|Multiplayer:||Yes, pass n play or asynchronous via Game Center|
|AI:||Yes (1 level)|
|Purchase for iPhone:||None available. Buy an iPad now!|
|Purchase for iPad:||
GD Star RatingQuarriors,
Quarriors is something of a mash-up of established games that creates something uniquely its own. Quarriors borrows liberally from both Magic: the Gathering and deck building games like Dominon or Tanto Cuore, and mashes it all up with dice rolling. The reception has been mixed, but the game has acquired a dedicated fan base and has spawned 3 expansions, a Lord of the Rings offshoot, and an upcoming collectible version based on the Marvel license. Are you ready to roll with it?
Quarriors starts with 2-4 players each having a dice bag. The dice bag contains 8 basic Quiddity dice (the mana used to summon creatures) and 4 Assistant dice. The Wilds are then prepared with dice you can purchase – these consist of Basic dice (Assistants, basic Quiddity, and the Portal spell), 3 Spells, and 7 Creatures. Typically 5 dice of each variety are available; the specifics of what types are available are decided via a deck of cards detailing the special abilities of each die. There are multiple versions of each type of creature and spell to add enhanced replayability – and to get different effects without having to create different dice, which would have been prohibitively expensive in the physical release.
You begin your turn by scoring Glory for any surviving creatures you have. You may then be able to Cull dice from your Used area (essentially a discard pile) by removing them from your Used area and returning them to the Wilds. You then draw 6 dice at random from your dice bag and roll them. If any dice have a Reroll symbol evident, you may reroll that die and one other. Once rerolls are completed, each die will either be showing a Spell face, a Creature face, or a Quiddity face in your Active area. Spells are instantly moved into your Ready area and are cast when appropriate. Creatures you will have to summon, at the cost of one Quiddity per level of the creature (the number in the upper-left corner of their face). Your creatures then automatically attack any creatures that are Ready in any other players’ areas.
Combat is resolved by combining the attack strength of your creatures (the value in the upper right). Each player in turn must then defend. Each die has a defense value in its lower-right, and each player must remove dice equal to each point of attack; any die that exceeds the current attack value survives. For example, if a total of 3 attack were brought against a player with two creatures, one with defense 2 and one with defense 4, the defense 4 creature could absorb all 3 points of the attack and suffer no losses. If the next player had 2 creatures with 2 defense each, one would be lost, but the other would be able to absorb the remaining attack point without loss. Any lost creatures go to the Used area of their respective owners.
If any Quiddity remains, you may then capture up to 2 dice from the Wilds. Each die costs between 1 and 9 Quiddity, apart from basic Quiddity dice; if any of these are available, you may always capture one for free. Play then passes to the next player until either one player has achieved the requisite number of Glory points, or there are no creatures remaining in the Wilds – if that happens, whoever has the most Glory when the Wilds are empty is the winner. In practice, we’ve never seen the Wilds empty in a 2 player game, but it seems to be the most usual way for a 4 player game to end.
Quarriors is all about the dice – there are no boards, and the cards do nothing more than spell out what abilities a given die possesses. In homage to that physicality, each turn begins with a lovely 3D animation of your dice rolling, the top face of each then appearing in the Active area.
In a show of consideration for the different kinds of people who play iPad board game translations, the programmers have added in the ability to bypass this animation by simply tapping the screen. It doesn’t really take that long and really adds to the theme of the game being presented, so we can’t imagine anyone being that impatient, but your mileage may vary.
Documentation is where the game really falls apart. The game features a Tutorial mode in the form of a series of pop-ups that appear the first time any given game concept is introduced in play – you’ll get through most of them quickly in your first game, so you’d better read them carefully. While it is possible to re-enable them from the Options menu, you won’t be able to do this until you’ve seen them all, so it’s going to save you a lot of pain if you just get them all the first time.
Not that getting them all the first time will necessarily tell you everything you need to know. One of the reasons we spelled out combat explicitly in the “Gameplay” section above is that the game takes no pains to do so. The sum total of the tutorial message is telling you to drag a die into the Defend box to defend against the attack; no discussion of what dice to select, why you need to defend, or any other mechanical discussion of combat is to be found. The game’s documentation includes only a Quick Start document of 4 pages that provide the anatomy of gameplay elements and turn order, and almost nothing else – and even this can only be accessed from the main menu, which cannot be accessed without quitting a game in play. The manual is also outright wrong in at least one area – the manual says that you can only capture one die from the Wilds, but we seem to have been able to capture 2 every turn in every game we’ve played to date. It’s also worth noting that some players are reporting instances in which they can purchase more dice from the Wilds than their Quiddity pool should allow. We saw this happen frequently during our first game littered with tutorial messages; we haven’t seen it since, but this is the sort of thing we shouldn’t see at all.
The game supports up to 4 players. Any number of them in a pass n play game can be controlled by AI – only one level of AI seems to exist. Asynchronous multiplay is handled competently by Game Center.
Quarriors is a game the reviewer has to keep in perspective. The game itself is fun, lightweight enough to be played quickly with families, deep enough that a gamer can find something to chew on. It’s worth noting, though, that this game is almost entirely random – the distribution of creatures initially is random, which versions of those creatures you get is random, the dice you pick from your bag are random, and the outcome of each roll is random. There are some tactics here in terms of how you manage these random resources, but long-term strategy is basically out the window. This is a note rather than a criticism; some gamers will thrill to that randomness just as others will cringe.
The game does seem to possibly suffer from a minor bug that will occasionally let you break the rules; not perfect, but we’ve seen worse offenders in the past few weeks as everyone rushes to get things out the door before the App Store freezes. The big drawback is that this game has poor documentation. While some unexplained rules can be sussed out through observation – something that should never be necessary, but is at least possible – others are simply never explained (we still don’t know why Culling happens, even though we know what to do when it comes up). Hopefully future updates can include more complete documentation – sure, you can do an Internet search for the manual, but we don’t think it’s unfair to expect that we shouldn’t have to.