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How Do You Play Qwirkle? (5 Minute Guide)

How Do You Play Qwirkle? (5 Minute Guide)


Qwirkle is a colorful and easy matching game that the entire family can enjoy. It is comprised of blocks stamped with one of six different basic geometric shapes in primary colors. Players can choose to keep it simple or strategize the more difficult plays to maximize points.

If you don’t own Qwirkle already, check it out here on Amazon.



Qwirkle doesn’t require a game board. It can be played on any table or flat surface that allows enough room to join 108 wooden blocks in all directions. To begin, all 108 blocks are placed face down or in a draw bag. Each player randomly draws six blocks from the bag and sets them up so that other players cannot see the block shapes and colors. Each player states how many matching blocks they have and the player with the most begins the game by laying the matching blocks face-up in a row on the play surface. Blocks are considered matching if they share a shape or color characteristic, but not both. Play then moves to the next player in a clockwise direction. If there is a tie in the initial number of matching blocks, the oldest player goes first.

A scorekeeper should be identified and will need paper and a pencil on hand to note each player’s score after each turn.

GOAL or PURPOSE of the Game:

The goal of the game is to add matching blocks to the board and earn more points than your opponent/s by the time all blocks are used.

Player ACTIONS or what they do on their TURN:

A player completes his or her turn with one of two actions:

  1. Add one or more matching blocks, in a linear fashion, to a block already on the board. All blocks played must share the same shape or color characteristic. No block in any row can duplicate the characteristic of another block in the same row. The player then draws the number of blocks played in order to maintain six blocks.
  2. Swap one or more blocks for new ones from the draw bag. The player may swap all six blocks if desired. However, he is not allowed to add any blocks to the game board until his next turn.

How to END the GAME:

Eventually, the draw bag will be depleted and players will no longer be able to maintain a set of six blocks. The game continues until any player adds his or her last block to the board. In doing so, he earns a bonus of six points for being the first to play all of their blocks.

How to SCORE:

Players earn a score at the end of every turn. One point is earned for each block in a new row and one for each block added to an existing row plus a point for blocks already in that row. Thus, the same block can earn more than one point if that block resides in more than one row of adjoining blocks. A bonus of six points is earned when a player completes a row of six blocks called a “Qwirkle.”

For example, if Player A starts the game with three red tiles placed horizontally and Player B adds two vertical tiles, Player B earns three points. Two for the tiles he played and one for the existing tile he adjoined.


  1. Because the goal is to earn the most points, players should try to play blocks in a complex pattern so that existing blocks in one or more rows adjoining played blocks can be counted in the score for that turn. 
  2. Players should carefully consider the impact of laying a fifth block in a row when they are not able to play the sixth as this can easily set the next player up for a Qwirkle and six-point bonus.
  3. Players should consider how many more blocks remain of the same shape and color. There are three identical blocks of each shape and color. If a player, for example, has an opportunity to play a yellow triangle and a yellow square and sees that there are already two yellow squares on the board, he knows that his opponent/s will not be able to play a yellow square. Similarly, if a player sees that all three blocks are already on the board, he can safely play a 5th block in a row if the sixth is one of the blocks already played in three different places.

Common House Rules:

Players should avoid calling out potential plays or missed opportunities as play progresses. 

Rule Variations for Playing with Kids:

Qwirkle allows for 2-4 players. If playing with young children, it may be helpful to pair an adult and a child and play with two teams. Each person still takes an individual turn. This will help children gain confidence and receive team credit for complex plays.


Time to Play: Players should allow 30-60 minutes to complete a game

Alternative titles of the game: Qwirkle edition voyage, Qwirkle travel, Qwirkle: Mickey Mouse & Friends, Qwirkle: The Simpsons, Star Wars Qwirkle

Suggested Player Age: 6+

Community Suggested Player Age: 6+

List of Expansions: Qwirkle: Expansion Boards (2013), Qwirkle: Erweiterung 2 (2016), Qwirkle: Connect (2016)

Community Rating: 6.8 of 10

Popularity: #708 of 16,771

Difficulty: Easy

Published Year: 2006

Creator/Publisher Credits:

Designer:            Susan McKinley Ross



999 Games

ADC Blackfire Entertainment – Gamer Café Kft.

Competo / Marektoy


Éveil & Jeux


GoKids 玩樂小子

Green Board Game Co.



Outset Media

Productief BV

Schmidt Spiele


Abstract Strategy


Hand Management

Pattern Building

Tile Placement

Link to Official Game Site & Rules or Publishers Site: Publisher, Rules


  1. 2013 Guldbrikken, Årets Familiespil (Best Family Game), Denmark, Nominee
  2. 2012 Hungarian Boardgame Prize Nomination
  3. 2011 Spiel des Jahres Winner
  4. 2011 Austrian Game Hit for Families
  5. 2011 As d’Or – Jeu de l’Année (Game of the Year) Nominee
  6. 2010 Label Ludo Award
  7. 2008 Games Magazine Best Family Game Runner-Up
  8. 2008 National Parenting Center Seal of Approval
  9. 2008 Finnish Family Game Finalist
  10. 2008 BoardGames Australia Best International Game Nominee
  11. 2007 Mensa Select
  12. 2007 Major Fun Award
  13. 2007 Parents’ Choice Gold Award
  14. 2007 Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award
  15. 2007 Golden Geek Best Family Board Game Nominee
  16. 2007 Golden Geek Best Children’s Board Game Nominee
  17. 2007 Board Game Podcaster Gateway Game Nominee
  18. 2007 Board Game Podcaster Small Publisher Game Nominee

If You Like This Game, You’ll Also Like:

SET, Blokus, Sequence

If You Don’t Like This Game, You Should Consider:

Tsuro, Color Cubed, Liar’s Dice