Quadefy Game Review

The Basics:

  • For ages 4 and up
  • For 2 players
  • Approximately 5 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Hand/Eye Coordination & Dexterity
  • Pattern Matching
  • Visuospatial Skills
  • Hand/Resource Management

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • None

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

Puzzle solving is an excellent skill to practice and to strengthen. It teaches the individual to slow down, carefully consider the issue, and work through it. Table top puzzles can be a great time and require a lot of focus, but trying to solve a puzzle that is always changing can be a real challenge! This is especially true when the puzzle is no longer flat, but a cube. Using irregular sized blocks, can you solve the puzzle or will your opponent get the better of you?

Quadefy, by Maranda Enterprises, is comprised of 1 wooden game base (on which the game is built), 8 irregular shaped dark blocks, and 8 irregular shaped light blocks. The blocks are large and made of solid wood. Each block is divided by grooves into cubes, giving each block the appearance of being made up of smaller cubes. As we have come to expect from Maranda, the game components are of very high quality and exceedingly durable.

Example of the game components

Game Set Up and Play

To set up the game, first place the game base in the middle of the playing area. Players should sit wherever they like and are welcome to get up and walk around the game base during the game to view it from different angles. The reason for this will be apparent when the game is being played.

Second, have each player take all the blocks of a single color. In total, each player will have 8 blocks of different shapes and sizes.

Game set up is complete. Choose who will go first and begin!

Playing With Blocks

On a player’s turn, they will place one of their unplayed blocks of their choice on the game base or build on top of a previously played block of any color. The only restriction is that a player cannot place a block if the overall structure it creates would exceed a space of a 4x4x4 block area (in other words, a cube). The initial width and depth of the cube is defined by the game base on which all the players must place their blocks. A small, raised “lip” is provided on the game base to help keep the blocks in place and serve as a visual reminder for blocks played out-of-bounds. The height restriction is maintained by counting the small cubes that appear to make up the blocks. As long as the cubes in the blocks (from the game base to the tallest placed block) do not exceed a height of 4 cubes, the players can continue to build upwards.

Once a player has placed their block, which can slide in between other blocks as long as the player doesn’t have to remove a previously placed block, it is the next player’s turn. This continues until the game’s victory condition has been met.

Winning the Game

The game continues with each player taking turns until one player cannot place one of their blocks without breaking the defined boundaries of the building space. Their opponent, who placed the last piece successfully, wins the game.

On a very special note, the game publisher have provided a “block key” in the game box to help put the game away. This serves as an excellent exercise for your little geeks to practice their pattern matching skills and makes game cleanup a snap!

Game Variant

While not part of the official game, our family has created a solitaire puzzle variant which is very popular with my 5-year-old. To play the solitaire puzzle, place the game base in the middle of the playing area as normal. The player should now attempt to build a 4x4x4 cube, alternating colored blocks. The player continues to attempt to build the cube until they either succeed or cannot place a block without breaking the building rules. Count the number of “cubes” each of the remaining blocks appear to be comprised of. This is the player’s score. The goal for every game should be to build the cube, but reducing your score also shows improvement and is encouraged.

To learn more about Quadefy, see the game’s web page.

Prediction

My little geeks and family have always enjoyed puzzles and abstract strategy games where tiles and blocks are used to build a structure or image within a defined space. For example, Blockus 3D, City Square Off, and Cathedral; not to mention the many, many puzzles we have that litter my floor every weekend. To say we have played games like Quadefy before is an understatement. Quadefy won’t be bringing much in the way of anything new to my gaming table, but it has enough uniqueness to be a draw. I have no doubt the Parent and Child Geeks are going to enjoy the game, but I don’t see the Gamer Geeks liking it much.

Teaching the game doesn’t take long, but it’s worth your time to go through a few examples of game play with the Child Geeks. Verbally explaining how the blocks go together and then providing a visual example is a great way of further reinforcing how the game is played. If you rush or fail to explain it well enough so they fully grasp the game’s spatial challenge, expect hurt feelings at the very least and blocks being thrown across the room in the most dire of cases. I’m speaking from experience here…

I taught my 5 and 8-year-old the game at the same time, answering their questions, and giving them an opportunity to hold and play with the blocks so they might get familiar with them and test how they worked. I gave them about 5 minutes (roughly the amount of time it takes me to go upstairs, change my youngest little geek’s diaper, dump the diaper, get him dressed, and then wash my hands) and then we were ready to play. But before I did so, I asked them their thoughts on the game so far.

“Looks really neat and I like how big the blocks are. I think we’ve played a game like this before.” ~ Liam (age 8)

“What I really like, Daddy, is how they all fit together. I’m going to play with the blocks after we are done with the game. OK?”~ Nyhus (age 5)

Fine by me! A game wants to be played with! Let’s see if Quadefy is a fun game to play “as is” or if the blocks are better off as just building material.

