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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Thursday 5 December 2019

My Robo A-code-error:- Quirky Circuits

Game: Quirky Circuits

Publisher: Plaid Hat Games

Designer: Nikki Valens

Year: 2019

Quirky Circuits is a 2-4 player cooperative programming game in which you work together to get a group of charming robots through a book full of challenges. Each robot has their own unique charm and role. They also have their own glitches and errors which you'll have to learn and adjust for if you want to guide them to their objectives before they run out of battery. All of this would be super simple, except that you aren't allowed to communicate with each other. The only hints you get from the other player's actions are whether the card they played was a turn/straight/special and an assumption of some kind of common sense!

Instead of a board there is a spiral-bound book. Each double page spread is a combination of map and rules for the map. The rules will tell you which robot and tokens you should use and what objective you need to meet before the battery meter runs dry. They will also explain any special rules that apply for your robot, and whether to include the troublesome quirk cards. Gameplay follows a few basic rules: Each player must play at least 1 card, face down, during the round. If a player has a quirk card they must play it before they can play any other cards. At least five cards must be played each round. You must do all this without communicating with each other. When players are done playing cards the robot will then follow those commands, in the order they were played, to completion.

Gizmo is the robot, not they cat. But they both enjoy chasing dust bunnies!
The first robot you will meet is Gizmo. Gizmo is a roomba and therefore wants to run around the room and clean up mess before returning to its dock to recharge. Gizmo's life is made slightly harder by there being a cat on its head who likes to chase things and alter the robo-hoover's momentum. Aside from being wonderfully charming this helps you explore the game's world in a fairly simple way. Gizmo is really only good at turning in one direction most of the time which means if a player plays a turn card you have a fair idea which way the robot is heading. Gizmo also turns when bumping into walls, which means you can turn movement cards into turns at a pinch.This all allows for a gentle introduction to the chaos which is the other robots. But even when restricted to Gizmo's rather simple movement options the game has a series of missions for each robot which ramp up in difficulty.

There are 4 robots in total and each one brings a different ratio of turns and movement. All bar Gizmo have the ability, and indeed requirement, to pick up and drop items as they move, but each does this in their own way. It's hard to say if any one robot is more difficult than any other, they each have their own unique challenges, while the early missions for each robot might be family weight, the later scenarios have a lot of moving parts to account for as you play and battery levels that will really challenge you.

The full gang! between the 4 robots there are 24 scenarios to complete

Quirky Circuits is a fantastic gem of a game. Just like a gem it's simple, beautiful and incredibly polished. The game can be taught in moments, the difficulty is tuned just right and the art is almost weapon-grade cute. The hilarity of things going wrong is only met with the joy when everything falls into place. Even better when that last minute hail-Mary move manages to pull off an unlikely win. Sure the game isn't as complex as some people might like, it's not going to wow every heavy gamer out there. But it doesn't need to. Quirky Circuits knows what it is. A brilliant gateway level game that is easy to get into and wonderful fun.


Quirky Circuits was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK & Plaid Hat Games.

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