by Gary Sonnenberg
Qwirkle Board Game
Board game manufacturer:
Number of players:
Think of Qwirkle as a hybrid of the games Sequence, Scrabble, Othello and Dominoes. This Mensa best mind game and Parent’s Choice Gold award winner, as well as the 2011 Spiel des Jahres, has a very simple premise: score the most points by matching tiles of the same color or shape.
The game and gameplay
Playing Qwirkle feels a little like playing Scrabble but without the letters. Tiles (which are large and black) fill your game table much like the words on a Scrabble board. You don’t spell words, since the tiles show various shapes, but there are still some restrictions on where you can place your tiles.
Qwirkle tiles come in six colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple – and in six shapes – square, sunburst, diamond, star, circle, and flower. There are three tiles of each possible combination.
You start the game with five tiles which you set up in front of you much like dominoes. You may place tiles of the same color but different shapes, or you may play tiles of the same shape but different colors. You score one point for each tile played and for any tiles in the same row or column.
If you complete a row or column of all six possible color-shape combinations, you’ve made what’s known as a Qwirkle. A Qwirkle gives you twice the normal points-per-tile, thus twelve instead of six. It’s possible to score points in more than one row or column per turn.
When the bag of tiles from which you blindly draw to replenish your hand is empty, play continues until one player has used all his tiles. The first to do so receives a bonus of six points. The player with the highest total wins.
Pros and cons
Qwirkle is quite easy to learn even for younger children.
There’s little to be nasty about, which makes for a great game with those who like to socialize while playing.
One small problem with the Qwirkle tiles is that, under anything less than bright light, the orange and red tiles can be hard to distinguish.
There is no score board provided, but you can easily make one or find one online.
Qwirkle is a relaxing, easy game that is fun to play with the whole family.
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