Qwirkle Game Review

We have a tradition with my in-laws of sending games to each other for Christmas. A couple of Christmases ago Qwirkle landed under the tree. This has been around for a while and is a favourite at Games Night, but not everyone has heard of it.

Qwirkle is a multi-award winning abstract family game. If you enjoy light, fun games, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

How Easy is it to Learn?

Board Game Geek gives Qwirkle a Complexity Rating of 1.65/5. I reckon that’s a bit high!

It’s dead easy to learn and there’s virtually no setup. It’s an abstract game, which means there’s no theme – think Rummikub. In fact, it’s a bit of a cross between Rummikub and Scrabble, but without the letters or numbers.

It comprises 108 tiles, each with a coloured symbol. There are 3 sets of six colours and six symbols. The object is to complete a row with six different symbols of the same colour, or six different colours of the same symbol.

Scoring is simple: you get one point for each tile you lay plus any tiles you connect to. So, if there’s a row of 3 tiles and you add one more, you get 4 points. When you complete a row of six you get a Qwirkle and gain extra points.

How Easy is it to Play?

Really, there’s nothing to it. There’s practically no setup. You start with six tiles. You place as many tiles as you can and at the end of your turn replace the tiles you’ve used (if you use all your tiles in one turn, like in Scrabble, you can draw 6 more and keep going). When you’re finished, dump everything back in the bag. Done. You’ll need a pen and paper to score as you go, but that’s it.

How Easy is it to Win?

The game requires a teensy bit of strategy, but it mostly comes down to the luck of the draw, especially in a four player game. So it’s pretty evenly matched. It can be easy to make an illegal move and you have to watch that players don’t accidentally cheat. At least if I’m at the table. Hey! It’s not my fault if you’re not paying attention! I don’t do it on purpose, I swear!

Is it Fun to Play? 

Qwirkle is rated 6.8/10 on Board Game Geek, with the biggest rating at 7/10. I think that’s about right, it certainly gets played a lot in our house.

There’s not a lot of depth to Qwirkle, but it’s a quick game that doesn’t require to much brain power and because your luck is always changing, it has a lot of “Yesss!” and “Nooo!” moments. It won the 2011 Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year – the most respected board gaming award), among many others, so you can’t go too far wrong.

Who Will Enjoy It?

The box says it’s for ages 6+ and in my experience that’s about right. That makes Qwirkle a great family game and casual gamers and people new to the hobby will particularly enjoy it.

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