Designer: Mike Elliott and Eric M. Lang
Publisher: WizKids Games
Date Released: 2011
Number of Players: 2-4
Age Range: 12 and up (14+ on the box)
Setup Time: About 10 minutes
Play Time: 30 minutes or less
Game Flow and Review:
Take one of the hottest game mechanics, deck building, and add the random mayhem and speed of dice rolling, and you get one exciting game: Quarriors. Or should I add the title’s exclamation point: Quarriors!?
Like the deck building games that came before it, a game of Quarriors! starts with each player owning a pool of basic dice. These basic dice even the playing field, giving each player the same quantity of Quiditity (dice used for currency with which to purchase other dice, cast spells and summon creatures) and Assistants (the pawn-like creatures of Quarriors!). The players take turns, purchasing dice from the wilds a communal set of dice where players can add to and upgrade the dice in their personal dice pool, and dealing damage to their opponents with their spells and creatures.
Each die you can claim from the wilds has variable statistics and abilities depending on which face of the die you roll. The wilds are composed of three types of dice: basic, spell, and creature dice. The basic dice include more of the ones you start the game with and portal dice that allow players to grab more dice out of their dice bag per turn. Very helpful. The spell and creature dice complicate the Quarriors! gameplay further because each one of these come with four corresponding cards of different power levels. These cards explain what special effects the dice have, and the twist on gameplay provided by these cards assures a different gaming experience every time you roll the dice. There are thousands of combinations.
Players win the game by scoring glory points, and players score glory points at the beginning of each turn, and the glory a player scores is dependent on the number and type of creatures they have in play. Stronger creatures, like the dragon, net you more glory points, can take more damage, and deal more damage to opposing creatures, so these dice are desirable, but these bigger creatures also have a higher price tag than their weaker counterparts.
Conversely, the smaller creatures, like the goblin, can be purchased and summoned for a lot less and they—sometimes because of the variable abilities printed on the four cards associated with the goblin dice—receive defensive and offensive bonuses based on the number of goblin dice in play. This makes for some fast-paced, sharp decision making.
As if this wasn’t enough, Quarriors! has levels on most of their creature dies, so you may not roll into the side of a goblin die that will give you a bonus. If this is the case, you have to make a decision whether to keep the weaker goblin with no effect or return the goblin die to your bag in the hopes of rolling a better goblin in the future.
Spell dice are little more straightforward. Players only pay for them once (creatures have an initial cost to purchase the die and a summoning cost). Spells only have whatever effect is written on their corresponding card, and some of these abilities can cut down a large creature. The death spell—sometimes because of the various cards for the dice—can instantly kill an opponent’s creature die. There’s more than one way to slay a dragon.
Other spells can boost the amount of glory points you earn per turn, heal your creatures, or allow you to purchase more than one die from the wilds. It takes gaming experience to see a winning combination of dice and their abilities at the onset of a game, and even then you may lose to another tactic.
But there are certain dice you’ll want to have if you can purchase them before your opponents. The weakest dragon is still better than most other creature dies. The death spell that instantly kills is a great die to pick up, too, but the other versions of the spell leave a little to be desired. The goblin works well, but you have to have a boosting mechanic.
Then, there are dice like the wizard, who must be more of an alchemist because he’s giving his owner fool’s gold. He’s almost as expensive as a dragon and his abilities look amazing on paper until you try to pulling off his power in the middle of a game. But I’ve seen people win games with the wizard. That’s a testament to Quarriors! balance.
Games can get lopsided. The winner may be determined within minutes of gameplay, but this is a bearable problem. Quarriors! is so fast, you’ll be playing another game in fifteen minutes or so. And there’s no way you’ll play the same game twice.
Some creatures and spells are usually better than others, but the inclusion of dice rolling, levels to the creature dice, and the variable powers dictated by the die’s associated cards create a singular gaming experience each time you play Quarriors!. This deck/pool building game isn’t a one trick pony. You’ll find multiple ways to win any given play through of this shot of adrenaline.