Quartet Kings by Justice Hubbard and Sam Belkowitz
Introduction: Quartet Kings is a 4 player strategy game. Players represent rival gangs/factions. Each player begins with 15 movable pieces. Players can use their pieces to remove other players’ pieces from the game by landing on the same space as them. The game is won when a player has a piece on all four corners or is the last player remaining.
Set Up the Game: Each player draws a player card from oldest to youngest. Each player takes their assigned color pieces and sets them up based on the diagram below.
- One game board (12×12 with design)
- 15 pieces of each color: one labeled 5, two labeled 4, three labeled 3, four labeled 2, and five labeled 1
- 112 black tiles
- One six-sided die
- Four player cards
- Take turns clockwise, red goes first
- Players can only move one piece per turn
- Pieces move in any direction up to the amount shown on the piece and do not have to move in direct lines
- Players can remove other players’ pieces from the game by landing on other player’s pieces, movement stops when a piece is removed
- Players cannot land on black spaces
- Pieces cannot enter a space occupied by the same color
- Black tiles cannot be placed on grey spaces
- Do not place black tiles on the first turn
- Players cannot use their special ability until they lose a piece
How to take a turn
- Use your player card when it says to
- Move one piece
- Place a black tile on any empty white space
Red represents fire. Before moving each turn, the red player rolls a die. If the player rolls a 1, 2, or 3, the number rolled equals the burn distance for the turn. After rolling, the player declares which piece is “on fire” for the turn. The piece that is “on fire” is the piece that will be moved. If the piece moves and another player’s piece goes within the burn distance, the other player’s piece is “burnt” and removed from the game. Once the piece burns another piece movement ends and the red player places a black tile. If the player rolls a 4, 5, or 6, no piece is set on fire and the turn is normal. A piece cannot be set on fire in consecutive turns unless there are only 3 or less red pieces remaining in the game.
Dark blue represents water. Dark blue pieces can enter spaces occupied by other dark blue pieces, but cannot land on a space occupied by another dark blue piece.
Light blue represents air. After regular movement, roll the die. If an even number is rolled, divide the number by 2 and move that many additional spaces. If the number rolled is odd, nothing happens.
Green represents earth. At the start of the green player’s turn, the player decides if they will move their own piece or another player’s piece. If the player elects to move their own piece, the turn is regular. Alternatively, the player can instead move any other player’s piece by only space. Green cannot move another player’s piece to a space occupied by green.
Where it started and ended up
This game started as Justice’s idea. It originally only involved pieces moving around on the board, starting in corners, and had the same win conditions. The special abilities were not fully developed yet. Together, we further added to the special abilities, adjusted the game board, added the black tiles, and created a rule book.
After playtesting with friends and family, we have seen smooth gameplay with everyone easily able to understand the basic turn mechanics as well as how to best utilize their powers. One thing we did notice, however, was that Quartet Kings is a slower and strategy-based game, and thus, requires a longer time period to play.
As players were hesitant due to a fear of losing pieces, it took quite a few turns for movement across the board to occur. Players initially began moving pieces defensively and staying near their area. In regard to the placing of the black tiles, we noticed players using them strategically to displace/block opposing players’ pieces.
The special abilities did not get used as much as we hoped. Light blue (move extra spaces) and red (burn other pieces) were excessively used. Dark blue (move through itself) and green (move other players) were not used as much as expected. This led to great advantages for the red and light blue players.
Overall, the people we played with really enjoyed the game. Going forward, more would need to be done so that player abilities are better used and the game is not as long.
Changes to the game
We want to try/recommend the following changes:
- 10×10 board with the same design
- This change would be in an effort to speed up gameplay and movement across the board.
- In accordance to changing the board size, we would reduce the amount of pieces per player from 15 to 10
- Adding a labeled grid (similar to battleship) made it easier to know where pieces were being moved to
- We also are considering the rebalance of powers.
- Specifically for Green and Dark Blue
- Green would be able to move other pieces more than originally intended
- Dark blue could potentially be able to also move through a limited number of black spaces
What we learned about designing a game
Prior to playing the game, we thought we understood how the game would get played. From our gameplay experiences, the strategies used in the game were more defensive than we anticipated. We learned that games do not always get played as intended.
We learned that, while developing and creating a game, we had to come up with solutions to many different gameplay situations, such as creating solutions for potential ties. We had to take into account that unexpected things could happen, so we did our best to create rules that would prevent that from happening.
Leadership in the game
In our gameplay experiences, players learned they could not win on their own. The game utilizes a turn-based mechanic that offers players the ability to either assist or harm each other. Players had to use teamwork to eliminate other players’ pieces. They used each others’ abilities to their advantage.
This game could be used as a leadership resource because it helps people understand the importance of strategy, planning ahead, and working collaboratively and independently.
*Due to limited resources, this used orange instead of black, blue instead of light blue, and purple instead of dark blue