Qwixx is a proprietary dice game developed by Steffen Benndorf in 2012. The game received critical acclaim in Germany and The Netherlands, where it won numerous Game of the Year Prizes.
The game is produced by Nürnburger-Spielkarten-Verlag (Nurnberg Card-Game Publishing Company), also known as NVS for short. The game’s English version is licensed and distributed in the United States by Gamewright, another Table-Top Publisher.
How to Play Qwixx?
Qwixx is a game intended for four Players. Less can play if there are not more available, but there must be at least two Players in order to truly enjoy the game.
As Qwixx is a proprietary game, NVS/Gamewright develops and sells a full kit that contains all of the necessary components for playing a game. Included in this kit:
- A bundle of scoresheets
- Two white six-sided dice
- Four colored six-sided dice, in red, blue, green, and yellow.
Understanding the Scoresheet
Before playing, one should look at the scoresheet to understand some basic rules about Qwixx. There are four rows of colored numbers, matching the colors of the dice. Two of these rows go high to low (Green and Blue), while the other two go low to high (Red and Yellow). These rows have boxes, numbered 2-12, or 12-2.
The 2 of the Green and Blue and the 12 of the Red and Yellow have a “Lock” on them, visible next to the number.
The aim of the game is to mark these boxes once they match with the corresponding dice roll. Players can only mark numbers that are to the right of their previous mark.
- If the 6 is marked on the Blue Row, then Players may only mark 5, 4, 3, and 2 if at least 5 boxes have been marked.
- On the Red Row, where numbers go up, if the 6 is marked, Players would only be able to mark 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12.
- Players can never mark a number to the left of their previous mark.
Determining Turn Order
Players begin the game by rolling for turn order. The Player that rolls the highest will take the first turn, with all other turns following subsequently in clockwise order.
First Dice Roll
The Player taking their turn collects six of the dice and rolls them all.
The first thing they do is declare the sum total of the two white dice. All Players, including the active Player taking their turn, are allowed to mark any matching number in any row.
For example, if the two white dice show a 5, Players can mark the 5 box in any of their colored rows. They may only do this for one of the rows. Players are not required to do so, however, for this “Wild-card” roll.
Once the white dice have been declared, and Players have marked or not marked per their own prerogative, the active Player who rolled the dice will then combine one of the white dice with one of the colored dice. They may choose either white die, and whichever color they wish.
This combined total is then marked in the appropriately colored row.
- So, if the Player takes their white die of 2 and a blue die of 3, they would mark the Blue 5 on their scoresheet.
- This would prevent them from marking anything else in the blue row, except for the 4, 3, and 2.
Although the Wild-Card roll is optional, the active Player is required to mark this combination.
If the Player is completely unable to make any kind of legal mark, then they must mark themselves down for a penalty on their scoresheet in the penalty section.
Each penalty reduces the Player’s final score by 5. Players can receive a maximum of 4 penalties, at which point the game immediately ends. Only the Player who rolled may take this combination mark.
Players that successfully mark a 12 in the red and yellow rows, or a 2 in the blue and green rows, will be able to “lock” the row. When a row is locked, that corresponding dice color is removed, and will not be rolled until a new game begins.
Players can only mark a row when they have at least 5 other marks within the same row. So, the Red 12 cannot be marked until there are 5 other marks in the Red row.
For the remainder of the game. Players will be unable to mark boxes in this locked row. So, if Player 1 marks the Green 2, and locks the row, Players will no longer be able to mark any numbers in their Green row.
Once the active Player has marked this combination roll, their status as active ends and the turn order shifts the active status onto the next clockwise Player.
Ending the Game
A game of Qwixx ends when:
- A Player receives 4 penalties, OR;
- When two rows have been locked.
At this point, Players should direct their attention to the very bottom of the score sheet.
There are four color-coded boxes, corresponding with the rows, and a white box. The sheet should look something like this:
(Red) + (Yellow) + (Green) + (Blue) – (White) = (Total Score)
The method of scoring Qwixx will be explained further below, in the scoring section. However, generally speaking, Players are granted a score in each row for each mark within that row.
So, the number of marks in the red row will determine the red score. Players combine all of their colored scores, and then subtract five points for each penalty that they assumed during the game.
After the total score for each row is added together, and subtracted by the penalties, the Player has their final score. Players compare their final scores, and the highest scoring Player at the end of this comparison is the overall winner of the game.
There is a score table at the bottom of the scoresheet, showing the conversion rate between marks and score. Given below is this table:
|Number of Marks||Relative Score|
Players tally together the appropriate number of marks in each row, and then convert that into the score for the equation at the bottom of the score sheet.
So, for example, Player 1 has 4 marks in their red row, 5 in the yellow, 2 in the green, and 2 in the blue. They also have 2 penalties.
This makes the equation as follows:
(10) + (15) + (3) + (3) – (10)=(21)
So, a Player with the above conditions would therefore have a score of 21.
Locked rows gain a +1 to the mark total. So, if a Player has 3, 5, 7, and 12 marked in the Red row, the 12 will lock the row. Since the row is locked, and there are 4 marks in the row, the Player would receive 5 marks for the Locked Red row, for a total of 15 points.
Qwixx Rules Summary
A summary of the game’s rules can be found below:
- Players do not need to mark the wild-card roll, but they must mark their combination roll.
- If they do not mark their combination roll, either by choice or by necessity, they must mark themselves for a penalty.
- Players roll all of the dice in the game during their turn.
- If a row is locked, its dice are removed from the game and will not be rolled anymore.
- The game ends when a Player receives 4 penalties in a single game, or when two rows have been locked.
- Locked rows count for an extra mark, granting one more to the total marks in that given row.
Suppose that it is your turn, no rows are locked, and you have the red 3, and blue 9 marked.
You roll the six dice:
- White 1: 2
- White 2: 5
- Yellow: 4
- Green: 2
- Blue: 6
- Red: 1
Firstly, you must declare the sum of the white dice for the wild-card roll. This sum is 7. You may mark any 7 that you wish, so long as it is a legal move. Even though the Blue has rolled a 6, it is not yet marked. The Wild-Card roll always takes place before the combination.
Regardless of your choice, a combination must be made. Yellow does not make a good combination here. Your Yellow row is open, and marking 9 would prevent you from marking most of the Yellow Row.
The best options available are the Blue 8, so long as the Wild Card was not taken, and the Red 3. These are both marks to the left of their row, which means they will not prevent you from marking other numbers to the right in subsequent rolls.
Strategy and Tips
Always try to mark numbers as far left in the row as possible. The further to the right that you mark, the more of the row that you have blocked from being marked.
Since you cannot mark anything to the left of a previous mark, once you have passed a certain point in the row, you can never return. There is no reason to mark the Blue 3 at the start of the game. It will hurt you far more than it will help you.
The aim of the game is not rolling high numbers, but rather achieving the highest number of marks. As such, do not focus on forming combinations with high face value. No extra score is given for having more high-value combinations, only for the number of marks in each row.
In theory, the best game of Qwixx begins with low combination rolls, and ramps up into higher combination rolls, such that Players can maximize the number of marks on their scoresheet.