Quarrel lets up to four players battle it out across one of several different areas.
It’s always fun playing classic games, video game based or traditional. Games like Bejeweled are ridiculously easy to pick up and play, but can suck you in. Adding other gameplay mechanics to Bejeweled that normally shouldn’t belong, like RPG elements for instance, sound like a recipe for disaster yet instead we get amazing games like Puzzle Quest. The latest game to add a new twist to an old game is Quarrel, a downloadable title for Xbox Live Arcade (and iOS) that combines elements of Scrabble with turn based strategy games. Read on to find out if this game is a high scorer or if it spells out disaster.
Quarrel lets up to four players battle it out across one of several different areas, with territories divided up between all of the players. Players then take turns moving groups of their units to other territories in order to take them over, with the ultimate goal of owning all territories. When two players battle it out, they are both given the same set of 8 letters and must spell out a word. Each letter has a point value, much like In Scrabble where more common letter have low point values whereas less commonly used letters such as “Q” or “X” net more points. The player who has the highest scoring word wins the battle, or in the case of tied point values, the player who created their word the fastest. However, the amount of troops that you send to attack/defend a territory determines how many letters your word can contain. So, sending out 3 units to attack an area holding 5 units isn’t very wise as you can’t use quite as many letters. Victories allow you to capture territories, enemy units, and treasure which allows you to call in extra units to help out in a pinch.
Quarrel can get to be pretty addicting as entire matches can last anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes, depending on how well you can form words. As a nice bonus, a ticker at the bottom of the screen will display dictionary information about the player’s words which adds a neat edutainment factor to the game. Furthermore, the game itself is very easy to get into and learn the rules, which makes it a great game to share and play with friends. On top of that, there are several single player modes including a campaign-style mode, free-play mode, and several challenges to tackle. The only problem with the game is that the AI can go from ridiculously stupid to smart at the drop of a hat. When battles come down to the speed tiebreaker, it seems the AI opponents always win. Though, this complaint is a small one and doesn’t detract from the game too much.
Quarrel is a quick, fun game that you can easily start up and play, whether you’re bored and just want to play a round or you want to give your brain a simple workout. Thankfully, the game is priced at a mere 400 Microsoft Points ($5) which is a steal for a game that has so much replay value.
Final Score: 8