Quarriors, Come Out to Play

Today I’m here to introduce you to Quarriors. It’s a queer game about quarriors questing the quaking quay for quarry. Forgive me, but I’ve been saving that for weeks. Behind the ridiculous puns and over-the-top marketing that sometimes border on aggressively stupid there’s quite a fascinating game. I’ve described it to people as Dominion Dice Monsters, and while not entirely accurate I think it’ll do for the hook of this article.

The base mechanics are very much that of a deck building game, except you buy dice to add to your pool. Like most deck-building games the dice available for each game are chosen from the complete set. These dice can represent Spells, Creatures or Quiddity. Quiddity is the resource that players use for everything. Yes, this Q motif can get annoying, but it’s a solid game. The goal is to be the first player to reach the glory goal or, failing that, have the most glory when four piles of creature dice are empty. Glory is earned by keeping your creatures alive until the beginning of your next turn. How does one do that?

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Players can summon creatures whenever they roll a creature face on a die. This face will show the creature’s symbol and up to four other things. The symbol tells you which creature it is, one number is the cost required to activate the creature, one is attack, the other defense, and some may have an asterisk indicating that there is a special ability that the player has activated. These special abilities are shown on the cards associated with the die in question. Once the creature is summoned the creature attacks all players. These players must defend with creatures if possible. The attacker compares his full attack value to the creature the opponent uses to defend, subtracts the blocker’s defense, and then uses that number against the next creature the defending player chooses until the attacker runs out of power. The attacker then repeats this against each player in turn, always beginning with his full power. An interesting affect of scoring by survival is that it means that the best offense is a good defense. You don’t win by killing monsters; you win by keeping yours alive. It’s an interesting paradigm shift for folks coming off of games like Magic. It also makes things that prevent attacks far more powerful.

There are only a few different types of dice, but each die has multiple cards associated with it. Only one of those cards can be in play at a time so there’s not as much confusion as the previous sentence would imply. This means that the game can be totally different even with all the same dice on the board. That’s a great way to get extra mileage out of the dice without having to pay for more dice. There’s one expansion in stores now, and another on the way soon. Apparently there are also tournaments organized by Wizkids. [Note: There's even a world championship called Quorlds (sigh), with qualifiers held at Origins and the finals at Gen Con.]

This game is doing far better than I thought it was when I grabbed it off the clearance table. I hope it has many prosperous days ahead of it because, well, I like dice. They’re far more fun than cards and you don’t have to shuffle them. I recommend this game. It’s all the fun of a deck building game in half the time it takes to play a full game of Dominion, and you never have to wait for That Guy to finish shuffling, because DICE!

2 Responses to Quarriors, Come Out to Play

  1. I like Quarriors a lot in theory, but in practice most games come down to “who bought and rolled their Dragon first” – it’s kind of frustrating, I really like the concept, but the different things you can buy are so grossly different in power that there is not really any strategy other than “buy the best guy” every turn.

  2. I’ve found that the game plays a bit better when you don’t randomize the picks so much. Having the creatures with the global abilities, like Defender of the Pale, helps quite a bit in keeping the game balanced. I also recommend the demons expansion for aid in balancing. From what I’ve heard about the next expansion they’re working on correcting that issue with more utility creatures. That’s a plus. You certainly have a valid complaint, but I’ve been playing the demons expansion for a while now, and that has seriously reduced the amount of “Buy The Best Guy” scenarios. I’m honestly a bit annoyed that the demons is a separate purchase. It fits right in the niche that the original was missing. Had I not bought both of them for a total price less than the sale price of the core game I probably would’ve complained a bit more.

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