Ever since Dominion, several different deck building games have been released. While each one has had their own twist, they all seem to have similar mechanics. Quarriors could be considered another deck building game, but it uses dice instead of card. While the use of dice might not seem novel, the way they are implemented gives Quarriors a unique feel.
Quarriors is a two to four person game where each player tries to gain a certain number of Glory points to win the game. Glory points are earned by Creatures that make it through a round against the other Creatures put out by the other players. Each player starts with the same dice, but will acquire more and different ones as the game progresses.
Every game has three basic dice. The Basic Quiddity dice give Quiddity, the resource for the game. The Assistant is a weak Creature that can be useful in the beginning of the game. The Portal Dice allow you to draw another die and roll it. The cards that represent each of the basic dice are always set on the table.
Once you have the basic dice set up, there are two types of cards to put out on the table. The first is Spells. Shuffle the Spells cards, and when you get three Spells with different names get the corresponding dice for them and set them next to the cards. The same is done with the Creatures cards, except you lay out seven Creature cards.
The cards used to represent the dice that are put on the table all have a similar look. The upper left-hand corner contains the cost, in the upper right-hand corner is the Glory award you receive if it survives a round. The card name is to the left-center, and the abilities for that die are in the area directly below that. The bottom line of the card shows each of the die faces for that die, so you can see the probability of rolling each face.
On each die, Quiddity is represented by a symbol of a drop with a number inside it. The other sides show either a Creature or a Spell depending on the kind of die. Quiddity is used to either summon Creatures or game the other die from the general pool. When a Spell is rolled, it can either be used immediately or banked to be used later.
A Creature has several numbers in each corner. The number in the upper left-hand corner represents its level which is also the amount of Quiddity needed to summon the Creature. In the upper right-hand corner is the attack strength. The bottom right-hand corner contains the defense strength. The bottom left-hand corner contains bursts. These bursts are used to show what kind of special abilities the Creature has, and what they represent is shown on the card card for that particular die. Each player starts with eight Quiddity dice and four Assistant dice.
During the first part of the player’s turn, if any Creatures are in play, the Creatures score Glory points. Then the Creatures are put into the player’s used area. The player can also cull a die by taking any die in his used area and putting it back to the general area. Once he is done with that, he draws six dice and rolls them. If any of the dice rolled have immediate effects of them they take place. Then the player can ready any Spells rolled and summon Creatures by paying their Quiddity cost. If any Creatures have been summoned, the Creature attacks every other player. The attack strength for each Creature summoned is totaled, and any opponents with Creatures assigns defenders to the attack. A Creature must take as much damage as it can, and if the attack value is greater than its defence the Creature is destroyed. The player must then choose another defender if he has any Creatures in his ready area. Each opponent defends against the full attack value. After the attack is finished, the player may then capture one die from the general pool if he has enough Quiddity to purchase one. Any Quiddity left over is wasted. Captured dice go to the used area.
The game is won when the desired amount of glory points has been reached. For a two person game, 20 points are needed. The three or four player game ends at 15 and 12 points, respectively. While this might sound like a lot of points, games of Quarriors are short.
WizKids has done a great job to make each game feel different with two different features. There are five different Spell dice and ten different Creature dice. This means that you won’t be playing with every single group of dice available so you’ll see new dice every time you play. There are also multiple cards for each die type. That means that just because you play with the same dice it doesn’t mean that you’ll be playing with the same Creatures or Spells. The amount of variety between games is staggering.
The game comes with 150 dice, but the quality of each one is very good. You will get plenty of use out of them without having to worry about them wearing down. This is surprising considering the cost of the game. The numbers in the corners are a bit small and they can sometimes be hard to read, but you can also see the numbers on the Creature cards.
The biggest issue that I have come across is that it seems like the players who go first often have a slight advantage during the game. However, a good strategy and a little luck can often negate that. Also, the game is short enough that most people enjoy playing it whether they win or lose. Lots of people that I’ve played with have wanted to play another game immediately after we finished. Sometimes they want to go with the same cards, but most of the time they want to try with new cards and new dice.
Also, there are some dice that don’t seem to get used often. This seems to be true in any kind of deck-building game as well. Not all Creatures can be winners, but they can help out a lot.
Quarriors was one of the best games that I’ve played in 2011. While there is some strategy and luck to it, I really didn’t encounter anyone who didn’t enjoy the game. If you are sick of the deck building craze, and want to try something a little different then I highly recommend Quarriors. I’m really looking forward to what the expansions have in store for us.