Chairman of the Board: Kids’ stuff

Illustration by Ed Appleby
Illustration by Ed Appleby

‘Quarkle’ board game review

By Ed Appleby, Illustrator

I hate Scrabble.

Spelling and word recollection are some of my greatest weaknesses; just ask my editor. I just wish there was a way to play it without a dictionary and a convoluted word scoring system. And words.

Quarkle is a tile placement game for 2–4 players designed by Susan McKinley Ross and published by Mindware Games in 2006. The game plays similarly to Scrabble, but instead of letters, your tiles include one of six different shapes in six different colours.

The goal is to score points by arranging the tiles in vertical and horizontal lines of either symbols or colours, scoring one point for each tile and an additional six points for completing a set. Other sets can be built upon, and points are scored for each set added to. The game ends once all the tiles have been drawn and one player uses their last tile, which scores them an additional six points.

The simplicity of the game is deceptive, as is the case with many Mensa Select games. The simple rules allow players of an extremely young age to play, and the well-balanced and versatile gameplay can be entertaining for all ages. Only hardcore gaming aficionados who look for more complexity and theme in their games might be turned off by the simplicity, but that is no fault of the game. There are dice and travel versions of the game which I found to be of equally high quality.

I would recommend the game to anyone, especially families with young children. It is a game that ages well and deserves a place alongside classics such as Chess and Checkers.