Game Reviews


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| Quarriors!
| Quarriors!

There's a nasty one-two punch I sometimes see on my first go of a mobile game: an interactive tutorial that leaves you clueless as to how to play, but then lets you finish the game yourself and you win anyway.

It's indicative of a careless approach and sloppy AI coding. Sadly, Quarriors didn't pass the test.

I was new to the game, but I had a rough idea of how it worked from reading reviews of the physical version, which is noteworthy for its staggering number of custom six-sided dice. But the tutorial just confused me and, amazingly, the in-app rules were equally unhelpful.

I had to go to the manufacturer's website and download the rules to the original game to get started.


Each player has a draw bag of dice, from which they randomly pull and roll six each turn. Some faces give you Quiddity, which is basically mana. You can spend it to summon dice that come up with creature faces, or to cast dice that come up with spell effect faces, but mostly you'll just spend it on new dice.

Each game has a random selection of Spell and Creature dice available for purchase. Creature faces have 'attack' and 'defence' values, and any you summon automatically attack all enemy creatures, pitching attack versus defence and pushing defeated foes back into the dice bag. Surviving creatures score their Honour value and first player to 20 Honour wins.

It's unusual, with all those custom dice pinging about, but hardly complex. Yet the abysmal tutorial will leave you bamboozled, explaining only how to do things but never why you'd want to.

And the interface will add to your confusion. I was perplexed by the way that opponents kept attacking me when I couldn't do the same to them.

I had to read the rules and play several games to realise that this restriction is a result of the bouts being automated - defeated dice simply disappear, and you're never informed. Yet in other instances you're forced to tap through pointless choices.

Most amusingly of all, starting a local game defaults to hotseat mode, not solitaire. This is presumably because the AI is so atrocious that there's little point in solo play: I've yet to lose a game. But it left some purchasers with the mistaken belief there was no AI at all.


Thankfully, there's a solid and functional asynchronous match-up and play system to start matches against your friends, which has the potential to make Quarriors a worthwhile purchase

Except that the game is super-lightweight. There are a few combinations to look out for, but good strategy consists largely of buying the most expensive creatures and ignoring spells.

The game has a double layer of randomness in blind-drawing dice and rolling them that would quash any potential hidden depths. And it has none of the push-your-luck elements that makes some dice games so addictive.

That leaves little excuse for such poor AI, but it also means there's not a whole lot of fun to be had playing against real people either.

Most of the entertainment value in Quarriors comes from the tactile joy of grabbing fistfuls of weird, multi-coloured dice and skittering them across the table followed by joy or misery at the results. The app version has a lovely rolling animation, but it's no replacement for the real thing.

Another reason fans of the physical game enjoy it is because it adapts readily to house rules and invented effects. But you can't do that in an app - it's the published rules or nothing. And the published rules aren't much better than nothing.


Interestingly, the original designer suggested several new rules to improve the game, only one of which, the most ineffectual, is included here. It would have been nice to see options for all of them.

In spite of a few bugs, Quarriors is basically functional: you can play solo or against other people. But it's got bad AI, a bad interface, a bad tutorial, and the underlying game is a bad candidate for the digital treatment in the first place. It's only recommended for those who are either intensely passionate or intensely curious about the physical boardgame.


Provides the essential functionality you'd expect of a boardgame adaptation, but absolutely no frills at all and only limited quantities of fun
Matt Thrower
Matt Thrower
Matt is a freelance arranger of words concerning boardgames and video games. He's appeared on IGN, PC Gamer, Gamezebo, and others.