This week my husband and I were invited a board game night, where we played Quelf for the first time.
Quelf is a party game for 3-8 players, aged 12 and over. According to the official Quelf website;
there is only one rule… obey the card.
Basically players roll the dice, land on a coloured square, and draw a card of the corresponding colour. Once the card is drawn, the player (or possibly all the players) have to perform whatever daft task is written on the card, or pay a penalty by moving back a designated number of spaces.
There are five different types of card;
- Roolz (blue) – Sets rules that you, or everyone playing, must follow as long as the card is in play. Which might be for the rest of the game. If you get caught not following a rule, you get a penalty.
- Quizzle (green) – The player must answer the multiple choice question on the card correctly.
- Stuntz (yellow) – The player must carry out the physical challenge written on the card (e.g. staring competition)
- Showbiz (purple) – The player may have to dance, sing, act, mime, or write poetry, depending on the card.
- Scatterbrainz (red) – Everybody plays! The person who draws the card picks one of two categories available and the players take turns giving a valid answer to the category until someone can’t think a a valid answer (or takes 10 seconds to think of one). The person who first fails to give a valid answer pays the penalty.
You can choose from a range of quirky characters to play, so, for this week’s entry, I will be using these character names as the pseudonyms for my fellow party goers.
I played as Mrs. Pickle Feather.
On to the party! We were gathered to celebrate the birthday of our dear friend, Batbilig Chinzorig; Board game enthusiast, and all round good chap.
My other opponents included her Royal Highness Queen Spatula, Biscuit Farmer, The Dude, and of course my husband, Super Ninja Monkey.
With six players, and several bottles of wine, the game lasted a solid two and a half hours. Sadly Queen Spatula got off to a slow start, with both a low scoring die and challenging tasks working against her. At one point she was tasked with making up a word that used all letters of the alphabet, and reading it aloud to us without laughing. Unlike Queen Victoria however, our mirthful Quelf monarch was very much amused, and had to pay the giggling penalty. She did however make up some ground by successfully balancing a spoon on her nose whilst chanting ‘One-Mississippi, Two-Mississippi, Three-Mississippi…’, and a particularly energetic mime re-enacting a stumble down an elevator shaft.
After drawing a Showbiz card, The Dude was kind enough to write a heartwarming five line verse about me, and serenade us, opera style. I was later able to return the favour by composing a Shakespearean sonnet on the fly, and reciting it to her on bended knee. It was both beautiful and touching, but because she wasn’t moved to tears, I missed out on moving an additional two spaces forward on the board. What can I say? Some plebs just don’t appreciate good poetry.
Poor Batbilig spent much of the beginning of the game either in the kitchen, or running around playing host. However he was eventually able to join us proper, and was soon tasked with saying “Hear me, for I have spoken” after every statement he uttered. The melodramatic fist clenching he used to accompany this was entirely his own creation. I think. (At this point I was busy willing all the other players to go as fast as they could so that it would get to my turn and I could stop soaking my left hand in a bowl of warm water. Therefore I might not have been paying full attention when Batbilig read his card.)
On one of my later turns, Biscuit Farmer unexpectedly singled me out to interrupt with his Darth Vader impersonation, complete with heavy breathing and muttering about the Dark Side. Apparently my lack of faith disturbs him. He later had to answer all questions in the style of an angry gnome who had burned his cookies. I was not-so-secretly disappointed that he wasn’t instructed to amalgamate the two personae.
My darling Super Ninja Monkey was cursed with a streak of Roolz cards which compelled him to say the word ‘bleep’ or ‘bleeping’ in every sentence, cast the die a minimum of five feet away from the table, and raise his hand prior to each question. I also learned that he’s not a strong yodeler.
Oh, and at some point in the night we were all only allowed to refer to the die, cards, and pieces as ‘thingy’. Fortunately this was quite far into my bottle of wine, when I tend to refer to everything as thingy anyway, so it actually worked to my advantage.
VERDICT: I was, and still am, a little put off by “So trendy, it’s not” substitution of Z for S on the cards, and the insistence of some internet reviews that the game was ‘LOL! SO RANDOM!’, which came across as a little try hard. However if you’re prepared to laugh at yourself, and have a big enough group, Quelf is a fun party game that gamers of all level can play. It’s also a good little ice breaker (I’d never met Biscuit Farmer or Queen Spatula before, but by the end of the night conversation was in full flow, something that’s not always easy for me). Give it a shot at your next gathering!
What’s that? You want to know who won?