ASTRA 2014: A Virtual Tour for the Casual Gamer | Casual Game Revolution

ASTRA 2014: A Virtual Tour for the Casual Gamer: Page 4 of 9

ASTRA Marketplace & Academy

Dice Games from Gamewright, Gryphon, and Griddly Games

At ASTRA, there were dice. Lots and lots of dice. Many of the dice games at the show seemed rather bland. Others were much better, such as Pass the Pandas by Playroom Entertainment, in which players roll to try to get rid of their dice (passing each panda rolled to another player). Here are a few more that especially caught my attention.


Qwixx is a new dice game by Gamewright for which only the box was on display. However, after it was announced as a Spiel des Jahres nominee last year, I had the opportunity to play it and really enjoyed it — I am glad to see it entering the U.S. market. In the game, each player has a scoresheet with 4 rows of colors, each numbered in ascending order (2-12) or in descending order (12-2). To score points, players must mark off as many numbers on their scoresheet as possible; however, a number can only be marked off if it is to the right of all of the other marked numbers in the row.

On a turn, a player rolls 6 dice (2 white dice and 4 of each color on the scoresheet). All other players can choose to mark off the sum of the white dice on any row, then the active player can choose to mark off the sum of the white die and one colored die in the row of that color. In this way, everyone has the opportunity to mark off a number, even if it is not their turn. Rows can be locked by a player if they mark off the 2 or 12 in a row that has at least 5 total marks in that row. After two rows are locked, the game ends and points are scored. The player with the highest score wins.

Petite Pastiche and Cubist

Pictured above in the Gryphon booth are the new "petite" version of Pastiche (which offers a lower price point than the original) and Cubist, a game that saw success on Kickstarter awhile back. In Cubist, players build structures out of dice, trying to complete various sculptures in an art museum to earn points. On a turn, a player rolls 2 dice and places them in his studio as raw materials. The dice from this area are then used to create sculptures. Dice with identical numbers can be stacked on top of one another, while dice with with adjacent numbers are placed next to each other.

Show Me the Kwan

At the Griddly Games booth was a game called Show Me the Kwan. The name is a little strange, but the gameplay of this party/dice game is simple. A category is selected and all of the dice are rolled. All but one of the dice contain letters of different point values. The other die indicates whether the 1st, 2nd, or last letter of a word will be used this round. After setting the timer, players try to come up with words in the category that contain a letter in the indicated position that matches one of the dice on the table. For instance, if "2nd" was rolled and I said the word "skate," I could take the 'K' die from the center of the table and keep it for myself (since 'K' is the 2nd letter in the word "skate").

A player can also pause the game if he is ready to "show the Kwan" — saying 3 different words with the indicated letter in the 1st, 2nd, and last positions, respectively. If he succeeds, he earns 5 points and the round immediately ends. Since this is a speed game where all players play simultaneously, trying to come up with the Kwan can cost valuable time as the other players scoop up letters.

Next Page: Party Games from Wiggles 3D, Playroom, and Endless Games