Quartz Review

Quartz

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  • Designer: Sergio Halaban and Andre Zatz
  • Publisher: Passport Game Studios
  • Players: 3-5 Players
  • Age: 14+ (8+ with scoring help.)
  • Time to play: 45-50 Minutes

Hey folks! I’m back again with another game review. This time, we’re going down in the mine looking for gems. We’re trying not to strike out and leave with nothing. We might also try to sneak some of the competition’s gems if they aren’t looking. We’re looking at Quartz. This is a take that, push your luck, set collection game. We’re going mining, pulling gems from a bag, and trying to make the most money at the end of the game.

Components

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  • 84 Coin Tokens
  • 68 Plastic Gems
  • 55 Mining Cards
  • 6 Experience Tokens
  • 5 Chest Cards
  • 5 Mine Carts
  • 1 Main Board
  • 1 Cloth Bag
  • 1 Day Marker
  • Rule Book

Mining Cards – These come in blue and purple colored cards. The blue cards can be played as your action for the turn.  Purple cards can be played in response to the blue card.

Gems – These come in different colors. Black are obsidian. You don’t want obsidian.

Set Up

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  1. Place the Main Board in the center of the table with the day marker on 1.
  2. Place the coins and experience tokens near the board
  3. Place all the gems in the bag, give it several shakes.
  4. Give each player a mine cart.
  5. Give each player a chest card.
  6. Shuffle all the mining cards and deal 5 to each player. Put the remainder near the board.

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Game Play

At the beginning of the round, place mining cards on the board, there should be one less than the number of players. Take coins and place them on the cards on the board. No coins on the first space, then 1, 2, and lastly 3 coins. These are bravery bonuses.

Pick a first player, and they go first.

On a players turn, they can do one of three actions before it’s the next players turn.

1. Mine a crystal (Draw a random gem from the bag and place it in your mine cart.)

Obsidian is bad. It breaks easy, is sharp, and thus causes accidents. The first obsidian you mine is okay.

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The second one you draw causes an accident. You lose all your gems for the day, and take an experience token.

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My Dwarf is a little rusty. I think this is “Mining for idiots”

If you have an accident, and there’s an available bravery bonus it is discarded.

Experience tokens can be turned in to discard an obsidian gem from your cart. If you still have one at the end of the 5th day, you can sell this for $3.

2. Play an action Card, resolve it, then place it in the discard pile.

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Cards with a blue background are action cards. These can be played on your turn.

Cards with a purple background are reaction cards. These can be played as a response to action cards.

3. Leave the Mine.

You flip your mine cart over and leave the mine.

If you leave the mine while there are two other miners still in, you get a bravery bonus. You take the card and coins furthest to the left on the day board.

If there are two miners left, and one has an accident then the other miner gets the bravery bonus. There’s no rewards for reckless miners. If there are no accidents, it goes to the miner to last leave the mine. Once there is one miner left, the workday is over. No more mining.

If using the “What a thrill” variant, instead of stopping the work day, the last miner can forfeit the bravery bonus and keep mining. Remember, the second obsidian causes you to lose everything.

Selling

A miner can keep up to two crystals on their chest card. This will help you collect and get those bonuses for sets.

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Sell any crystals in your mine cart for the price indicated. Different sets will earn you different bonuses. A miner can only use one bonus a day, so choose carefully.

  • Set of 3 of the same color – Sell another crystal color at double price for the round.
  • Set of 4 of the same color – Sell another two crystal colors at double price for the round.
  • Selling a set of 5 different color crystals – Get an additional $8 bonus.
  • Selling a set of 6 different color crystals – Get an additional $12 bonus.

In the example above, the three green stones are sold. I pick a color gem to double when selling. I chose blue.

End of round clean up

  1. End the Round and start a new day by doing the following.
  2. Return all sold crystals back to the bag.
  3. Advance the day marker up a day.
  4. Deal one mining card to all players.
  5. Add new mining cards and coins to the board.
  6. Flip everyone’s mining cart to the starting side.
  7. The last player to leave the mine starts the round.

Play goes on until the end of the 5th day. Then all gems are still sold. No use trying to save gems for a 6th day. Any cards left in your hand are worth the amount in the upper left corner of the card. Experience tokens are work $3. The player with the most money wins!

Final Thoughts

 

I really like the components in this game.  Okay, if it’s not dice or meeples that I like. It’s a nice bag mechanic.  In this one, it combines nice plastic gems in a press your luck game.  There’s just something about the anticipation of what you drew from the bag that I like.  The gems are nice sized. Not too big, and not too small.

I enjoyed the cards. The art on them and the names of the cards I find are comical. They are the standard quality you find in most board games. The player boards and the main board are nice and thick.

I found the coins a little lacking in the visual component.  They come in different values. 1, 5, 10, and 50.  While I don’t have a problem with this amount, it’s the execution of the components that I didn’t like too much.  Each one has the same backing. It’s easy to confuse the values if they are flipped.  It’s a little thing, but something that can be frustrating when trying to clean up or sort them out.

Game play combines press your luck and take that.  It’s easy to set up and explain the rules. I like that on your turn, you have one of three things to do. I played this game before I played Quacks of Quedlinburg. Both games feature press your luck and drawing from a bag. There’s something exhilarating about what you’re about to pull out. Is it going to be that rare amber stone?  Is it that worthless obsidian? It reminds me of booster packs from Magic the Gathering. Not knowing what you’re about to get, but hoping it’s something good and not another basic forest.

It’s the mining cards and the take that aspect of the game that I think makes it shine.  This is a brutal game if you play it that way.  Sure, you can save those cards and get more money at the end of the game.  But it’s more fun to use them and screw with other miners.  There’s one in there that you force another miner to draw two gems. You keep one gem, and they keep one gem. Sounds nice right?  What’s that?  I drew a ruby and an obsidian.  But I already have an obsidian. You’re taking the ruby? That means I have two obsidian and bust. Or the mining card that lets you throw the obsidian at another miner’s cart.  Only to be countered and thrown back.  It’s a lot of fun and reminds me of Red Dragon Inn where you’re going back and forth during the game play. That’s what I like, this could have easily been more of a solitary game, but the addition of mining cards makes this have high player interaction.

The end of the round scoring can seem a little confusing.  You get one bonus, so pick the best one.  Also, if you’re changing an amount, make sure it’s not just the highest value.  If you have 4 gems worth $3 and 1 gem worth $4, it makes more sense to double the $3 gems. $24 is greater than $8. Then I like that you can save gems in your chest for later rounds.

Overall, Quartz hits all the things I like in a fun take that game.  The components are nice, the artwork is comical, but more importantly the game is just mean.  It’s mean and brutal in the greatest way possible.  If you don’t like high player interaction and take that elements I don’t think you’ll like this one.  If you like the player interaction, and messing with other people I think you’d enjoy this game.

Bonus!

Like the idea of the game, but not sold on the fantasy dwarf theme?  Well, you’re in luck!  Quart has been re-implemented as a Disney’s Snow White themed game. Sure, they are dwarfs, but not the ones that look like they could be from a D&D game but the cartoony goofy ones seen in the movie. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Gemstone Mining Game.  While I haven’t played this one, the goal is the same.  Make the most money, go mining, and don’t bust.  Personally, I’m more of a fan of Quartz than the Disney version. That’s just my preference though.  I can see Disney fans wanting this one instead.

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