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Subject: Quarriors - Quirky Name, but a Great Game! rss

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Greg Syferd
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Hilliard
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Had a chance to preview Quarriors at the WizKids demo area during Origins 2011. The volunteers there were fantastic, patient teachers which I really appreciate! Within 5 minutes I was already hooked and dying to take a copy home with me.

Here is how it works and what I think about it!

Overview
When I first walked up to play, a person who had just finished told me that is was Thunderstone/Dominion using dice. I thought this sounded strange, but I do love deck building games and rolling dice always works for me.

The game has a deck of cards, 12 of which are dealt face up on the table. The cards represent either spells or monsters that you can summon to score Glory (points) in the game. There are also a large number of dice in varying colors. The dice match up to each color of card (ex. the orange dice will always be paired up with an orange card, blue dice to blue card, etc.)

The dice themselves have various symbols and traits on them. These include Quiddity (the games term for money), a creature, a spell, or direct you to take an action such as re-rolling or drawing another dice. When a player rolls the dice, they refer to the card that matches the color of each die which tells them what action to take. All dice have some number of sides which have Quiddity, but this various based on the spell/monster die you have.

Each player takes a dice bag and a predetermined set of 12 dice. The bag is important, as you will randomly "draw" dice from the bag on your turn (kinda like drawing cards from a deck...see a theme here?)

Mechanics
At the start of the game, each player has 8 white dice that produce nothing by Quiddity (again, money) to buy new dice with. They also have 4 brown dice that either summons a basic creature, provides Quiddity, or directs the player to re-roll the brown dice AND one other dice (which can't be refused.)

On a turn, the player will draw 6 random dice from their bag and roll them. If at any point the player can't draw 6 dice, they reload their bag from their spent pool, which are dice dice spent from previous turns. (aka - shuffling your discard pile and starting a new deck.) From the roll, players will likely have some combination of Quiddity, spells, and monsters showing.

Players can spend Quiddity in a couple of ways. First they can buy one and only one other die on the table. Each card specifies the amount of Quiddity to spend in order to acquire one dice. The player takes that dice and adds it to his spent pool (just like in Dominion, when you buy a card it goes to your discard pile.)

The second option is to activate a monster. Each monster symbol on the dice has 3 values: it's activation cost in Quiddity, attack, and defense. The activation cost also represents the monsters level which could affect some cards (ex. a Dragon we had prevented any level 1 or 2 monsters from attacking you due to it's awesomeness.) An activated monster stays on the table until your next turn, at which time it scores (more on that later.)

Now, these monsters are quiet cranky when summoned and immediately want to attack everyone else. To do this, a player adds the total attack value for all monsters they summoned and starting with the person on their right announce their strength. The defending player adds their monster's defenses and either stops the attacker or loses some of their creatures. Defenders assign the order in which damage is assessed, but must take all the attack. A create must take the full attack, before the remainder is assigned to another creature.

The players place any killed monsters in their spent pile, then the attacked moves on to the next player at FULL attack strength to resolve any damage...and so on. Players must always attack and defend if possible. Finally, the defenders do not attack back.

Most monsters have a special ability. For example, some kind of Death Warrior I had allowed me to score Glory whenever he killed another monster. A Witch allowed me to draw an extra dice for my upcoming turn whenever I scored her. Finally a Goblin allowed me to draw two random dice on my next turn when he was killed. Point being, the cards allow all kind of great creatures and skills to play with.

Spells work the same way. If the rolled die comes up a spell symbol you may be able to gain more Quiddity, buff up your monsters defense, or score Glory. Spells can be kept in a holding area until you're ready to use them on a later turn if you wish.

Scoring
So you roll dice, attack with monsters, buy stuff, then end your turn. As I mentioned before, your monsters stay out until your next turn during which they could be attacked (and killed) by other players.

If they survive until the next turn, you score them. Each monster card has an amount of Glory you gain at the start of your turn if you have a monster in play. Simply move the score tracker up, and place the monster into your spent pool.

When a monster scores you can also "cull" your spent pool. For each monster scored, you can remove a dice from your spent pool and put it back into the center card area. Why? Well, just like Dominion, you want to get rid of less powerful dice throughout the game in order to give you a better chance to pull good ones from your bag.

The games ends when a player has scored a specified number of points, which varies based on the number of players.

Was it good???
Um no, it was GREAT!!!

This game is nothing short of brilliant. Yes, it's a massive luck fest using dice and cards but I was shocked at how much strategy you still had to use. At the end of the game for example, I had to weigh whether or not to buy dice that gave me points or activate monsters to stop another player from scoring enough points to win the game.

You could also take different strategies. For example, do you buy monsters to try and win via brute force or stockpile money to buy really expensive spells that allow you to score points without monsters? Lots of different options to consider.

Finally, the components were great. Cards are high quality. The dice were colorful with lots of cool symbols. Better yet, they were smallish which prevents lots of out of control dice whenever you roll. The game even comes in a small, colorful tin that could easily be carried around in a backpack.

Closing
The game says it's for 14 and up. Throw that out the window, my 8 year old will have no problems with it at all.

It plays in 30 minutes or so, depending on number of players (2-4.) Once you get the hang of it, a turn is 1-2 minutes, so there isn't much down time.

Although there is limited interaction, I found it more engaging than Dominion. To certain degree, in Dominion you're on auto-pilot just drawing and playing cards, loosely monitoring your opponent. In this, I found myself immersed in what the other players were doing, and more importantly rolling. I'd groan as they pulled a grey dice from their bag and then start praying it wouldn't come up a dragon when they rolled it.

All in all, I LOVE this game. It gets a 9 for me all the way. According to Wizkids it will be at Gencon 2011...and I'll be one of the first in line to get my copy!
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Andy Andersen
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Excellent review. It's on my wish list. After a video review release last week and written reviews starting to come out, you can feel the hype starting to build. I just hope enough copies will be available when it releases in August.

It must be nice living near the big conventions.
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Todd
United States
Bridgewater
Massachusetts
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All glory to the Hypnotoad!
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Stop telling people what a great game this is or I won't get a pre-order!

Great review. Make sure you review the inevitable expansions ninja
 
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Steve Dubya
United States
Scotia
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I know where you live, and I've seen where you sleep. I swear to everything holy that your mothers will CRY when they see what I've done to you.
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I've been waiting to see a review about this before I go off an preorder it, and it sounds like definitely something up my alley. Thanks!
 
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Jason W
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I asked about expansions because I am a sucker for buying them even before I have played my original to death. I understood there was plans for some but at this time they were unsure how packaging/content was going to be done.

I also understood that if you buy the game at a retail store they would have promo cards only available that way. Those promos would not be included with the game at GenCon, or at least he did not think they would be.

Cannot wait for this game to release it was the best game I played at Origins this year.
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Todd Mulholland
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Wow, that sounds like an awesome game! Great write up.

My fiance is going to kill me if I keep telling her "hey, there's this new game I want to pick up"...
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