Quantum slipped right past me, somehow, even with all of its hype from Essen’13, it went completely under my radar. It wasn’t until I saw a local distributor on Facebook post about it that it even caught my attention. How? I have no clue, I enjoy science fiction and I enjoy throwing dice. I did a little digging into it and realized that this may be right up my alley. I thought about what my game groups reaction would be. Would there be too much randomness and luck built into it for some of us? Absolutely. Would there be enough strategy for me to want to bring this to the table over and over? Is there really enough of a game when dice are a huge part of the mechanics, or is it just a luck fiesta? Read on to find out…
Sometime in ’52 during the Cold War a seam of theoretical physicists and experimental poets (what? Seriously? Experimental poets?!) hack time and space to create the ‘Six-Dimensional Quantum Displacer – or Quantum D6. A machine that projects future possibilities and selects one to become a reality. (Uh…sure. I guess if I can buy into Dune and Star Wars, I can buy into this.)
Jump to ’84 when there was an epic war, no… in fact there was a Planet-Shattering War. The Quantum D6 demanded inconceivable amounts of energy, and with fuel limited, war was inevitable. (Are you still with me here?) Wars started and Earth’s superpowers split the planet asunder to drain the last breath of life from the core. We must have then fled earth on ships fueled by Quantum, of course headed for the stars.
Alright…I won’t go on, but you get it right? We’re not playing with fancy colored dice, we’re playing with the ever powerful Quantum D6. Quantum can do everything! It can change your ships into entirely different ships, it can build Quantum Cubes which rip energy from planets to feed our massively hungry ships, really what can’t it do?
The game set up will depend entirely on the number of players that you have at your table. Quantum can accommodate 2 to 4 players. You’ll choose from a variety of maps that are laid out for you either in the rule book (starting maps) or on the additional Sector Maps sheet that comes with the game. There’s a large variety of maps that you can choose from once your acquainted with the game and it’s mechanics.
Each player will choose a command sheet, the matching 7 dice and specified number of quantum cubes based on the map you choose to play. The number of Quantum cubes can range from 5 to 7.
You’ll place a die on both the Dominance and Research spaces on your Command sheet, with 1 pip showing. You’ll place the specified amount of quantum cubes on the corresponding spot on your board and you’re almost ready to play!
You’ll roll 3 of your remaining 5 dice and those will be your starting ships. The other two dice, place somewhere to the side, they can be earned later in the game as expansion ships. You can re-roll your dice if you don’t like the outcome, but you must re-roll all of them and must keep the second roll.
The first player will be the one with the lowest ship total, aka the lowest total number of pips showing on their dice. That player will then place one of his Quantum cubes on one of the starting planets. Then in player order you’ll also place your 3 starting ships (the dice you’ve rolled) in the spaces next to your starting planet. These are the orthogonally adjacent spaces, not any spaces diagonal to the planet.
Grab those awesome combat dice, that’s the fancy term for the black and white die that come with the game and place them near the map.
Now all that’s left is to shuffle the two separate decks of advancement cards. The white Command cards and the Black Gambit cards. Deal 3 of each of these face up on the table.
Get ready to start beating up on your friends, because it’s time to start draining planets!
Game Play Overview:
The game will be played over a series of rounds. Each round a player will have exactly 3 actions to utilize in Phase 1.
Reconfigure: You can reroll one of our existing ships. If you get the same starting number, you may reroll again until you get a new number.
Deploy: You may relocate a ship from the scrapyard to an orbital position on a planet that contains one of your Quantum cubes.
Move/Attack: You can move your ship up to the number of pips on it and may attack by landing on an enemy. A ship can only attack/move once per turn even if it’s number changes. You may not move through other ships (yours included) or planets.
This is really the only action that we need to go into much depth on. Each of the 6 different faces on your die represent different ships. The smaller the number the larger and more battle hardened your ship is. Each ship also has one special ability which you can use on your turn as well that does not cost you an action.
The ship breakdown:
1: Battlestation. This is the toughest ship that you have. It’s special ability allows it to attach 1 enemy next to it. (Orthogonally)
2: Flagship. This allows you to pick up 1 ship from a surrounding space and carry it on your move, then drop it any empty surrounding space. Surrounding in terms of Quantum is any of the 9 spaces around where the Flagship moves into, the placement must be legal and you can not place on a planet or another ship. This does count as a movement action.
3: Destroyer. This ship allows you to swap places with one of your other ships on the map. This does not count as an action!
4: Frigate. You may change your ship to a 3 or a 5.
