Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

More shapes and colours than Sesame Street:- Qwirkle



Designer: Susan McKinley Ross


Qwirkle is a 2-4 player tile-laying game in which you try and match colours and shapes to earn the most points. Qwirkle is elegant in its simplicity, it doesn’t have complex rules so you could easily play with children, and yet there are legitimate strategies that require risk management, holding back tiles until you can get big scores and tile counting to know when you can’t complete lines. This all adds up to a game that actually is enjoyable for young and old. Plus it’s got bright colours and shapes, so it’s probably healthy for babies to look at too!

You have a hand of 6 tiles and can place as many as you want in one turn so long as they can fit in one line. Lines must all match in either colour or shape with no repeats of the other type. You then gain points equal to the amount of tiles now found in that line. Each line completes at 6 tiles, when you have 1 of each shape (for colour lines) or 1 of each colour (for shape lines) the person who completes a line scores a Qwirkle which is worth a bonus 6 points (meaning a Qwirkle is typically worth 12 points, 6 point bonus plus 6 for the 6 tiles in the line). After playing you replenish your hand and the game continues round the other players. The game ends when the tiles run out and no-one can place a legal move, with the first player to empty their hand getting a bonus 6 points.

A game in progress, at the center there are two Qwirkles, but the way the game progresses often limits your ability to make more.
And that’s it for rules, it really is that simple, the instruction book is two and a half pages long and one and a half pages of that is strategy tips and then a full example of a 12-turn game complete with pictures! Games are relatively quick due to the limited number of tiles bringing the game to an end between 30 and 45 minutes, assuming no-one is taking forever to eke out the last point they can possibly get. Despite its simplicity I find Qwirkle very fun it has enough strategy and luck from the tile drawing to keep things interesting between plays and there’s something enjoyable about making a Scrabble grid of colours and shapes.

A game with a good insert! The tiles fit in perfectly in three layers of 36 tiles.
Still the simplicity does mean that it's never a favourite of the game group, Qwirkle really shines when it comes to playing with friends or family who are hesitant to play "proper" modern board games, the kind of people who would shun anything with an average sized rule book. Qwirkle has it's place, and while it may never grace our top game lists, it well and truly belongs on our shelf.


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