The Qwirkle game box
(Division of OTC Subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway)
|Genre(s)||Abstract, Family, Tile-laying|
|Setup time||1 minute|
|Playing time||30–45 minutes|
|Skill(s) required||Strategy, Logic|
Qwirkle is a tile-based game for 2 to 4 players, designed by Susan McKinley Ross and published by MindWare. Qwirkle shares some characteristics with the games Rummikub and Scrabble. It is distributed in Canada by game and puzzle company, Outset Media. Qwirkle is considered by MindWare to be its most awarded game of all time. In 2011, Qwirkle won the Spiel des Jahres, widely considered the most prestigious award in the board and card game industry. A sequel, Qwirkle Cubes, was released by Mindware in 2009.
Qwirkle comes with 108 wooden tiles, and each tile is painted with one of 6 shapes in one of 6 colors, so there is three of each tile. The box also contains a bag to store the tiles and a rule book.
The game begins with all the tiles being placed in the bag and mixed thoroughly. Each player then randomly draws 6 tiles. To begin the game, each player must announce the maximum amount of tiles that they can play at that time. If two players can play the same amount of tiles, the older player goes first. The order of play then proceeds clockwise. During their turn, a player may either:
- place one or several tiles on the table; or
- instead of playing tiles, exchange one or more tiles in their hand for other random tiles, forfeiting any points that they could have scored in that turn.
In general, any tiles that are placed in a row must share one attribute (either color or shape), and they must be played in one line, although they do not need to touch other tiles being placed in that turn. A player can either add to an existing line, create a new line perpendicularly off of an existing line, or play tiles in blocks connecting to matching shapes. Note that there cannot be more than one of the same color or shape tile in a line.
A player must always end a turn with 6 tiles, so, if they place tiles during a turn, they draw random tiles to build their hand back up to 6.
Play continues until one person uses all of their available tiles and there are no more tiles left to be drawn from the bag.
Players score 1 point for each tile placed within a line, including existing tiles within the line. The idea is to form lines that have each shape of a certain color, or each color of a certain shape. For example: if there are 3 stars placed down on the grid (1 green, 1 blue, and 1 purple), then the player can put down another star that is red, orange or yellow. If a line is completed (this is called a "qwirkle"), then an additional 6 points is added to the player's score, hence doubling the score. A player can also play tiles in lines of two or more connected together into a grid. For example, a grid of lines can either occur when different colored lines are flush against each other in the same order, or line of the same shape are flush against each other without repeating the same color in any given line. In this instance, the lines can be built upon at the same time, and points are counted in any direction that a tile is placed. Therefore, if a player places a yellow square and a yellow star onto a line of a blue square and blue star in the same order, the player will get six points. If the player places a yellow square, a yellow star, and a yellow circle onto a line of a blue square, a blue star, and a blue circle in the same order, the player will get nine points. This also works if a player places multiple different colored squares onto an existing line or block of squares, as long as there are no repeats in a line. In either of these scenarios, if a player places corresponding tiles in two (or more) flush lines to complete both lines, the player will get a double "qwirkle" (or triple, quadruple, etc. depending on the number of line completed at once).
At the end of the game, once there are no more tiles to be drawn to replenish one's hand, the first person to play all of their tiles gains an extra 6 bonus points, at which point the game ends, and the player who has the highest score wins.
- "Qwirkle: MindWare's Best-Selling Game of All Time". MindWare. 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
- "Qwirkle Cubes 2009". BoardGameGeek. 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2012.