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 19 May 2019

The Game Shelf Reviews:- Qwantum

Game: Qwantum

Publisher: NSV

Designer:   Stefan Kloß, Anna Oppolzer, Reinhard Staupe

Year: 2018

Qwantum is one of the latest roll and write games from NSV. If you enter a board game store in Germany you'll see hundreds of these very small box games and it's pretty hard to know where to start, but with Qwantum, its predecessors Qwixx and Qwinto certainly point to the routes of this roll and write game.

In such a small box, they've squeezed the scoresheets, pencils and seven dice you'll require to play this simple game. There's nothing flashy about Qwantum - it's just numbers and colours - an abstract, traditional roll and write, trying to hold its own in a sea of more thematic and intricate roll and writes that fans are now being introduced to. So, is Qwantum worth checking out?


Qwantum takes place in player turns, on a turn the active player will roll the all the dice, be granted an opportunity to re-roll some or all of the dice and then choose one colour of dice for themselves. The other players can then choose any of the remaining colours. Of the seven dice one is a colourless, traditional 6 sided die numbered one to six, the remaining dice have a seemingly random combination of the 4 colours and various numbers. An individual die may have 2 faces that are blue and purple, but only 1 red and yellow and may have a pair of 3s but no 6 on it for example.

After being rolled dice are grouped with other dice in the same colour and then to total is added to the result of the colourless die in order to form the final result. if no dice of a colour were rolled then the colourless die alone makes up that value for the round. Players will then get the opportunity to take the sum total of dice in a colour to write on their score pad. When you do it goes in the left-most column in that colour's row. Your objective is to increase in value for the first 4 spaces, then decrease for the final two. However the number of points earned is equal to the second lowest result in a column once all 4 colours are completed, so you don't want to put too low a number in or you risk a low score.

Taking a number is not compulsory, should you fail to add a number when it is your turn to roll then you have to mark off a penalty, but if you cannot/do not take something on an opponents roll then there is no penalty. The game will end when one player has managed to fill all of their spaces on the board, at which point everyone will score points equal to the second lowest number in each column and then lose points for each penalty they have accrued

Amy’s Final Thoughts

Qwantum is a very pure roll and write game. You roll some dice, write down the result and try and do it in the most effective way to earn the most points. There's no attempt at an excuse for why you are doing this other than to do it better than anyone else. While it might be as abstract as a game really can be it is, at the very least, fun. While you can expect the usual amounts of dice luck you don't get the usual kind of dice luck. each die has a unique set of colours and faces and if you want a high number in a certain colour then choosing which dice to re-roll can be important. Some dice are simply better than others for when you want high numbers, but others are better if you want low numbers. Is it really worth re-rolling a die that only has 1 face with a 1 in the colour you want when it has 5 other faces that might help your opponents? Even worse will re-rolling all the dice result in a huge numerical leap when you only want a gradual one?

One thing that is worth taking note of is it's not a rush to the finish, sure finishing first might make you score more columns than other players, but if the other players have managed to score high numbers on each column you'll soon have lost. There is certainly a balance to be made though, go too high too soon and you'll find out just how rare the high numbers are when you are hunting for a specific combination. Aiming high on one colour alone isn't enough though as you will always score your second lowest value in a column. Though the clever player might try to get joint lowest number in multiple colours in order to push the second lowest value into being a higher number without having to push all their colours into unobtainable heights!

Overall there is a lot of strategy in Qwantum, though it seems a little simple at first. There is certainly more fun in trying to get a higher score than try to race to the finish so I'd suggest that as a better way to play, if multiple players are simply rushing to the finish line then you'll find victor goes to the fastest. What Qwantum doesn't achieve though is individuality, there are a ton of roll and writes on the market now, and while Qwantum is certainly a good choice, there are plenty of other games that offer a very similar, if not slightly more nuanced game. If you are looking for a solid, portable roll and write game that's easy to pick up then Qwantum might be for you, just don't expect any surprises!

Fi’s Final Thoughts

Our first play of Qwantum was completely underwhelming, because we didn't take enough risks and our scores came down to who finished first and therefore got to score all 6 columns. However, what we realised is that this game is all about pushing your luck and going for the high scores. I typically don't like games where you have to enter into a social contract before you start playing the game in order to find the fun, but for reasons I'll go on to explain, I think Qwantum will be a game we normally play at home with just two players, so the social contract is a little easier to enforce. Once you begin to get invested in your need to roll really high numbers, the fun starts to come out and you'll be shouting an cheering at the dice, stepping the game up from a sedate experience with a small spreadsheet.

I particularly enjoy the game at two players because you start to see how you can manipulate the dice you re-roll, or the dice you take to cause a problem for your opponent. I get the feeling that it's much more interactive at two than it might be with four players.

A simple set of rules is perfect for introducing new people into gaming. Qwantum is very unlikely to intimidate anyone and will be familiar enough to anyone who encountered Yahtzee in their childhood. This simplicity sounds good on paper, but even the new gamers I bring to the table are expecting something more exciting.

Qwantum is an interesting 15 minutes as a mental exercise for us as seasoned gamers who know that their not getting anything that screams impressive. I like how the push your luck elements rise to the top over time as you realise that there's no fun in the game if you play it safe. Qwantum gives me a slightly different feel to the other games in the series because of its non-standard dice and interesting, almost Reiner Knizia style scoring, where second worst is your score. It's small enough that it will find a spot in our roll and write drawer, but it's not one I expect to be using to spread the joy of games.

You Might Like...
  • Qwantum has some really interesting push your luck moments, that give it an all-or-nothing feel.
  • The scoring mechanisms work well as a kind of luck mitigation - you often have the chance to find a place for a bad roll.
  • It fits in your pocket.
You Might Not Like...
  • Most roll-and-writes are quite themeless, but Qwantum really is all numbers.
  • There's only so much that can be done with a few dice and a small score sheet and Qwantum doesn't stick its head above the parapet to feel very unique.

The Verdict

6/10 If you're a roll and write addict who loves to explore the interesting games that ca come out of a very small design space, then Qwantum is worth checking out - it manages to be different from Qwixx and Qwinto and will be interesting to those deep into the hobby. But, if you're looking for a game to impress people or excite you, even for just 15 minutes, then Qwantum probably isn't going to be the game to do it.

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

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