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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Sunday 7 April 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Qwinto

Game: Qwinto

Publisher: NSV

Designer:  Bernhard Lach, Uwe Rapp

Year: 2015

Qwinto is second in a line of roll-and-write games begging with 'Qw'. The first was Qwixx, and a recent release Quantum is the third in the line. It seemed to me that when the roll-and-write craze hit in the last 12-18 months, Qwinto was widely regarded as the best example up until that point - it was the one to beat!

Like many gamers in North America, who were recently able to access the game through a reprint by Pandasaurus games, Qwinto is still new to us and we have come to it after playing many of the more recent roll and write games. With a tiny box, 3 dice, 4 pencils and some score sheets, does Qwinto still have what it takes to rival the new contenders in the roll-and-write space?


The gameplay of Qwinto is simple. On your turn you will choose to roll between 1 and 3 of the dice, if you roll less then 3 then you can choose which colours to roll. If you are not happy with the result then you may re-roll all dice once. You then write down the sum of all the rolled dice onto your score sheet in a row matching the colour of one of the rolled dice. You may place the number you anywhere you want in a row, however the row must be in ascending order from left to right, so placing a 2 in the middle of a row is *probably* a bad move.

At the same time as you add your number, everyone else playing can also add that number with the same placement restrictions. If they cannot place the number, then they suffer no penalty, however if you can't place a number on the turn you rolled then you'll take a strike, each worth -5 points at the end of the game. Players take turns rolling the dice so everyone has an equal chance for failure. The game will end when at least one player has filled 2 of the 3 rows, or when someone has all 4 strikes. At the end of the game you score points equal to the number of numbers you managed to place in an incomplete row plus the highest number you placed in a completed row and the value of every pentagonal space so long as you have filled the associated column, you then lose points for any strikes against you.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

You don't get a much purer roll and write game than Qwinto. There is no theme to distract you, no fancy powers that you can trigger. You simple roll the dice, add the number and move on. The gameplay comes in how far you are willing to push your luck, if you get a 3 early on do you place it in the first space, or do you plan to roll a single dice to try and get a 1 or 2 to place before it. Your decisions on what dice to roll and how much of a risk to take is balanced by everyone else getting the same result. You might be desperate for that purple 1, but if your opponent needs it too then why should you be the one to put your neck on the line?

This actually encourages a fair amount of player interaction as you try to avoid taking risks that you can let your opponent make instead. The pentagon scoring encourages you to put ever higher numbers in these prominent spots, which in turn makes it harder to fill the line. It all balances very well. Where the game falls down is in replay-ability, there isn't any difference form game to game outside of dice luck, but then for a game that you can easily fit into your pocket what do you expect?

Qwinto is a perfect example of how roll and writes can emphasise the wonders of a simple ruleset. Learning the game takes a minute, playing the game takes 15 and you leave satisfied. The amount of luck and skill actually balances well when you start to notice that your opponents can't use certain colours because they filled their row early. Qwinto does a wonderful job of being a quick filler game and I don't think you could ask much more of it!

Fi’s Final Thoughts

Qwinto is a very simple roll and write game, that doesn't even try to have a pasted on theme. It's all about filling in the numbers on your sheet, planning effectively and pushing your luck and playing the odds of whether you'll ever roll higher than a 14 or 15 on three dice.

The game has very easy to grasp mechanisms that still result in some interesting choices, the most interesting of which, for me, is what dice to roll. Especially in a two player game, it's possible to look at your opponent's score sheet and notice what might work for you and not work for them, to try and sneak a little bit ahead. You might also concentrate on finishing just two colours to rush the end game and get higher scores for completed rows. Filling out your pentagons really gives you some anchors to build from in terms of setting up the sequence of each row and adds a fun element to how hard you want to play the odds.

My favourite game of 2018 was Welcome To and there is a very clear comparison to be seen between the three rows of houses that you need to fill in ascending order with the more basic, but identical mechanism in Qwinto. Given how much I love Welcome To and the complexity and charm it brings to the table, I can only really see myself using Qwinto as a stepping stone to introduce people into a game of Welcome To, and that's not a stepping stone that many players need.

With that said, Qwinto is so small that I'd be happy to sneak it into a pocket of my rucksack or into my Quiver and it would take up barely any space at all. By rolling the dice into the game box lid, I can see me playing this on a train or plane and being happily amused for 15 minutes, and wanting to play it consecutively to try and improve. Qwinto is a good, classic roll and write game that I'm happy to have to fill some time with almost anyone.

You Might Like...
  • Qwinto can be taught in a minute and is super accessible.
  • It fits in your pocket.
  • It has great little thinky, push your luck moments.
You Might Not Like...
  • Most roll-and-writes are quite themeless, but Qwinto really is all numbers.
  • You can fall victim to bad dice luck that might affect you, but not other players.

The Verdict

6.5/10 Qwinto is a very simple roll-and-write games, and although the mechanisms are clean and interesting, it's just been overtaken by other games in the crowded roll-and-write market, such as Welcome To. But, if you're looking for a pocket-sized game, or one to introduce to family who might have only ever played a game like Yahtzee, then Qwinto is a great game to have around.

Qwinto was a review copy kindly provided to us by CoiledSpring Games.

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