From Lost Cities: Roll & Write, to Welcome To…, to Cartographers, the roll & write genre of games is one of the hottest tabletop gaming genres around. Tracing the genre’s roots back to Yahtzee, modern games have taken its foundation and built many cool new games around it.
One game to carry the torch is Qwixx. This dice game takes the core concept of Yahtzee and freshens it up with modern mechanics that add strategy while also keeping all players engaged throughout.
The goal of Qwixx is to score the most points. Fairly straightforward objective, but getting those points is easier said than done.
At the core of the game are six dice. Two are white while the others are a unique colour. The four colours correspond to the four scoring tracks on each player’s scoresheet. The red and yellow tracks move from left-to-right in ascending order while green and blue are listed in descending order.
Unlike Yahtzee, everyone is playing at the same time. One person gets the roll the dice, but everything after that is played simultaneously. After the designated die roller does their thing, players have two ways to score.
- The two white dice are added up and that value can be crossed off on any of the four colour tracks
- The die roller can add the values of one white die and one colour die of their choice, which players have the option to cross off on the corresponding track of the colour die
You have the option to pass on either, but you must cross off at least one of the two each turn or face a five-point penalty. Also, once you cross off a number on the track, you can no longer cross off numbers to the left of the one you just crossed off. If you cross off red 7, you can’t cross off red 2-through-6.
One more thing to note. If a player has crossed off five numbers on a track and the number of the farthest right of that row is called, they can choose to cross off that number and lock the track from future scoring for the entire group.
The game ends when two columns are locked or when a player has taken four penalties. Players add up their scores using the scoring rubric at the bottom of their scoresheet which rewards players for crossing off more numbers within each row. All of the points are added up and the penalties are subtracted and the player with the most points is crowned the victor.
While the game is a smidgen more complex than Yahtzee, it’s still very easy to teach to players of almost any age or skill level within a matter of minutes. Yes, even grandma, whose only tabletop gaming experience is Yahtzee.
Having players manage their scoresheets all at once is another huge benefit. There’s little downtime as everyone is constantly managing their boards, rather than waiting minutes at a time for the dice to swing their way.
Scoring is a double-edged sword. It’s easy to grasp and fun to engage with. There are a few decisions you can make-or-break you, adding a bit more tension to the experience. However, it won’t take long before players optimize their approach and starts fishing for the same numbers. Even with players being able to make decisions that could personally benefit themselves and screw others over, many games we played ended with ties. There isn’t quite enough mechanically to prevent players from intentionally or unintentionally following the same scoring routes.
Quixx serves well as a decent and alternative to Yahtzee. With a group of casual or newcomers, it’s an entertaining introduction to the genre that keeps players involved throughout. After a few plays though, your group will likely hit the skill ceiling and tie games will become too common for comfort. Considering its cheap price point and ease of play, I’d still recommend it if you’re in need of a roll & write game that’s accessible to just about anyone. But beyond that, there are other games in the genre with a bit more depth and variability.
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I like games like this that are easy to play and don’t require significant strategy to play.