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, 3 December 2019

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Quirky Circuits

Game: Quirky Circuits

Publisher: Plaid Hat Games

Designer: Nikki Valens

Year: 2019


Quirky Circuits is a cooperative game where you can't talk to each others. Whilst this might sound unique, it is almost its own genre of games at this point. The Mind, Magic Maze and Mechs vs. Minions are three such games and that's only if I think about games that start with the letter M! It happens to be a genre that we really enjoy and Quirky Circuits fits right in alongside Mechs vs. Minions as a cooperative programming games.

Quirky Circuits uses Plaid Hat's history of creating story book games with fantastic miniatures to create a game that is incredibly adorable. This book doesn't tell a story, but it gives you a huge number of different cooperative scenarios to explore with the four different characters in the box - Rover - the dog, Twirl - the bumblebee, Lefty - the sushi chef and Gizmo - the roomba.


Each game of Quirky Circuits challenges you to complete an objective before your robot's battery runs out. With Gizmo you'll be picking up dust bunnies and trying not to knock over furniture. With Rover, you'll be digging up fossils and delivering them. With Twirl, you'll be gathering and delivering seed packets. And with Lefty, you'll be serving up sushi to some hungry cats. In order to complete with task, each player starts the round with five action cards. Each robot has their own deck with appropriate actions, which might include movement, turning, picking up and dropping, jumping and so on. You'll all play simultaneously to a common sequence of cards that you are programming face down. One player might play two cards, then another contributes one after deducing what has been played already. All of this is done in silence. Once you all agree that there's enough cards played, you flip and move the robot miniature to complete the actions - resulting in utter chaos or stand-up moments of success. That ends a round, you drain one battery and go again. Generally the loss condition is running out of battery power, although some scenarios have additional loss conditions.


Quirky Circuits is a really smart programming game. There's just enough information, with the few different styles of card back, to balance deduction and group-think aspects. Much like a game of The Mind, there's certainly an aspect of praying that you're on the same wavelength as your friends, but this really leads to the joy of the game when you get it right. There's also some real challenge to your spatial reasoning when you have to put yourself into the mind set of the robot, thinking about left and right from different perspectives. Younger players are definitely more likely to struggle with this, but it totally stumps adults too!

There's not a huge number of components in the box, but it seems like the story book really allows for tons of variety. Each robot has something unique which makes things feel fresh. Plus, when you progress through the scenarios for a different character, things will increase in complexity and difficulty. With each game only lasting around 15 minutes, we've always wanted to play more than one in a sitting - you just need to take the time to absorb the new rules between each game prior to jumping straight in.

With more players, and players with less experience I can personally imagine myself getting a little frustrated. With two players, we take Quirky Circuits pretty seriously. We take time to try and logically deduce what the other player has done based on the card backs that can be seen and card counting using the list of cards in the deck.  Whilst watching your robot do the wrong thing a couple of times is funny, I do want to do well in a game of Quirky Circuits in the end. As a result of this methodical approach, we've been surprised to find the more complex games with Lefty a bit easier than the early ones with Gizmo. While the level of thinking is appreciably more, there's a lot more deduction and less luck or gut feel, which really suits us.

 

Quirky Circuits is definitely one of my favourite new games of 2019. We've been exploring some of the easier scenarios and can't wait to challenge ourselves with more. I am also really hoping that there's more to come for this game that seems wide open for expansion scenarios, extra characters or scenarios that use more than one character. It's charming, quick and fun, plus it should be accessible to all levels and ages of gamers as a cooperative experience that's fun to win or lose (mostly). For the Yellow Meeple, it's a 9/10.


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

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