Quelf – Review – A Party Game for Gamers but Only Certain Kinds of Gamers

I got a chance to try out Quelf a few weeks ago but then over the weekend I got it out again and the room was filled with laughter as a full eight player game took place. I ended up sitting out to let others play but it certainly made its mark on the participants.

Game Overview

Quelf claims that “Random has a new name” and there is certainly a valid argument for this to be true. In Quelf players can end up doing almost anything. The game takes place at a table, in a room, or possibly throughout the house, depending on the cards that are drawn. The Object of the Game is listed as “To have fun! Duh!” and honestly that is exactly how people need to approach this game.

So It’s a Wacky Game, But How do I Play it?

Well, the basics are very basic. You role a die and move your piece that many spaces on the board. Then draw a card that corresponds to the color you landed on and read the card out loud. There are two exceptions to this. If the space is green, the player to your left reads the card, and if the card says “classified” you don’t read the card out loud. Most cards have a penalty listed on them. This is the number of spaces a player must move back if they don’t do what the card says.

(Note: There is an addendum in the rules that states that a player does not suffer a penalty for doing something that would be unsafe.)

The only other basic rule is the “Quelf Effect” which is a bit of randomness at the bottom of some of the cards. Several classified cards have a bonus or a penalty for another player reading them after the original player has discarded the card. Other cards have other kinds of Quelf Effects including random quotes from some of the wacky characters that the players portray.

Sounds easy? Well, it is.

What do these Cards do?

There are five different kinds of cards, each with different types effects on the game:

  • Blue Cards – Roolz There are three different kinds of rules cards, Global Roolz, Talking Roolz and Action Roolz. Global cards effect everyone, basically adding a new rule to the game. These rules can be almost anything from making a certain sound to standing, sitting or doing something else when taking your turn. The Talking and Action cards only affect the player drawing them. You can only have one of each of these affecting you at a time and they make you do something… well… zany. In the game I played a player had to talk about the plight of the timber wolves whenever it was his turn, for example.
  • Green Cards – Quizzle The are trivia-like cards. I say “trivia-like” because some are trick questions and others are just silly easy to answer and still others are basically impossible. Some cards also have a bonus question that can move the player ahead one space if they get the right answer.
  • Yellow Cards – Stuntz Literally these cards make you do some kind of stunt. I, for example, had to slow dance with the player to my left as though we were at the senior prom. They tend to be easy but slightly embarrassing.
  • Purple Cards – Showbiz These cards make you do something theatric or artistic. It could be writing a story or acting out a scene or singing or whatever. These are also fairly easy but could be embarrassing.
  • Red Cards – Scatterbrainz Each red card has two topics on it. The player who drew the card picks one of those topics and then gives an example of it. Then the player to their left gives an example. This goes on until someone repeats an answer or can’t think of one. The player who fails to give an appropriate answer takes the penalty. Categories can be almost anything from Types of Fish to TV Sitcoms. The game ends on a Scatterbrainz square and the player who is trying to win must give two answers instead of one.

Is that it?

Yup, that is basically the game. Players draw cards and do random stuff. There is very little skill (though two of the categories do test your knowledge a bit) and the only real reason to play the game is to have a good laugh with your friends.

Opinions and Impressions: Is this Really a Gamer’s Game?

I like this game. I think it’s a good party game and it appeals to the random silliness that lives in some gamers and people in general. Will it appeal to all gamers? No, probably not. A lot of gamers will not like the idea of having to get up and do things, leave the room, sit under the table, sing, dance, hop on one foot, or any of the other insane things the cards ask them to do. Not to mention that to really enjoy this game all the players need to understand what they are in for and be willing to go with it.

Still, this game can be brought out and played very quickly as it has few rules to learn and is fairly engaging so players are not likely to get bored or drift off and slow the game down.

One problem I see with the game is that it is very specifically for eight players or less. While eight seems like a lot, in some situations and at certain kinds of parties this game will not work well. For example, a party with twelve guests will leave four sitting out as there really is no way to include more than eight people. A game like Apples to Apples can have any number of players and a game like What Were You Thinking may be limited in pawns for players but can easily have additional players added without an ill effect on the game. Quelf’s playing pieces actually affect the game itself and thus adding more players won’t work well.

Final Thoughts

This game is a borderline gamer’s game. Many gamers will not like it, while others will love it for its wackiness. I recommend it to those who like excuses for doing crazy things. It sort of feels like being a kid again in some ways in that you get to do those “let’s pretend” like games that you no longer have reason to play. I enjoyed the game when I played it and everyone that played it over the weekend seemed to be having a good time as well. It does seem the game has potential to drag on a bit but as it is basically just a game about having a good time it isn’t that big of a deal to set it aside and do something else when the players get bored.

So, if you need something for a party and your friends are into doing wacky things, I recommend you check this game out!


    Sounds a bit like Alchemy. Or at least I think that’s the name of the game I’m thinking about, can’t seem to find it on the ‘Geek.


    Maybe… but FAR crazier.


    Oh, and I think you meant Elixir.


    Yep, that was the one… thanks, I couldn’t think of the name.