CRITICAL HIT - "QUICKSILVER"

For two years now, I have gone to a little convention called "Origins" up in Columbus, Ohio. Both years, I have sought out new and interesting games. This year, I came across the game "Quicksilver". At first glance, this doesn't sound like a game I would have looked twice at... Which is true, I actually walked past the table 4 times before I finally gave in to curiosity, and decided to check it out. Read on, and see what I thought about this interesting game.

"Quicksilver"

Publisher: Split Second Games

Designed by: Paul Imboden

Players: 2-6

Recommended Ages: 13+

Estimated Play Time: 15 Minutes per player

Difficulty: Easy-Medium (variations allow for variable difficulties)

Kickstarter Page

Quicksilver is a simple enough game, with an easy to understand concept. You play the role of an airship captain, your goal, race your airship around the various checkpoints, and reach the finish line before your opponents. Since these are airships, you are able to fly wherever, without any track to restrict you. Just, try to avoid those mountains, stay out of the clouds, look out for the floating mine fields, and... oh yeah, stay away from the turrets. And if that was not enough to worry about, the crazy racers that are sharing the sky with you might just try to ram you, or shoot you out of the sky. This is a race full of backstabbing and dickery, that will make you want to flip the table, but when it is all said and done, and the finish line has been reached, the only thing that will be left is to ask, "When can we play again?"

The concept is simple, and honestly, I believe our play through here benefited a great deal from our previous experiences with "Formula D". This is not to say that the games are at all similar, beyond the similarity that they both involve racing. The benefit was solely due to the fact that "Formula D" was a much more complicated system, and having played through it, I felt much more comfortable with this game out of the box. 

Speaking of which... What's in the box? 

  • 1 Rule Book
  • 1 Double-sided Board
  • 1 start/finish line
  • 3 double-sided checkpoint tokens
  • 6 Pilot instrument panels (with arrows, and connectors)
  • 6 Airship Tokens (with stands)
  • 6 cloud/minefield tokens
  • 3 turret tokens
  • 4 custom velocity dice
  • 66 tactics cards
  • 6 turn order play cards
  • 1 bitchin' mustache token.

Now before I go much further... you've read the "Formula D" review, right? It would be a good idea to have some familiarity with that review, as I will be making multiple references to the game, and I think that might help you a bit. 

The game board is a large, two sided hexagonal grid-based ordeal. The hexagonal grids are the basis behind one of the key mechanics of the game, namely, the concept of turning. I'll get to that in a bit, though. First, I want to talk about set-up.

Initial set-up of the game, is a fairly cooperative ordeal. It requires players to agree where the checkpoints will go, and which direction that each will go in. Players need to agree on where to put the start/finish line.  Most importantly, players have to figure out which side of the board they want to play on. Beginning players should start on the relatively open "Paradise Falls" side of the map, where as sadistic players who wish to bang their heads up against a wall, should play on the much more difficult "New Covington" side. Finally the players get to release their inner jerk, and place obstacles around the board. 

Order of play is made very easy to remember, because each player is given a "Turn Order" card, which doubles as a way to determine who goes first. One of the turn order cars has a picture of Queen Victoria on the back. Whoever gets that particular card, goes first.. As a means to avoid placing too much power in the hands of the player going first, players line themselves up along the start line, in reverse play order. So, while the first player may get a head start by going first, he may have the worst starting position, which could negate that head start.

Turn order is as follows:  

  1. You may change velocity up or down one level
  2. Roll a number of dice as indicated by your current velocity
  3. You may spend one point of movement to pivot
  4. Move all remaining spaces, you may use a card to modify this number
  5. Draw a card. If you have more than 5 cards in hand, discard down to 5.

Jumping back to the "Formula D" comparison. You should see some similarities here. You can shift up or down one spot, which alters the number of spaces you can potentially move. The similarities can further be drawn, when you see that there is a ramming mechanic, as well as there being negative consequences for going full throttle. However, I am getting ahead of myself again.

Each player starts with a hand of five cards. These cards each have point values. Those point values can either be used to increase or decrease your speed, or to increase attack values of attack rolls. Each card can conversely be used to do what the card actually says it can do. This opens up a realm of strategy beyond just rolling the dice, and hoping for the best rolls. Each card represents a number of different possibilities, and how you play those cards can have just as much effect on your ability to win, as the dice rolls themselves. 

Each checkpoint on the board, offers some other unique opportunities. You will notice that the checkpoint tokens are dual-sided. One side indicates a clockwise motion, the other indicates a counter-clockwise motion. Naturally, this indicates the direction you have to go around the checkpoint. Also, near each checkpoint are some arrows pointing out. These arrows indicate where the checkpoint begins and ends. While the lines are only on a single hex each, they continue on to the edges of the board. This offers options of where you enter the checkpoint, and where you exit. This opens up a large amount possible ways to strategize.

All in all, this is a game that the Slamfist team enjoyed a great deal. We ended up the game discussing the various ways we could see to potentially improve the game, or alter the game in some way. Josh offered up the idea of adding weather conditions to potentially alter the game play. It was interesting to see that the developers of the game were already working on such an idea. The next thing we discussed was custom boards, using a Role-playing hex mat to create custom play areas. This honestly offers up a nearly infinite amount of replayability, and a great way to keep things fresh. A final improvement I would like to see in the future, is blimp miniatures, rather than the cardboard standees. While it would increase the production cost, it would add a nice aesthetic that would be fun, and offer people an opportunity to further customize the game with custom paint jobs.

In the end, we love the game. Plain and simple. 

Recommendation:

If you are looking for a racing based game, with something different to offer, this is the way to go. If you were a fan of "Formula D" and would like a racing game that offers a much more open board, this is your game. If you're looking for an opportunity to be a complete dick to your friends and family, this game offers that option, too!

Final Thoughts:

This is definitely a game worth playing, and if you get a chance, pick it up! (There will be links below for that). The game offers a large amount of customizability, and potential for house rules. There is an amazing potential for expansion, and in the end, that makes this game an easy recommendation 

Critical Hit Review: 4.25 out of 5 Stars

Head to their website to learn more about Split Second Games!

And purchase the game from their website!