Quarriors Qultimate Quedition
The thing about a playing card is that every time you draw that card you’ll always get the same value, how boring. Cards are so last year, dice is where it is at. Quarriors Qultimate quedition by Wizkids is a complete version of Quarriors along with it’s 5 expansions and a few promo cards thrown in for good measure.
It is a game for 2-4 players which takes about 20-30 minutes to play where each player will be bag building their own collection of dice which can be used to cast spells, summon creatures and earn glory. This building mechanic, seen plenty of times before and popularised in Dominion, is usually used with decks of cards. Quarriors qultimate quedition however has 340 colourful custom dice instead.
Similar to a deck builder, in quarriors you will start with a few simple dice that are generally geared towards letting you buy more powerful and specialized dice, allowing you to customise your dice collection to your playstyle. So, does it work? Can pulling dice out of a bag beat shuffling your deck? Does the roll of the dice enhance the game or does the unpredictability ruin your plans more often than not?
Welcome to the Qungle
A game of basic quarriors starts with you as a boy (or girl) with a bag of dice. You start with 8 basic quiddity dice (the currency in the game), and 4 assistants which can give you currency, allow you to re-roll you assistant die and any other die as well; or finally allow to ready that die up and send it off to hopefully earn you some glory points. That is if it can survive until your next turn. The first to a given number of glory points wins the game.
There are also some cards in the middle of the table that act as the market for you to buy new dice from. This market always contains 3 basic dice types, the two types you start with and a third that allows you to pull some extra dice from your bag on your turn. It also contains 3 random spell types and 7 random creature types. What is cool about Quarriors is that there are multiple versions of these cards which means the various symbols on the dice will act differently depending on which version of the card was in the market in this game.
There are 10 different archetypes of creature with three variations of each of these. You can only use one variant of each archetype in each game, but even so, that is a lot of possible combinations to be found in the base box and there are also 5 expansions to mix in once you get comfortable. If you ever manage to buy all the dice from 3 of these creature or spell cards you cause the game to end early.
Qere is Your Quest
On your turn you pull 6 random dice from your bag, give them a good shake and see what lands face up. Some dice will trigger immediate effects, such as the aforementioned portal dice that summon extra dice from your bag, which are then spent to use. After using your effect dice, any dice you have left should be a mixture of spells, creatures and cash.
You can ready spells and creatures by pushing them into your ready area, but readying creatures costs quiddity, so you have to choose between going to fight, or buying new dice. If you have any creatures readied they attack all of you opponents at once. Your opponents then get to deal the damage to their readied creatures or modify or even cancel it with any spells they have readied.
After you have finished brawling you can then spend any quiddity that you have left over to buy a single die from the market. Each different die you obtain personalises your collection, making the dice you roll and the resources they generate unique to you. There are abilities and spells that will allow you to buy more than one die from the market should you happen to own them. Any dice you buy go into your used pile along with the dice in your spent pile and you can also move dice from your ready area as well if you’d like to.
Roll your Quice
They’re your dice and you can use them however you like. If, at the beginning of your next turn there are any of your creatures that have survived the round, you score them now by moving them to your used pile. You also have to move any spells that you readied but didn’t use last round. Crucially, at this point every die that you score glory with allows you to cull one die from your used pile and send it back to the market.
This allows you to keep your dice bag lean and hopefully predictable. Good management of culling can help you avoid a bloated bag where you are never quite sure what you are going to pull out on your turn and helps make sure your dice pool stays a machine of magic and menace.
My quarriors are qup to no good
And that, pretty much, is the base quarriors experience. As I said before though, there are a few expansions in the box to look at as well. I’ll quickly go over them now. First up, you’ve got Rise of the Demons. This is a small expansion that adds corrupted versions of the 10 creatures from base game as well as a brand new demon creature type with all the associated dice.
