Our series of board games for couples reviews continues with Quantum, a dice-based abstract strategy game. Despite being a 2-4 player game, and recommended for 4 players, it is often cited as a decent 2 player game.
Setup is not difficult: select board, shuffle cards, roll dice. The dice are the most interesting part of the game because not only do you role them, they double as your spaceships in the game. The rules are fairly simple, but there is definitely a learning curve for each ship’s special ability and how they all relate. There are also cards, some of which are very powerful, that you’ll learn as you play.
The number of potential actions in this game is where complexity creeps in. We find that, like Mr. Jack, analysis paralysis is fairly common when deciding your strategy for the turn, especially later in the game. Unfortunately, this isn’t the kind of game where you can carry on a conversation while playing because of the amount of concentration required. We experimented with discussing our potential moves with each other, but that reveals a lot and also tends to slow the game down.
As mentioned above, conversation is difficult. When it’s not your turn, there’s really nothing you can do beyond watch and (tentatively) try to plan your next turn.
Quantum gameplay doesn’t involve sharing or trading pieces other than your ships occupying space on a single board. The main interaction is affecting each other’s ship placement and card selection, and the inevitable battles.
To win Quantum, a player must claim more planets than the opponent. In theory, you could do this peacefully without ever attacking your opponent’s ships; you just need to be faster. However, the game mechanics reward aggression: ties in battle go to the attacker, the attacker keeps their ship even if they lose, and winning battles can earn you a free planet anywhere on the board via something called “dominance”.
After a few playthroughs trying to avoid direct confrontation, I learned this the hard way and David encouraged me to play more aggressively. I proceeded to destroy him after that. But this level of confrontation and thwarting each other’s plans is definitely not our cup of tea.
Length: 60+ minutes
The box says 60+ minutes and we felt that to be true for our games.
Plenty of replayability here because you can change the boards up (or even make your own). However, the game play is essentially the same each play through: make cubes and destroy your opponent’s ships.
At $55-75, the game is a little more expensive than we would expect for the relatively simple components (cards & dice). The box is also needlessly large, which is somewhat of a pet peeve in our space-constrained world.
Quantum has potential with its space theme and unique dice/ship premise but ultimately fell short for us. Each play through feels the same: lots of strategic thinking with limited interaction other than direct confrontation.
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