Playing Qwirkle feels eerily like playing Scrabble without the letters. Tiles (oversized and black) crisscross the table much like the words on a Scrabble board. You don’t spell anything, since the tiles only show shapes, but there are obviously some restrictions on play.
Qwirkle tiles come in 6 colors – red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple – and 6 shapes – square, circle, diamond, star, sunburst, flower. There are 3 tiles of each possible combination.
You start with a hand of 5 tiles which you set up in front of you like dominoes. On your turn you may play tiles of the same color but different shapes, or you may play tiles of the same shape but different colors.
If you manage to finish a row or column of all 6 possible shape-color combinations, you’ve made a Qwirkle which scores double the normal point-per-tile.
Qwirkle is easy to learn even for younger children. Play is usually done leisurely; there’s little to be nasty about, which makes for a great game with those who like to socialize while playing.
One minor complaint about the Qwirkle tiles is that, under anything less than bright light, the red and orange tiles can be difficult to distinguish. You can’t see that problem in the picture here because of the flash from the camera. Still, that’s only a minor point, and you should really enjoy playing Qwirkle with friends and family.