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Quelf – Boardgame Week

February 15, 2012

Continuing our board game week on Skyland Games, I present a party game of a different sort: Quelf. This is one of the wackiest games I’ve ever played, and is always different every time you play it. It can be played with as few as three, but is much better with about five to eight people. Players take turns rolling a die to move their character along the board, landing on different colored squares on their turn. The player must then draw the corresponding colored card for the square that they land on. Each different color is its own category, and the categories vary wildly.

Some cards are timed, some are classified (meaning you can’t allow other players to know what the card says), all of them are pretty crazy. If you fail to perform the action or don’t know the answer to the question on the card you have to pay the penalty, which is a number of spaces you must move your character backwards on the board.

Roolz cards are a rule you have to follow until you draw a new one. Some are global rules that affect everyone, some affect only the player who drew it. For example: “Whenever an opponent rolls a ‘4’, you must film the rest of their turn with an invisible movie camera, describing the action as if you were making a documentary.” Or: “If a phone or a doorbell rings, all players must immediately stand up and say, “Pizza Party!” The last player to do this pays the penalty.”

Quizzle cards are pretty much just trivia questions, but most of them are a little bit twisted. Such as: “Q: Johnny’s mother had three children, the first was named April, the second was named May. What was the third child’s name? A: Johnny.” Or: “Q: If, having only one match on a freezing winter day, you entered a room which contained a lamp, a kerosene heater, and a wood burning stove, which should you light first? A: The match.”

Stuntz and Showbiz cards have you get up and do something physical. For instance: “Get some ice (at least 5 cubes). Put the ice down your pants. Now start rolling the die. Keep rolling until you roll a ‘6’.” Or: ” This card is classified! Stand up, flap your arms, and hop up and down while saying the word ‘chicken’ exactly 13 times. When done, starting with the player on your left and proceeding around the table, ask your opponents to each make one guess how many times you said ‘chicken’. All opponents that guess correctly may move ahead one space. Reveal this card once you’ve completed it.”

I think the most challenging type of card is Scatterbrainz. The person who draws the card gets to choose between two categories presented on it. Everyone goes around the table giving an answer that fits the category. The first one to repeat one that has been already been said, or can’t think of a valid answer must pay the penalty. Example: “Words that begin with the letter ‘Z’ or Words that have more than 5 syllables.” The last space on the board is a Scatterbrainz space, and in order to win, the person who landed on it must provide two answers to the question each time it comes back around to them. It’s a pretty tough game to win.

I think this game definitely benefits from consuming some adult beverages both before and during play. Inhibitions need to be fairly low to truly enjoy Quelf, whether you require some assistance in getting there is entirely up to the individual. I’ve played this with both close friends and people I had just met, and every time it has certainly been memorable. Give it a try the next time you want to have a game night to remember!

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