Quitical Hits Review: “Quarriors”


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.

Gameplay

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.

The Good

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.

The Bad

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.

The Ugly

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.

Comments

  1. CrowOfPyke says:

    I loathe dice games. I mean I really HATE them. However, I really, really, really like Quarriors – it is a great game and to quote someone I know who works in a retail game shop: “It is, and will be, the game of the year, by a mile.”

    Quarriors combines card based deck building using dice. You get to puzzle together how to best take advantage of the cards in play and roll lots of dice – two things gamers love. I think our erstwhile reviewer did not get to take in enough play-throughs to grasp the subtleties of this game – there are many cards (creatures and spells) which get bonuses and other effects based on a certain “type” or “class” being in play. Such cards lose value in two player games (not enough of those type/class dependent creatures in play), and skyrocket in value in four player games (more of those type/class creatures in play).

    There is a certain amount of strategy to early game build up. Do I take another Portal die to help with my pool churn? Or do I take that Growth die to help me crush my opponents large creatures later in the game? You have to balance scoring early with also being able to slow your opponents later on in the late game – if you ignore late game strategy at the start of the game it will be super easy for one of your opponents to easily get 5, 6, 7, or even 8 glory in a turn for the surprising and crushing win. The key to all of that is recognizing how to best utilize the cards that were dealt for the game at hand and finding the best combos and the best early-to-late strategy balance. And even then, there are dice involved – some luck is involved.

    Overall, a great game. And this is coming from someone who has well and truly hated all the other dice games that have come out in the past 15+ years. This one is worth buying and playing… a lot. The WizKids demo area for this game was PACKED at GenCon. And I have it from retailers that this game is outstripping pre-sales of any game they have ever seen. This game will be THE hit of the year, mark it down now.

  2. I was skeptical when I first heard of this game from our distributors – and remained so up until demoing it a GenCon 2011. After playing a round or two at the WizKids booth, I realized that they had indeed stumbled upon a great amalgam of dice rolling and deck building. I think the timing couldn’t have been better either, as the Dominion “followers-on” have pretty much saturated the market with card games, so the uniqueness of the dice is welcome – yet the familiarity of building is still there.

    It will remain to be seen if this will define a new genre, or continue to be a outlier in the deck-builder class games.

    http://fairgamestore.com/2011/08/gen-con-highlights-rolling-dice-pwning-n00bs/

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  1. […] http://critical-hits.com/2011/08/11/quitical-hits-review-quarriors/ Review of Quarriors from Wizkids.  Sounds like a fun deck building game that uses dice instead of cards. […]