There is also a new a new spell that boosts your creatures attack and gives you bonus quiddity for each of your opponent’s creatures that you destroy. Lastly it adds corrupted quiddity dice which are terrible. If you’re lucky you may get some money from it, if not, it does nothing or even worse makes you draw another one of them. They are trash dice that get in the way and I hate them. It is funny when your opponent has loads of them though so they aren’t entirely awful.
The next expansion is Quarmageddon. This is a little bit chunkier than the last and adds 6 new creatures, each with 3 variants, and 2 new spells with 4 variants each. This set adds a new effect called immunity which allows a creature to ignore all effects that get targeted at it, although damage still works just fine. And that is pretty much it for Quarmageddon. On to the next set!
Are you a Qladiator?
Quest of the Qladiator. This expansion also adds 6 new creatures and 2 new spells with their variants and also a new locking mechanism. This is one of my favourite mechanics found in the expansions as it can really change up your strategy. Whenever you roll your dice at the beginning of your turn if you have one or more lock symbols showing, you must lock one die of your choice.
The locked die can’t be attack or be attacked but it does give you a passive ability until that die becomes unlocked. You can unlock a die by locking a different die instead, it could get unlocked by a spell or any player can spend 2 quiddity to unlock it. A locked die may make your creatures harder to kill, it may make your opponents get less glory when they score a creature.
But the best abilities have a bit of give and take to them such as giving everybody around the table bonus glory points when they score, but every time they do you get to add another die to your active pool. There is a fantastic version of a die that allows you to give it to another player. And now that player can’t play ready any creatures that are the strongest level and you can’t pay to get rid of it. Give that to a player without any dice of their own that they can lock and it can really hamper them and force them to divert their attention to deal with this nuisance. It’s funny but vengeance is probably forthcoming.
Qreatures of the Night
Locked dice switch the game up a little and may make you focus on destroying your opponents creatures instead of going for glory. It may make you abandon creatures all together and make you go for a spell heavy approach for a few turns. It’s a nice bit of variety and can make you switch up your play style a few times in a game. However if you play with too many of these cards then you never really get into a rhythm and I’ve found that the game clunks along a little bit. That said, this is a solid expansion and offers some new ways to play.
The next expansion out of the box is Quartifacts and this is probably my favourite of the bunch. Quartifacts adds a questing mechanism to the game. There are 3 levels of quest each with 4 variations, one of which works with all of the other expansions I’ve mentioned previously. You’ll have a selection of these quests in the centre of the table for each of the players to go adventuring for. Now, don’t go expecting too much from it, this isn’t gloomhaven or descent. But it does add another nice risk reward decision to the game.
On your turn, any creatures you roll into your active pool can be moved to your ready area to fight your opponents and hopefully get you some glory points as usual, or you can choose one of the quests in the middle of the table to go off and try to complete. If, at the beginning of your next turn you have creatures next to your chosen quest with a combined level at least equal to the quest you’re trying to complete, you get some glory points from the quest card and you get to roll one of the associated quest dice. This could give you a big chunk of quiddity, a bunch of re-rolls or even just a handful of extra dice. But you could also get a legendary quartifact, powerful items that can be used to boost the abilities of your creatures.
Questing isn’t without its pitfalls though. Your opponents can try to oust you from your quest by attacking you while you’re on the job. Any of your creatures that they kill gets them bonus points, and if they manage to kill them all, they can carry on the quest in your stead. The 5 new creatures are good, they have some of the most powerful stats in the game so far, and some of them are very much tailored to the quest system, (although you can use them without quests, but why would you go and do a silly thing like that?).
The new spells definitely play well with the quest cards with most of the variants allowing you to more easily score a quest or make life a bit more difficult for a questing opponent. Squires are the last element added with this expansion and they are basically very cheap, very weak dice that are basically used as human shields for your bigger creatures. They can be used to get glory but they are potentially stronger when questing. Overall, Quartifacts is just very good.
