom Lehmann - recently featured ...