Qwirkle was published in 2006, but it has already attained the status of a classic, and with good reason. Qwirkle is an elegant little game, with some of the elements of Scrabble (players lay their tiles to build a grid), but it’s overall an abstract strategy game that’s simple enough for little kids to play, yet complex enough to engross their parents.
Qwirkle consists merely of 108 tiles, each in one of six patterns and shapes. To play, each player draws six blocks, sight unseen, from the draw pile and places them so they cannot be seen by the other players. Play then proceeds by turns, with players on their turn doing one of three things: placing one block then drawing one block to replenish their hand; placing two or more blocks to the grid — each of which must share one characteristic such as colour or shape — then drawing enough tiles to bring his hand back to six tiles; or trading some or all of the tiles in their hand with those in the draw pile.
Sounds easy, right? There’s a catch, of course: two or more tiles that touch each other on the grid create a line. Any tile added to the line must share the same characteristic as the blocks already in the line. Plus, a line of shapes may only have one tile of each of the six colours, and a line of colours may have only one tile of each of the six shapes. For example, a line of yellow may have only one yellow circle.
Scoring is simple, but requires a pencil and paper. When you create or add to a line, you score one point for every tile in the line, including tiles already in placed by others. When you complete a line of six tiles — a Qwirkle — you score a six-point bonus. The first player to use all his or her blocks scores a six-point bonus and wins.
Simple? Yes. Strategic? Oh yes. Award-winning? Check it out:
2007 Mensa Select
2007 Parents’ Choice Gold Award
2007 Major Fun Award
2007 Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice
2007 Golden Geek Family Game Nominee
2007 Golden Geek Children’s Game Nominee
2007 Board Game Podcaster Gateway Game Nominee
2007 Board Game Podcaster Small Publisher Game Nominee
2008 Games Magazine Best Family Game Runner-Up
2008 Finnish Family Game Finalist
2008 Boardgames Australia Best International Game Nominee
Ages 6+, 2 – 4 players (best with 4), CAD$39.99