Quarriors! may appear to be quite similar to other ‘deckbuilding’ games, but as other games that have come out in the wake of Dominion it really does play quite differently (and not only because of having dice in place of cards).
In Quarriors! you will be managing spells, creatures, and basic ‘resources’, all represented by cards but realized through the use of dice. The basic cards are the same for each game – basic quiddity, apprentice, and portal. Added to this are 3 spells and 7 creatures which are the quarry which comprise the wilds.
It is from the wilds that you will capture dice to add to your bag/’deck’. Each player starts with a bag filled with the same 12 dice: 8 basic quiddity and 4 apprentice. The steps are familiar to Dominion players, though slightly different. At the start of your turn you will draw 6 dice, roll them, do things, put stuff in the used pile. When there are no more dice in your bag when you go to draw, refill the bag and then pull your dice. Straightforward, and deceptively Dominion-like.
Once rolled, the dice will show one of several different faces.
1) A quiddity amount (usually 1, 2, or 3) which is used to capture more dice from the wild. Cost is shown in the upper-left of the card.
2) The specific creature or spell icon, indicating that you can move this die to your ready area. For creatures you need to pay the quiddity cost (in the upper-left of the die face) whereas spells have no cost to ready.
3) Some other symbol on its own or in combination with 1 or 2, above. There is a reroll icon, a ‘draw and roll additional die’ icon, and the asterix (or double-*) that requires you to reference the card for special rules.
There is a lot of information on each of the cards in the wilds. Not only are the main abilities listed and explained, but each of the six die faces are also shown along the bottom. It is important to read through each of the cards at the setup of the game to understand the abilities each die will provide and how you can get them to interact most effectively.
So, what is it that makes Quarriors! different and more interactive? I mentioned the ready area where you can place the creatures and spells that you roll. Once in the ready area, creatures must attack each opponent’s creatures in their ready areas and can destroy defending creatures in this combat (but cannot themselves be destroyed when attacking). Spells in the ready area can be attached to your creatures to buff them, or be used immediately or in response to an opponent’s action for various effects. Creatures that survive your opponents’ attacks (and some spells) until the start of your next turn will be scored for glory, the victory points of Quarriors! There are also only 5 dice for each quarry in the wilds, which creates much more competition for them as well as limiting the frequency that they will appear out of your dice bag. These various differences make the game so much more than ‘buying stuff for victory points’.
It does come down to the dice, however. This single aspect will be the key to determining whether or not you and your friends will enjoy Quarriors!, as dice will ever be a divisive element for boardgamers. For myself, Quarriors! is a fun and enjoyable game that keeps me engaged throughout. The addition of randomness by the dice requires constant re-evaluation of the situation and likelihoods which bumps it ahead of traditional deck building games while at the same time keeping it lighter. These contribute to a very fun game that will be returning to my table often.