Top 100: #43 Qwirkle

This game is by far the one that has seen the most play amongst my friends and I. Except for a few occasions it has been played every week for over a year. We even played it the week we were all in Hawaii which was when the excellency of this game was really revealed for me. Our group was playing the game in a lobby of the hotel and people would pass by and watch us play. Without asking our group questions or possibly even understanding what we were saying these passerbys were able to figure out generally how the game was played. Having a game that is this fun while also being able to be so universally understood was something I found to be impressive.

The game is comprised of 108 good quality wooden tiles that have one of six different shapes and that shape is in one of six different colors. You can play as many tiles as you want on your turn as long as they are all of the same color or the same shape, without repeating tiles. Scoring is similar to games like scrabble where you get one point for every tile you played or added onto. And most importantly you get bonus points if you make it so a line has all of the different shapes or colors. When you manage that you get a Qwirkle - hence the name of the game.

The more times you play the game the more the game can change into something a little bit more cutthroat and strategic. The rules don't allow you to repeat a tile in a row or to play in such a way that doesn't match the tiles you are playing next to, because of those rules you are also able to create dead spaces on the table. You can abuse these rules to prevent people from getting high scoring plays. Although there is always the chance you will draw the tile to complete the Qwirkle that you just prevented from happening! There is only three of each tile so you can know whether or not someone will even be able to use a high scoring spot on the board late in the game.

Although some groups can play with that high level of competitiveness the game is just as fun if you play the game nicely just trying to score as many points as you can with the tiles you have drawn. 

The ease of playing the game and the fact it can be just as fun as a relaxing game as it is played very competitively make this a game that I doubt will ever leave my collection. Also while the box says the game is for 2 - 4 players there is no reason to limit it to 4 players. While each player will get fewer turns in larger games we have played as many as eight players around the table and still had a blast. Qwirkle is one of longest standing favorites and we were surprised it wasn't higher but this one will always be in our Top 100 - maybe the next time it will even be higher up!