Before I begin, I was sent a prototype copy of the game, and will receive a production copy should it fund in exchange for an honest preview. This is not a paid preview. If you would rather watch a video of this preview check it out below. You can learn more here.
I am a sucker for fast moving 2-player games. I also think magnets are really cool, and I will always check out a game that talks about light and shadow…oooo creepy! So it was a pretty safe bet that I was going to be interested in Quin when I heard about it.
Quin is an interesting game to me, because it is definitely different than anything I have on my shelf. The difference is not that is uses magnets (I have Coloma after all), or because it deals with light and shadow (I have plenty of adventure games after all…though this one kind of is literally about light and shadow, not metaphorically). The difference is that I have never played a game with more variety of rules for each individual type of playing piece you have.
In Quin every single playing piece has its own paragraph of rules. This tells you how many spaces it can move, what special capturing, and movement rules it might have, and so on. The point behind all of it is, all of these pieces will allow you to get your “light” into the Iris, at the center of the board. Every other piece in the game will be assisting you in this quest.
Each turn you will get to move one of your pieces, of course moving your pieces will potentially give your opponent clues as to what type of piece you have, you see the base version of the game is set up where you cannot see the types of pawns your opponent has.
It is simple enough, whoever captures their opponents light first, or gets their light to the center of the board first will be the winner.
So what do I think?
The production on this game promises to be fantastic. The board is very attractive, and the magnetic board is certainly cool. There is something very cool about being able to, in theory, mount the game on the wall, and have a game that you can play vertically. (I will note that in the prototype the magnets were not quite strong enough to do this, but it was just a prototype)
I also really appreciate that the fine folks at Arch & Gravity, are clearly attempting to create a culture around this game. Everything about the strategy guide, and rules seem to be creating its own culture. I think this is pretty cool.
Finally, I always appreciate a game where the way each piece operates is unique and distinct.
This is a game with a significant learning curve. There is a real level of skill required to be successful at this game. I cannot imagine someone who has never played before beating a veteran of the game very often, if ever.
I found this game exceedingly hard to grasp. As I mentioned above they have striven to create a culture, and feeling behind the game. As such the rules are set out on a single card, which is all well and good, but you have to go into the strategy guide to understand how things actually work. This is where I had an issue.
You see the strategy guide is filled with ideas about quantum physics, and thoughts on the game, in addition each playing piece has 2-4 pages of explanation of how it works, and examples. On the one hand this is a good thing, but I found myself getting frustrated as I tried to figure out how the pieces worked, and I was constantly flipping through the strategy guide and cross referencing with the how to play card.
All the info you need is there, I just had a very hard time finding it in anything resembling rapidity.
Bringing it all together
Quin is an interesting game with a metric butt-ton of strategy. The designers clearly have a community that they envision playing the game, and everything about it. The production promises to be gorgeous, something that you could hang on your wall if you wanted. This is a game that you are going to get crushed if there is a imbalance in your experience levels. The game has a ton to offer, but I found it incredibly challenging to learn, and I can not swear that I fully understand it now.
Quantum physics is not about words
* Fascinating level of variety in how the pieces work
* Cool production in the prototype, which is very promising for the final version
* Attractive board, when combined with the magnetic components I could absolutely see hanging it on a wall and always having a game going, like with a chess board
* Designers have a very clear vision of what they want this game to be
* Extremely hard to learn, I struggled immensely, and am not confident I got it all right