Let’s focus on the rules for the dice game for now, since the differences between it and the card version are slight and I touch on them later. It all begins with six dice and a score sheet. In fact, that’s it, as far as equipment is concerned. The active player rolls the dice (two white, one red, one yellow, one green, and one blue) and announces the sum of the white dice. All players can then cross out that sum in any one of four colored rows on their score sheet, but only if there are no cross-outs to the right of the sum in the row they choose. (Two of the colored rows range from 2 to 12 in ascending order, and the other two range from 12 to 2 in descending order.)
At this point, the non-active players are done, but the active player can still decide if there’s a sum worth playing by adding one of the white dice to one of the colored dice. In this case, the colored die determines the color of the row that the sum can be played in. If neither the sum of the white dice nor the sum of one white die and one colored die is played, the active player must use one of four penalty boxes, each of which results in a subtraction of 5 points from the final score. Only the active player is at risk of needing to use a penalty box.
Once at least 5 numbers are crossed out in a single row on a player’s scoresheet, that player can lock the row by filling in the last space (either 12 or 2) and also crossing out the lock icon. A locked row cannot be used by any player for the rest of the game.
Know the End Goals
When it comes to strategizing with most tabletop games, you want to focus on the objective — what ends the game. In the case of QWIXX, that can be one of two things: two color rows are locked, or a player crosses out all four penalty boxes.
Logic dictates that you’d want to lock a row as soon as you can, but you can no longer cross off numbers in a locked row, so that’s worth factoring in. You must already have at least five numbers crossed off in that row or you wouldn’t be able to lock it. If you lock the row, an additional two squares will count in your favor, worth a potential 28 points. That’s just beyond the halfway mark on the scoring table. You can still win without being the player who locks the game-ending row if you just avoid those penalty boxes.
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