Quid Pro Quo
The last expansion is Light vs Dark. This adds 6 new creatures with 4 variants and 2 new spells. More importantly though, this expansion shakes up the games’ economy. The basic quiddity dice are gone and so are the portal and assistant dice. The new quiddity is bigger this time around, literally. The dice are bigger and contain up to 50% more quiddity than regular dice! They also allow you to produce light or dark quiddity. These recourses can be spent as normal quiddity but you will get some discounts or extra powers if you use them as their face type.
The dice drawing is slightly different with this expansion as now you get to have those 2 giant quiddity dice every turn, but you get to draw less dice from your bag, so less creatures and spells. The creatures in this expansion are either light or dark, if you purchase them with at least one resource of the matching type, you can get them a little cheaper.
These creatures also produce quiddity that matches their type. Also, many of the cards have special abilities which have to be activated with matching quiddity. You can choose to go down one path which means you are more likely to roll the right resource types to get the synergies to work. Or you can go balanced and try to have it all. Light vs Dark also adds some new assistants, one of which gets used instead of the base game version. It’s a good expansion, but not my favourite.
There are also a few promo cards in the game themed around Christmas but that segues nicely into my biggest criticism of this box and that is the component quality and attention to detail. We’ll start with the Christmas promo cards, they aren’t Christmassy at all. Wizkids have put the wrong artwork on the cards for this complete edition. That is a bit embarrassing. Next, the box is flimsy, the score board is practically paper and there are no player boards included at all with the manual instead suggesting that you photocopy the pages with pictures of a player board on instead. That is more than a bit embarrassing especially for a so called “Qultimate Quedition” of the game.
Aged like a fine qwine
I do like the game. I haven’t played it in a while and writing this review has given me a brilliant excuse to go over the game and its expansions again, which has been a lot of fun. On the expansions note, you really should only play with one, maybe two at a time. With the exception of some of the quests in Quartifacts, the different expansions don’t really reference each other and if you mix everything in together it just turns into some kind of homogenous mish mash of bleugh where none of the mechanics really get a chance to shine.
This game is getting a bit old now, coming out in 2011, which is practically geriatric in the fast-moving world of board game design. If while reading this you thought, “hmm, this sounds similar to something else” or “Those dice look an awful lot like another game” It’s because these mechanics have been re-used in the phenomenally successful dice masters franchise. There are a whole bunch of these games with a variety of themes from super heroes to wrestling to Warhammer 40k. There is probably a theme in there you like.
Master the Dice
Dice masters is a lot more combative than Quarriors but it bears mentioning due to how similar it is. It is undoubtably more popular than Quarriors, especially nowadays, but there are some reasons why I would choose Quarriors over a dice masters set. Firstly, there is no randomness in the box. Dice masters has standard core sets which can be supplemented with random boosters.
I’m not a massive fan of collectable games any more, (my drawers full of magic the gathering cards are proof that this wasn’t always the case), and the thought of not owning everything can drive me mad especially now that I’ve tried and enjoyed living card games like Android: Netrunner. You can buy just starter sets for dice masters and call it quits, but some cards and dice are exclusive to the random booster packs so it is worth mentioning. Quarriors is also a little lighter on the player interaction, you can mess with each other a bit but it isn’t as in your face and it certainly isn’t the main focus of the game as it is in dice masters.
For me at least, Quarriors is the better game. The core concepts and mechanics have been iterated on since the initial release with dice masters but the original concept of roll some dice and either make a push for some points or focus on regrouping to try and get some more powerful dice into your bag is solid and enjoyable.
This qultimate quedition, despite a couple of production flaws, is the way to enjoy it. It is a lot of game for the asking price and there is an incredible amount of replayability to be had. And despite the fact that luck plays a larger part in the game than your standard deck builder, I have never felt cheated by a die that I needed not showing up when I needed it, but I have definitely cheered out loud when my linchpin die gets pulled out of the bag and rolls on it’s strongest face pushing me over the top for a glorious win.