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Qwarks Wanted: A Smashing Good Time!

Qwarks Wanted Box

Qwarks Wanted from Editions Smile
(All Photos of Editions Smile products were taken and edited by KristaG)

Attention all Qwark Hunters! Designer Gregory Detrez and artist Henri Kermarrec are back with a new game centering on those cute and quirky Qwarks! Much like with the original 2017 release of Qwarks, Qwarks Wanted is a 2-6 player card game that makes players use their heads and their hands as they compete against each other in real time using simultaneous gameplay. In this particular party game, however, Qwark Hunters will have to pay more attention and use not only their memories, but their sharp eyes to pick out the proper Qwarks, “Prootons”, and “Nootrons” in this “scientifake” game of speed!

Qwarks Box

Qwarks, the first game in the series.

Qwarks and Qwarks Wanted are both products of Editions Smile. They both feature colorful and adorable illustrations by Henri Kermarrec who has also worked on games such as Agents Secrets, Million Club, and Bubble Bomb (which he also designed!). In addition to his Qwarks games, Gregory Detrez has designed several other party games including Art Express and, my personal favorite, Sketch It! This is more or less where the similarities between the two games end, however. Qwarks Wanted is a fully independent, standalone game. Though the components and concepts are similar, Qwarks Wanted is not an expansion, but a whole different experience.

Qwarks Wanted Set Up

A 3-player example set up.

Setting up a game of Qwarks Wanted actually takes less time to do than to explain and the game itself doesn’t take up much space at all! There are 2 different types of cards in Qwarks Wanted: Qwark cards and Criterion cards. Each of these card types has its own respective deck. These decks should be shuffled separately. From the Qwark deck, each player is dealt 2 cards before the deck is placed face down to form a draw deck. Within view of all players, 4 cards are dealt vertically face up into a row from the Criterion deck. The rest of the deck is placed perpendicularly adjacent to this row of cards. The top card is then flipped face up to reveal which criteria will be forbidden for the round. The score tokens are left in the box, but the box itself is also placed nearby. That’s literally all there is to it! As the game is played simultaneously by all players, there isn’t really a “first player,” so the game is already ready to play. For our games, though, we do try to designate a player to “lead the hunt” before we get the game going. This makes it easier to know who to listen to or watch for the signal to flip cards.

Qwarks Wanted Cards

This particular card meets 3 of the Criterion and has none of the Forbidden Criterion. Can you determine how many possible points it could be worth?

Qwarks wanted is played over several rounds until a player reaches 10 points. Each round is made up of 2 phases: The Hunt and The Checking. Once all players have their cards, a random player signals the start of the first phase and all simultaneously flip over their 2 Qwark cards. Each player then quickly chooses any visible Qwark (it does not have to be their own) to cover with 1 hand. This card should be the card that they deem to have the most wanted criterion based on the 4 Criterion cards and have none of the Forbidden Criterion. Once a player chooses a card, they can not choose another one for that round. As this is a game that is meant to be played quickly, the 2nd-to-last player is granted a 3-second window to find a card once they find themselves without one. If they fail to do so, they are out for the round. Once the last player has chosen a card, The Checking phase begins. The fastest player is the first player who gets to speak. Using their memory as best they can, they have to name which of the desired Criterion they’ve covered with their hand. The more they can name, the more points they have a chance of scoring once they reveal their card. Play passes to the left and each player gets a chance to earn points. Should any of the cards feature the Forbidden criteria, that player earns no points. Once all cards are scored, the game is reset and a new round begins. The game also includes rules a difficult mode where players must also identify if their cards were “Prootons” or “Nootrons” as well as rules for Qwarks Wanted Junior; a game for Qwark Hunters as young as 6!

Both Qwarks and Qwarks Wanted are a ton of fun. The games are quick, easy, and playable by anyone. They are also both small enough that they are extremely portable. Due to all of this, I’ve actually started using them both as ice breakers for my training sessions at my day job because it gets people talking and laughing together while they play. The only real downside is, as I stated above, Qwarks Wanted is completely standalone. While I don’t view this as necessarily being a strike against Qwarks Wanted or Qwarks itself, it does leave me with a few questions about why the choice was made to keep the games from being compatible with each other if players wanted to. Qwarks and Qwarks Wanted both work well as quick filler games or something to play with the kids or a group of casual gamers. Though classified as a “party game,” I still found it to be a challenge at times due to the memory aspect. As of the time of this review, the Qwarks Wanted crowdfunding campaign is not yet currently live on Kickstarter, but I feel that if you’re a fan of games such as Jungle Speed or 11:59, you will love either of the Qwarks games!

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