Final Word

Both of my little geeks played the game well, but weren’t terribly in love with it. It kept their interest and they said they felt challenged, but they weren’t sad to see it go when it was time to put it away. The second set of games showed renewed interest, but the same lack of regret when the game was put aside. Later that afternoon, my 5-year-old asked me if he could play with the game. When I sat down to play it with him, he smiled and said, “No, I just want to play it with myself, Daddy.” OK, sure, but how? I put the box on the kitchen table and walked away. When I came back, he was working on building the cube like a puzzle. He was terribly focused and looked to be having a wonderful time. Behind him, his 8-year-old brother was giving helpful suggestions and looking at it from different angles. When I asked them why they suddenly liked the game, they told me they always had, but were “too old” to get overly excited about blocks.

Parent Geeks also enjoy the game but showed the same lack of interest with it. I was starting to understand that the game was missing any type of “wow” factor to make individuals speak up and lean forward with interest. While they were playing it, they always had a good time, but they never looked like they were terribly excited about it, either. I asked one of the Parent Geeks about this and he told me, “it’s a good game, challenging, but it’s been done before.” Ah-ha! This wasn’t a game that people disliked; this was a game that people were already overly familiar with! I imagine it must be something like your first bite of cake. It’s awesome and you can’t wait for more! But after so many birthday parties and special events, the cake just isn’t all that exciting. Still fun to have, but it no longer sends one into a tizzy of delight. The same could be said about Quadefy.

Gamer Geeks played it a few times and validated my earlier observations. In their opinion, this was a good game, lacked much in the way of innovation, but provided enough of a challenge to be interesting for a short while. That wasn’t enough for the Gamer Geeks to approve it, however. They wanted to see more from the game, see it break the mold from which it was cast, and blaze a new trail. The game doesn’t. And so, they gave it an appreciative nod but nothing more.

My 5-year-old gives me a smug look as he starts to place one of his blocks – he won the game

Gamer Geeks, this is a very straightforward abstract strategy game of block placement that will challenge you but will not thrill you. And to be perfectly honest, the level of challenge is highly dependent on the skill of your opponent. That being said, the random selection and then random placement of blocks will always provide for a different game challenge but never a new game playing experience. Despite the fact that the game will only take about 5 minutes or less to complete, you’ll get tired of it. Due to your peer groups lack of enthusiasm, this game was not approved for Gamer Geeks.

Parent Geeks, this is a challenging abstract game you can sit down, teach in a minute, and play with anyone. This makes it an excellent game to play with your peers and with your family members. Non-gamers had no problem with this game and were able to participate at the same competitive level as a Child Geek or an experienced Parent Geek. Your peer group showed much more interest in the game than the Gamer Geeks, but agreed the game wasn’t doing anything new. What was very much enjoyed was how the game challenged old and young minds alike to think through each block, consider how each should be placed, and never left any player feeling the game was “too easy” or “too hard”.

Child Geeks, this is going to be one of those games that are going to frustrate you. Why? Because you are going to see your mistakes pretty early on and not be able to do much about it. Instead of getting angry, however, learn from each of your moves and remember the games are not very long. Victory is certainly obtainable and you won’t be outclassed or overpowered by another player with just a few games under your belt. This will make it possible to compete and win against a Parent Geek and even the Gamer Geeks. It all depends on how closely you are paying attention and if you are wise enough to play your most difficult pieces first. Do so, and you’ll have no problem playing, enjoying, and winning the game.

I must agree with my Gamer Geek peers on this one. I found the game to be enjoyable, but not exciting; well constructed, but not doing anything new; and challenging without feeling like there was much for me to be overly concerned with. In short, the game left me feeling pretty lukewarm. Didn’t dislike it, nor did I love it. I found it to be just “OK”.

From a Parent Geek’s perspective, I was much more pleased with the game and greatly enjoyed how I could play it with my 5 and 8-year-old without feeling I needed to hold back. Instead, I was able to just focus and play the game with them as equals; watching their minds work through all their choices and make intelligent decisions on what blocks to place. I believe this is one of those observations that only a parent or teacher can appreciate and I feel somewhat saddened that players without children couldn’t see this side of the game. The level of growth the game provides the young little geek mind is simply excellent. While I cannot approve Quadefy from a Gamer Geek’s perspective, as a Parent Geek I give it the highest of marks.

If you are looking for a solid, easy to learn, easy to teach, and challenging abstract game of spatial thinking for your family or for that special little geek in your life, then make room at your table for Quadefy.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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