For every board game that gets a massive print run, tonnes of hype and a huge release only to be utterly forgotten about twelve months later, there must be dozens of other games that are more worthy of your attention that the publisher can only afford a small print run, gets no fanfare on its launch, but has a rabid fanbase in the following months and years.
First released in 2013, Quantum is by designer Eric Zimmerman and published by FunForge. I first heard about it shortly after it's original release, as loads of people were talking about it online but, honestly, it didn't look interesting to me.
Quantum is a space game with six-sided dice representing your ships. The objective of the game is to colonise a number of planets by flying ships to a planet and dropping a tiny cube on it bringing you one step closer to galactic domination. You can only have one cube of your colour on any planet, so you're forced to travel outwards and get into territory disputes with other players.
It all sounds very dry and unexciting, especially without cool miniature ships to look at while you're playing. But it isn't. It's incredibly tight, exciting and fast, and every game I've played so far has ended with a wicked cool maneuver by the winning player as the final action.
Each die represents a different ship that can be any one of six class of vessel at any time. But that number also tells you its movement value, and even more, it's attack value. In Quantum, lower combat total wins fights, and combat is decided by rolling an attack dice and adding your attacking ship value, comparing that to the defenders defence roll added to her defending ship value. So the slow moving Battlestation represented by the One pip is the best at combat, while the zippy Scout on Six is terrible if it gets in a fight.
Quantum is all about strategy, but at a fun and easy to grasp level. I was never good at strategy games, either in board or video games. I usually got overwhelmed by options and never felt competent, especially in games against other players. But Quantum is so clean, I never felt that lost. Plus, it feels great when the newest player at the table wins because they just quietly sneak a cool victory while the others are attacking each other.
The new edition has beautiful frosted dice that feel great in you hand, and vibrant tiny colony cubes that look far too edible to be safe. The tiles are made of chunky card, the player boards are clean and well laid out, and the rule book is... well, one of my friends asked if he should be wearing gloves while holding it, it was so nice to feel. The pages aren't cardstock, but they are thicker and nicer than just plain paper.
If I have one complaint, it's that they could have included the single tile expansion in this edition. The Void is a tile with no planet, just nine spaces to move through. It's got rules for gaining Research quickly. It was released as a promo card for conventions and events, but then sold on BoardGameGeek.com. It would have been nice to include the tile, rules, and suggested layouts for using it in the new edition of the game, especially as there is plenty of room to include one more tile. As it is, I got the tile through BGG for $6 including shipping, but even then, it didn't include suggested maps, just the tile in an envelope. I posted an image of the information card that originally came with the tile here, just for future reference.
But, honestly, that's hardly a complaint. Quantum is fantastic fun, and I'm delighted to include it in my collection. It's so simple to teach it makes a great, slightly more meaty, introduction to board games for relatively new gamers, while still complex and deeply engaging for more experienced players. I have yet to win a game myself, even when teaching it to an entire new-to-the-game group, but I love every game I've played, and I've never feflt completely outclassed. Highly recommended if you're looking for something with strategy and depth, without the complexity of a miniatures wargame.