The best of board games are generally those which fall into the abstract strategy category, well at least in my mind they are.
What are sometimes referred to as ‘perfect-information’ games are the best-of-the-best. Like chess or arimaa or hive, both players know exactly what the other player has at their disposal.
Then there is Quartex, a new offering from CSE Games, a Canadian company which has produced some solid offerings in recent years.
After selecting your initial tiles, you pull five from the bag, you begin playing your tiles by matching and placing them beside other tiles already in play. If your tile completes a four-corner shape, you earn a point token of that colour.
“The 55 unique tiles have symbols on each corner. The symbol for each corner is the same on both sides, giving you a mirror image of the tile simply by flipping it over. There are four different symbols that could appear on each corner of a tile. When a symbol from one corner is matched with the same symbols from the corners of three other tiles, the four corners form the following shapes, a purple X, a turquoise star, a red diamond or a yellow circle,” explains the rules.
“Choose one of the tiles you have behind your shield. Place it on the table against the edge of at least one tile currently in play. Each edge of a tile can only touch one other tile and the symbols on all touching edges and opposing corners must match exactly.”
When you complete a four-point match, you gain a token of the matching colour.
The game continues until the tile bag, and players are no longer able to play any of their already drawn tiles.
What I particularly like about Quartex is the method of scoring, which reminds somewhat of that used by Gute Nachbarn by Alex Randolph one of the best-known of recent game developers.
In the case of Quartex, “each token a player has in front of his or her shield is equal in value to the number of unclaimed tokens of the corresponding colour. For example, if there are three purple, two red, six yellow and no turquoise tokens left, then the purple tokens are worth three points each, the red tokens are worth two each, the yellow tokens are worth six each and the turquoise tokens are worth zero,” details the rules.
The ever changing value of the scoring tokens creates many tough in-game scoring choices, and allows for some good comeback wins.
Quartex is nice in that it plays for two-to-five players, so has good versatility in that regard, and a rule set which is simple enough to learn quickly, yet the game plays with its share of decisions to make which can truly influence a player’s ultimate fate.
Check it out at www.csegames.com