Q-TURN

Designed by Andrew Looney (Looney Laboratories, Inc.)

Reviewed by The San Fernando Valley Gamers

May 23, 2000

Looney Laboratories, Inc. (most famous for their plastic-pyramid extravaganza: "Icehouse: The Martian Chess Set") has created a delightful (and very portable) game for 2-4 players called "Q-Turn." Featuring what can only be described as a "classic simplicity," this little game is a joy to play!

THE BITS

"Q-Turn" doesn't look like much at first glance. A small, clear plastic cylindrical container (almost like a pill bottle), 16 wooden "nickels", 4 colored plastic "chips" (used as game tokens) and a thin rules pamphlet is all that you get for the low price tag. The wooden "nickels" are by far the most interesting looking components. Each one is two-sided with one side stamped with the name of the game (including the URL for Looney Laboratories) and the other stamped with one of three different arrow symbols: "The Q-Turner," "The Double Arrow," and "The One Way Arrow."

THE GAME

The wooden nickels (or disks) are placed logo side up, shuffled and finally arranged in a 4x4 grid pattern. Each player then places their game token on one of the corner disks (one per corner) and play begins. The object of the game is to move your token from the disk you started on across the board to the disk in the opposite corner, and back again, but this is no simple task. You see during your turn you may either move onto a face down token, reveal it, orient it in whatever way you wish, and activate it's special action or simply move onto a face up token and activate it's "special action." Your token may only move in the direction of the illustrated arrows, and special actions are as follows:

The Q-Turner: Whenever you land on one of these, all revealed disks on the table are rotated a quarter turn counter-clockwise. You may move your token in any of four directions.

The Double Arrow: Whenever you land on one of these, you MAY rotate ONE other disk of your choice (other than your own) a quarter turn counter-clockwise. You may move your token in two directions.

The One Way Arrow: No special action, but you may re-orient the disk (and thus your next movement direction) INSTEAD of moving on your turn.

Also, be aware that two game tokens may not occupy the same disk. If you attempt to move your token onto an occupied disk, you are bounced back to the disk you have moved from where you can reactivate the disk's special action again.

The game has a "classic simplicity"(a big thank-you to Michael M. Kelly for that term). In other words, it feels like a Checkers or a Tic-Tac-Toe, but in some ways improves upon them by offering many more tactical options. "Q-Turn" also allows for a lot of strategic fore-planning since there is a limited number of disks and as all players are working for the same goal, one begins to predict the movements of others as well as the possible hidden locations of remaining disks. It's amusing to hear how many times the words "I knew you were going to move onto that disk" are spoken allowed by all involved.

THE PLUSES AND MINUSES

This is one of those truly delightful discoveries that quite simply has NO real minuses! The components are attractive (and there's just something downright cool about wooden pieces anyway), the rulebook is very well written, the game is simple to play (yet open to strategies), and the whole package is compact enough to toss into a backpack, glove compartment or even purse! Also, it can be taught to and played by any age group.

There are definitely advantages to playing with more players, eventhough two is possible. We played four-player and two-player games, and in a two-player game, the special actions result in lots of disk turning, but only two people suffer the consequences.

Way to go Looney Laboratories, Inc.! "Q-Turn" is a winner!

On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest), our group rates this game an 8.

The San Fernando Valley Gamers who contributed to this review were: Scott Alan Woodard, Michael M. Kelly, Kevin Reed O'Hara and Dennis Ugolini.