Quarriors! is a dice drafting and battling game designed by Mike Elliott and Eric Lang. Each turn you pull dice at random from your bag and roll them, either producing resources to purchase new dice or summoning mighty creatures to send after your opponents in a battle royal-style combat system.
Players aim to amass Glory either through the survival of their units or special abilities, and the winner is the one who reaches the Glory threshold first, taking their rightful place as champion!
Set-Up and Gameplay
To set-up a game of Quarriors!, each player collects eight Quiddity dice, four Assistant dice, a dice bag, and places their corresponding marker near the Glory tracker. Place the three basic resource cards in the middle of the table, then draw seven ‘Creature’ cards and three ‘Spell’ cards and add these to the central supply, ensuring that Classes are not duplicated.
For example, you cannot have more than one ‘Primordial Ooze’ card in the set-up, but you may have multiple different monsters of the same type, such as ‘Mighty’ or ‘Strong’. You may then place the corresponding set of five dice onto their respective cards.
On each of their turns, a player will draw six dice at random from their bags and roll them. This constitutes a player’s active pool for the turn. Results can include droplet-shaped Quiddity used to purchase new dice with, a re-roll symbol to roll some dice again, or creatures, each with their own level, attack and defence values. Dice you purchase later may have the spiral ‘Draw and Roll’ symbol to draw additional dice, or a split ability in which you chose which result you want.
Faces may also have a ‘Burst’ symbol in the lower left corner, indicating special abilities present on their respective cards. Players may move quiddity to their used pile equal to a monster’s level to summon it to the active pool, ready to attack their opponents.
After readying your forces, you must now send them into battle! Total the attack power of all creatures you control, and starting with the player to your left, send your forces against each opponent in turn. The defender must use any of their creatures one by one to absorb damage until either the attacker wipes out the defender’s forces, or the defender outlasts the attacker’s assault. The attacker strikes each other opponent in turn order until all opponents have been attacked.
After combat, a player may purchase one die from the central supply with any remaining quiddity and place it in their used pile. These could include Spell dice with immediate effects when rolling their unique symbol, or more powerful creature dice. After purchasing, any remaining unused dice are discarded to your used pile as well, to refill your bag with once it becomes empty.
Should any of your creatures survive until your next turn, you immediately move them to the used pile before drawing and score the Glory points indicated on the top right of their respective card. Once a player reaches 12, 15 or 20 Glory points (depending on the number of players), they win!
Final Thoughts on Quarriors!
Quarriors! is on the lighter end of the spectrum from what I’m used to. It is a simple game on paper: You roll dice, use their effects, buy one dice, then hope your creatures survive long enough to score Glory points and come out ahead, while doing enough damage to your opponents to stop them scoring.
It is perfect as a gateway game for those new to the hobby or those who are looking for a game to bring to family occasions. Gameplay is frenetic, and you can often be done with a game in 30 minutes or less. Quarriors! has a small footprint, and with plenty of spell and creature cards its adequate for repeated play without including expansions, of which there are plenty to augment your experience akin to any deck building game on the market.
Strategy is dependent on what dice you get in your set-up, but it is ultimately luck that controls your purchases. The starting Quiddity dice offer lots of potential resources, but most dice are geared for combat rather than resource building. There are few ways to mitigate poor luck, but these are often dependent on your central supply, and there are even fewer ways to cull a dice from your pool completely, a staple of deck-building games. Expect anything that either draws extra dice or re-rolls existing dice to be snapped up quickly.
The game can be swingy in nature, often stalling where players cannot summon enough creatures, or bursting to an end when one player rolls a massive army turn on turn. Luckily, the monster mechanics mean that a player cannot hide behind a wall of high-defence creatures for the entire game, and games are over quickly enough without significant down time between your turns.
Component quality is fine. The dice are cast in all shades of vivid plastic, but their size and some colour combinations make reading stats from across the table nearly impossible. There are some issues with paint application, either coming without adequate coverage or flaking away after a session or two. It’s a mixed pot: most of mine are OK, but some have seen more wearing than others over the few plays of the game I’ve had so far.
The small points board and dice bags do their duty, but the wooden Glory cubes could be replaced by something more visually appealing given the lengths they went to with the dice. Aside from the nit-picking, the cards boast charming art and allow for better visibility of the dice faces than some of the dice do.
All in all, Quarriors! isn’t a terrible game by any stretch. The dice impress with their own unique colour combinations and symbology, but the erratic quality control hamstrings the experience. It’s not one that I will always reach for, but it’s a solid little number. A fresh-faced gateway level player will love this game for what it is. It’s succinct, attractive and streamlined in the right places.
It is worth noting that as a predecessor to the widely successful Dice Masters line, it does show its age in places. Depending on whether you enjoy the collectable aspect of CCGs such as Magic: The Gathering, Dice Masters would be a perfect follow-on once you get the mechanics of Quarriors! down. If you prefer the all-in-one-place aspect of LCGs, however, then Quarriors! is no slouch despite its appearance and boasts an ample amount of content to expand your experiences.
Quarriors! is an unobtrusive entry into a gateway game portfolio, with distinct pathways to follow should you wish to expand upon it either through its own expansions or the more recent Dice Masters line properties. Unfortunately, the production quality hampers it in places, but it is an important starting point for the dice drafting genre of games.
If you can get past the component quality concerns, it is a solid little romp with plenty to offer, perfect for families or new gamers with its concise rules. If you need something that can be set up, taught and broken down in about half an hour, this is a solid, modest addition to any collection.