Qlever Qubes: A Q-bitz Extreme Review
2-4 Players, 30 Minutes, Medium Complexity, Medium Strategy, Ages 8+
There’s nothing quite like a good brainteaser. That pleasant tickle at the back of your skull when you’re onto something big, or when those pieces are about to slide into place... there’s something magical about that “eureka” moment where everything falls into place, and it gets so, so much better when you’re the first to figure it out and you get to smugly explain it to family and friends. A lot of board games work on this basic premise, but Q-bitz Extreme is the only one I’ve seen that takes it completely literally, offering players a unique spatial puzzle that’s challenging for kids and highly competitive for adults!
This game makes my eyes happy and my brain angry
Q-bitz plays like a classic game of tangrams; every round, players will arrange their set of multi-coloured cubes into the pattern shown on a card. The trick is that up to three other players are trying to do the same thing first, which means every second counts, every mistake is critical, and each of the eight rounds is filled with tension as everyone scrambles to get a leg up on the competition!
In each round, players will race to replicate the card in the middle of the table with a set of 16 cubes. Each cube has six faces with different patterns and orienting and arranging them on a time-limit can be surprisingly tricky. Additionally, the rounds have slightly modified rule sets to keep things fresh (although, you can play with whichever rules you would like, of course!). In the first and fifth rounds, you simply recreate the card in the middle of the table, but in rounds two and six, you aren’t allowed to pick up and spin the cubes, instead you have to roll them and hope you get the right sides! In rounds three and seven, the card is only visible for ten seconds at the start of the round, and you have to memorize it as closely as possible before it’s flipped over and hidden. In rounds four and eight, you have to replicate the INVERSE of what the card says, swapping the black areas and the coloured areas, which is a lot more difficult than it sounds. In any of the rounds, the first person to accurately finish and yell “Q-bitz” wins the round and the card! The winner is simply the player with the most cards at the end of the game!
Perfect patterns for puzzle perfectionists
Perhaps the best part of Q-bitz are the thoughtfully designed and wonderfully tactile pieces. Everything in the box (with the understandable exception of the cards) is made from wood and paint, no plastic to be seen. The cubes have a nice weight to them, are easy to fidget with, and fit perfectly into the tray when you’re setting up the puzzle solutions. It’s a wonderful presentation, and something I wish we’d see more of in games.
Wonderful Wooden Bits!!
Pattern-matching games aren’t a new phenomenon, but playing one head-to-head, in real-time, without a traditional turn order elevates the premise to new heights. There’s a lot of energy in this game, and it’s something that will immediately appeal to kids. There’s plenty here for fast-fingered adults too, however, and I think Q-bitz Extreme is the sort of game that appeals to kids of all ages.