I have a confession to make; I have a dexterity game problem. When I see a game that has some sort of physical element that allows me to flick, flip, throw, or hit something I instantly want to play it. I blame my kids for this evolution in my gaming interest. With two kids under four, just about any activity we do together ends up devolving into one of the actions listed above. That leads us to the game we will be looking at today, Cube Quest. In this game, players will take control of two rival kingdom’s armies looking to destroy their opponent’s king. Players will attempt to do this by flicking their collection of plastic cubes at their rivals. Is this game as good as the other dexterity games in my collection? Read on.
Cube Quest is a two player combat dexterity game that can be played in less than fifteen minutes.
The game centers on the same issue that has caused wars, countries to fall, and families to be divided; red vs. blue. The game starts with each player placing cubes of their color onto their half of the board. Players can arrange these in any way they like with the only requirement that that the king has to be placed in their castle. Players will take turn flicking their troops with the hope of knocking their opponent’s king cube off the board. The first player to do this wins the game.
Let’s talk about the cubes you will be hitting around. They are slightly bigger than normal six sided die thus make them easier to hit with your finger. They are also hollow making the force felt on your finger from impact minimal. Placed on each side of the cubes is a sticker showing representing a type of unit. This works fine, but I would rather have something that was engraved rather than just a sticker.
The two game boards are made of a soft mouse pad material which is ideal for this game. If it was a more ridged material you could scuff your finger if you miss hit the cubes. It also slows cubes down as they are tumbling across and giving them the opportunity to stay on the game board. There is a major problem with the way the decided to ship this game though. In order to fit into the box, they had to fold these game mats in half. With the material they used, there was a huge mound in the middle of the boards when I placed them on the table. In a game that requires accuracy this was quite a disappointment. I looked online to see if it was a common problem and it is. I contacted the publisher asking the best way to fix this issue, and they offered to send me new ones. These were shipped in a tube and were perfectly flat. I want to give a big thank you to the customer service department at GameWright who fixed a big disappointment when I got the game.
How to Play:
At the start of the game players will construct the game board by placing the two halves together to form one continuous terrain. Each of these halves has artwork of rolling hills of the kingdoms landscape and a castle which should be located closest to the players. Players will then get their set of cubes and decide on who they want to go to battle. The game comes with six different dice to mix with your king die. Each of these unit types has different special abilities ranging from bringing dice back on the board, being able to flick them twice, ones that are not easily captured and even ones that can go into hiding. The rule book has a suggested unit mix for your first game, but once you played once you can start mixing and matching the different units. All the unit types have a cost value and players will need to stay under 40 points to have a valid army.
Once both players have their troops ready, place the game box on the seam of the game board and start placing cubes around your kingdom mat. The only rule with this set up is that the king has to be placed in the castle. The rest of your units can be placed in a line, spread apart, form a wall, or whatever else you come up with. After the cubes are set, remove the box and start playing.
On a player’s turn, they will decide on a cube they want to attack with and flick it at their opponent’s cubes. After the dust has settled, any die (attacking one included), that has left the game board is defeated and out of the game. If the attacking cube ends its movement in the opponent’s territory you must look at the face up side. If the side is a regular icon, it says on the board. If it has a silhouette of the unit image that die is now captured. When this happens, you must roll the die off the game board for a release roll. If the roll produces a shadow image, the die is defeated and removed from the game. If the regular icon is rolled, the piece is placed in the attacking player’s castle and is able to be used to attack next turn. This will continue until one player has successfully knocked their opponent’s king off the game board and win the game.
The first time I opened the box, I was really disappointed. When I first heard about the game, I loved the concept. Just simply flicking cubes at your opponent’s collection made me think of the games of paper football and Crokinole I played when I was younger. I was eager to play it, but the warped shape of the game mats just made me sad. I have tried to remove the crease in every way I could think of, but they would not lay as flat as I would like them. However, once I started playing the game with the flat replacement mats Gamewright sent me, and I was glad I stuck with the game.
The game mechanics are about as simple as you can get in a board game. This simplicity allows you to quickly teach and set up the game in less than five minutes. This makes the game very accessible for both kids and adults. When I first started playing I thought that I wouldn’t have to make many strategic decisions in the game. I was wrong about that and that is what makes this game memorable. It takes a great design to have a simple game have as much depth as this one. This comes through in the very first thing you will do in the game, setting up your armies.
The only requirement is that you set your king in the castle on your half of the game mat. This allows you to try different formations each game. I have tried everything from making a cube wall defense, spreading them out as evenly as possible and even stacking cubes on top of each other. Admittedly, almost any setup is a decent one as long as you place your cubes in front of the king piece, but this freedom makes the setup of a game more interesting than most other games.
During the game you will have to make the decision to be offensive or defensive when you flick. Most of the time you will be attempting to clear your opponent’s king cube off the game board or remove a cube that has made its way onto your half of the board. However, there are moments where that is not the best strategy and it’s better to move a cube to block the path of least resistance to your King. These are not difficult decisions to make but they allow a little more decision making before you take your action.
I really enjoyed the advanced play option to build your army. This allows you to feel like you are building this army that you are commanding. Players must decide if they want to select a bunch of cheap units, go with ones that are more expensive but get captured less, or ones with special abilities. The different abilities and cost for the cubes allows you to build to your play style. You can easily be more aggressive or defensive by the makeup of the cubes. I do wish there were more types of cubes in the game. With only six types your armies are a little limited in the special and unique actions they can complete. I would love an expansion pack that adds more opportunities for variability to your troops. However, there is plenty in the game to mix and match the units until you find something that works for you.
All of these interesting aspects of this game are great and make it much deeper than one would assume. Sure, it isn’t euro or war game complexity, but it adds more than the normal dexterity game. The unfortunate thing about the game is that even though you can plan and build the best army, it doesn’t mean you will win. This is a known fact in just about any dexterity game. I have played games where I thought I was in good shape, but then a ricochet causes my king to be off the table first. This can be extremely frustrating and especially if it happens early in the game. Luckily, the games are very easy to reset and if this happens you can quickly start another game.
As you play more games, you will encounter many turns that you will laugh at the outcome. This happens because despite how easy it would seem to flick a cube accurately, it isn’t. Many times you can be at point blank range and I end up sending my cube off the game board without hitting anything. Even though I enjoy the game from a strategic standpoint, it is this element that makes a dexterity game great. It is ability to have these moments of failure and unexpected triumph that makes the events of dexterity games stick with you long after the game is over.
Overall, Cube Quest is a solidly designed game. Even though the game mechanics are very simple there is a surprising amount of depth to the game. With ability to customize your army, variable setup and different strategies during the game allows for you play the game many times and get a new experience.
Despite all the praise for the game, the issues with the mats can’t be ignored. It’s too bad that such a well-designed game is marred by how they decided to ship the game. However, I still think the game is worth purchasing because of the superior customer service at GameWright will send you replacement mats. Cube Quest fits a nice niche for me in my collection of dexterity games, because I find that both Coconuts and Click Clack Lumberjack play better with more the two people. Cube Quest allows me to play a quick dexterity game with the first person that shows up for game night, my wife, or as a quick filler between other games. If you are looking for a new dexterity game and can deal with the potential component problems, consider picking up Cube Quest.
If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, it’s about $20.
Final Score: 3 Stars – A surprisingly strategic two player dexterity game that, despite some component issues, is a joy to play.
• Issues with game mats
• Some randomness when it comes to the results of attacks