A friend introduced us to Qwixx – A Fast Family Dice Game pre-pandemic and it is one of those games that we keep coming back to when we are short on time, want to play a short/easy game between larger games, or want to winddown after heavier gameplay.
Qwixx is a roll-and-write style game for 2-5 players who are ages 8 and up. The game can basically be played anywhere you have a flat enough surface to roll a set of 6 dice. The game was designed by Steffen Benndorf and was first published in 2012. The version we purchased at Target was published by Gamewright.
What Comes in the Box?
- 2 white dice with black number pips
- 4 color dice with white number pips
- 1 score pad (50 pages, double-sided for 100 sheets)
- 1 set of game rules
One of the things I love most about Qwixx is that it really doesn’t require significant setup time. In my experience, the hardest part of setting up Qwixx is finding a pen or pencil or each person playing. If we are playing at home it’s usually not a problem, but the game is so compact that we sometimes take it with us when we travel and it can be hard to find pens on the go if we forget them. Once everyone has a writing utensil, tear-off one score sheet from the score pad for each person. The score sheets are double-sided, so two games can be played on each.
The overview below is intended to help you get the gist of the game and decide if it is right for you and/or your family, friends, or game group. It is not intended to be a substitute for reading and following the enclosed rulebook.
Object of the Game
The goal of the game is to cross off as many boxes in each of the colored rows as possible (to receive a high score for that row) before someone “locks” that row. The challenge is that you can only play the numbers in each row from left to right. Additionally, you also need to try to avoid penalties that can reduce your overall score total and can even end the game in certain circumstances.
The Score Sheet
Typically, I wouldn’t start an overview by describing how to fill out the score sheet, but in Qwixx this is the most important element to understanding the gameplay. In the image below, you will notice that there are four rows of numbers that have different colors assigned to each. The game ends when two of these rows are closed out or when someone receives their fourth penalty (details later).
In addition to the unique color of each row, the number order on the top two (2 to 12) and bottom two (12 to 2) are different. This layout is necessary to equalize the impact of the various dice rolls (you can’t guarantee all high or low rolls). This sequencing is also critical as you fill in the squares from left to right in a progressive fashion. For example, if you played a 3 and 4 on red, you can then play a 6, but you cannot go back and play a five. Lastly, you need to have at least 5 numbers in each row before you can play the final number on the right (a 12 or 2) and lock the row. You do not have to be the active player to lock a row – as long as the number needed to lock the final number in a column (12 or 2) was rolled using the combination shown on the white dice. Once two of these rows are locked, the game ends.
Additionally, if you cannot (or do not want to for strategic reasons) play in any row, you can take a 5 point penalty (the four rectangular boxes below the blue 2 and lock). Once any player reaches 4 personal penalties, the came automatically ends for all players.
To tally scores, you begin by counting the number of squares crossed off in each row (a bonus point is given if you were able to individually or co-lock a row). You then take that number and use the points guide on the bottom to determine your score for that row – writing it in the blank color-corresponding rectangle on the bottom of the card. For example, if you had the 12, 11, 9, 8, 6, and 3 boxes check in the green row – you would earn 21 points for that row.
Determining the First Player
The first player in Qwixx is determined by every player taking turns rolling the two white dice until someone rolls a total of 6 pips (the little black dots) between the two dice (2+4, 5+1, etc.)
TIP: When a game doesn’t clearly indicate who should play first, we typically select a first player by each rolling a single die and the person with the highest number goes first. If there is a tie, we have the two tied players roll until the tie is broken.
The active player rolls all 6 dice (2 white dice and 4 color dice). After the dice are rolled, there are two actions that happen on every turn. The first action (white dice) can be taken by any player. The second action (color dice) is only taken by the active player (the person who rolled).
The active roller (or quickest math-er in our house, lol) tally’s the score on the two white dice and announces it to the group. Then all players have an opportunity to play that total anyway in their row. At any time, any player can skip playing the number tally in any of their rows. For example, if a 5 combination (4+1, 2+3, etc.) is rolled on the first roll of the game, you’d likely want to skip it so that you aren’t forced to play in the middle of your board, knowing you can then no longer play anything to the left of it in that row. There are no penalties given/taken on this action for any player.
As I mentioned early, the second action is only available to the active player (the person who rolled). If the active player played during the first action they do not have to take the second action. If they choose to take the second action, they can tally one of the white dice and one of the color dice and play the combined number in the corresponding color row. For example, if a four was rolled on one of the white dice and a 5 was rolled on the yellow dice, they could be added together to play a 9 in the yellow row. If the active player does not cross off a number during the first or second action phase, they take a penalty.
End of Game
The game ends when two rows are crossed off or when someone takes their fourth penalty (both of these scenarios were described above). Scores are then tallied and a victor is declared. :)
As a write-and-roll game, there isn’t a lot of physical real estate to design. However, I like the simplistic layout of the score pad. The score pad is just big enough to be comfortable to write on, but not large enough to have that the designers felt they needed to add extra graphics or items that lead to the confusion about gameplay.
I also really like the bright colors on the newest version of the box. In fact, the orange always draws my eye when I am looking at our shelf for games to play. I like the use of colorful dice as well. They are primary colors, but they are saturated, which makes the pips (the small circles that indicate the numbers on the side) pop when rolled on nearly any playing surface. Speaking of dice, I also really enjoy the rounded edges on the dice – which make the rolling process smoother.
Qwixx basically has endless replayability if you have the Deluxe version or if you order additional score pads or if you laminate a couple paper score sheets and create your own Deluxe version. Also, dice rolling games in general offer great replayability and Qwixx is no exception.
Note: We most frequently play this as a two-person game. When we play, we play 3 games and the person who wins 2 of those games is declared the victor. As this is our most frequent gameplay option, we always have a half-used score sheets. We put these back in the box and reuse them on the next time we play.
Grab a Copy for Yourself
There are a few different versions of Qwixx available for purchase:
Qwixx – A Fast Family Dice Game
Qwixx Deluxe – A Fast Family Dice Game
This version can be played with 2-8 players and uses dry erase boards and markers instead of the paper score pads. Grab your copy on Amazon today!
Qwixx Card Game – A Fast Family Card Game
This version can be played with 2-5 players and uses cards instead of dice, but still uses the paper score pads. Grab your copy on Amazon today!
Qwixx is one of those games that I think we will always have on our game shelf. We use it when we want to play a quicker two-player game, have limited time to play, and frequently as a filler game during our game nights. As it is super easy to learn and play, I recommend it for the following groups:
- People who are new to board games
- People who want compact games for travel (airports, hotels, RVs, camping, cabins, etc.)
- Family or friend groups (even great for multi-generational age groups)
- Experienced board gamers who are seeking filler or winddown games
This would make a great stocking stuffer or gift. In fact, we love this game so much I sent both my younger sister copies to help keep them occupied during Safer At Home. :)
This review was not sponsored.