5: Interceptor. You may move diagonally as you move/attack. This is the only ship that allows you to move diagonally.
6: Scout. This is your fastest ship, it’ll allow you to move the furthest across the board but it’s very weak. It’s special ability is that you’re allowed to re-roll it once per turn for free.
Attacking: When moving and attacking, you must have enough movement to be able to move into the space in which you are attacking. You will move you ship halfway into the space in which you are attacking, and both participants in the battle will roll an additional die.
Here’s the catch, the lowest total combination of your ship plus your die roll wins the battle. Remember when I said the 1 was your toughest ship? Yea, it’s slow and tough as nails. Example: The green player has a Battlestation (1) in which the red player is attacking with their Destroyer (3). The red player rolls the black attack die and gets a 4, for a total of 7. The green player rolls the white die and gets a 4 as well for a total of 5.
This means that the defender wins the battle and essentially nothing happens. The red player will move back to the last space they moved from (the space before they entered your air space) and it’s over. Had the Red player rolled lower than the green player, it’s a victory and the green player would remove his ship from the board, re-roll it and place it in his Scrapyard on his player board. The red player will then gain 1 dominance point and the green player would lose one Dominance point.
Battling your way to 6 Dominance points is the only other way to place a Quantum cube on the board.
Construct Cube: This takes 2 actions. You may only construct a cube on a planet in which you do not already have a cube. (There are some adjustments to this rule which I’ll cover later). You may only place a Quantum Cube on a planet in which your ships are in Orbital Positions and add up to exactly the number of the planet.
Research: Simply add 1 to your research die.
Phase 2: the Advancement Cards
You are allowed to take 1 card for each Quantum cube you placed on the turn, and 1 card for a research breakthrough, which means raising your research to a 6.
You are only ever allowed to have 3 Command cards, if you are to earn an additional card, you may draw it and then choose which Command Card to discard.
Gambit cards are one time bonuses that happen once you take the card.
Think carefully about the cards you choose, those quick fix Gambit cards are awfully tempting, but the Command cards can give you ways to take extra actions or manipulate the dice.
The game ends when one player places out his last Quantum cube. Yes, it’s that simple, there isn’t some crazy Victory condition. Place your cube, end the game, laugh at your friends. Quite simple.
Quantum wound up filling a void in my gaming shelves. It allows players to utilize strategy while giving your opponents the ability to completely destroy that strategy on their turn. There are those who are going to hate Quantum because of the luck factor, in fact it was only 3 rounds in when one of our regular game group said ‘I already hate this game, it’s entirely too luck based’, of course this was after a string of bad rolls. So know going into it that the dice can play a large part of your success or failure, but that all depends on how you plan your actions as well.
Quantum provides (for me at least) a quick, fun, space game that allows direct confrontation and doesn’t shy away from making you attack your friends. If you want to be the peaceful ambassador and try to just ensure that you’re getting the right numbered ships adjacent to the planets to place your Quantum cubes, nothing is stopping you. Oh wait…yes there is, the other players at the table that have that rabid bloodlust in their eyes, just waiting to position their ships next to yours to blow them to little quantum bits and pieces. You could technically win by avoiding battle entirely if the other players allowed you to do so, but the games I’ve played there was no way to let one player just do what they wanted. You had to pay attention to each player, how many cubes they had on the board, where they were moving and what possible benefits they could have on their turns. Quantum practically begs you to beat on your opponents, this is a battle for supremacy not an acoustic camp fire session for pacifists.
If you aren’t a fan of direct confrontation games, look else where. If you want a completely friendly space game, try…uh I actually don’t know what to tell you. Maybe TI3 because before you actually get to battle you may have fallen asleep. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).
It’s played well with 2 and 3 players, I haven’t gotten 4 players to the table yet, though I only assume that’s going to make it that much more fun. It’s fairly quick, with 3 players it’s averaged under an hour, a 4th may prolong it a bit, but you should have no problem finishing in just about an hour.
The components are good, at least my copy had none of the complaints that I’ve seen on BGG so far. The Command Sheets are really nice card stock, the print quality is excellent. The dice are large, mine did initially have a weird film on them, they weren’t sticky but they weren’t smooth either, but after a few games no one even noticed any longer. The card stock isn’t amazing, but they should hold up just fine. The insert is actually really well created, though for those of you that sleeve cards, they’ll no longer fit into the box.
Overall, if you’re looking for a new space themed game with a good amount of direct confrontation and strategy, Quantum may be right for you.