Quarriors is a deck building game that uses dice instead of cards, published by WizKids. 2-4 players gather dice that represent monsters to impress the Empress of their realm. Average playtime seems to be near half an hour, and this review is based on three plays.
Play begins with twelve base dice and you roll six at random for your turn. Resources generated by those dice can be used to summon monsters, buy spells, and acquire new monsters. Each die can come up with resources, a reroll, or a monster/spell. Monsters cost resources to bring out, spells typically happen without paying for them and then have some in-game effect. Some monster dice have different level monsters that cost varying amounts for different levels of potency. Summoned monsters have to survive your opponents turn before scoring. First one to score a preset number of points wins. As a bonus, when you score, you can “cull” dice form your dice pool to cut out your increasingly outclassed starting dice.
I really like the ability to manage your dice pool without buying cards to do it. As fans of drafting and deck-building games know, trimming the basic cards from your deck is one of the most sought after abilities on cards. The game acknowledges this and builds it into the game itself, without the necessity of getting extra cards/dice to do it. Victory points are openly tracked. For all of Dominion’s greatness, hidden trackable elements irk me, and this game avoids that foible.
The game plays fast. Once players grok the system, turns are pretty quick. The only slowdown comes when the active player’s monsters start killing other player’s monsters and those players have to juggle their monsters and decide how to assign damage. Even with this to consider, games seem to run fast and furious. Rolling dice is inherently fun and this game understands that inherent visceral appeal and uses it in a smart and innovative way.
So far the strategy of “buying the most expensive thing out there” has seemed to work well. If true, it’s a bit disappointing that the game hosts such uninteresting decision making with such a key element, but I’m hoping that a later play (or commenter feedback) dissuades me of this notion.
Wizkids must have wanted to have a new brand so they decided to take the ‘Qu’ and run with it, slapping “Qu-” in front of the word Warrior and naming the gold/mana equivalent “Quiddity.” Frankly, I hate having “Qu” forced down my throat. At Gen Con, it led to a fatigue-filled play through where we put “Qu” in front of virtually every spoken word. It was even more terrible then it sounds, but that’s not enough to color my perception of gameplay. I’ll leave it at this: Quarriors fluff is Quappy.
Each die type has a reference card that explains some of the die’s abilities. To save on dice production, each dice is giving multiple reference cards with varying game effects. Essentially, you have one die type for knights, but two different types of card dictating what those Knights do. Lather, rinse, repeat. Although this is a reasonable way to save money on die production, the reskinned monsters seem like a bit of a cheat and the people I played with were disappointed by the perceived lack of variety. The game costs $50.00, already. That’s a substantial chunk of change, but considering the sheer number of things you get and the shiny metal box it comes in, it’s not unjustified.
Overall Grade: B. Fun, exciting and innovative, Quarriors will definitely see play, but it has to prove to me it has the richness and depth to move from a transitional game I play in between other games to a Main Event caliber game in its own right.