Family Games: Latest from Passport Game Studios


Working in the mines is hard work, something best suited for a dwarf. They are brave, sturdy, and have a keen eye for treasure. However, with that keen eye comes greed! You and your fellow dwarves have recently discovered a new mine, which is sure to contain treasures untold. Therefore, y’all decide to make a “friendly” wager. You will each explore the mine for five days. As each day ends, you will sell any crystals you uncover. Whoever earned the most money over five days claims the mine for himself. This is Quartz, is a game for 3 to 5 people, ages 14+. It takes approximately one hour to play and retails for $30.

Quartz is a game of press your luck, risk management, set collection, and take that. Each time you stick your hand in the bag to pull out a crystal, you never know what you are going to end up with. To make matters worse, people are going to play cards on your turn to try and sabotage you. Yes, you will have some ability to mitigate the sabotage, but if you start accumulating a mass of wealth on one day, you will become an even bigger target. A lot of people won’t like this, especially casual gamers and children, but for some people this will be right in their wheelhouse. In addition to knowing whom to target and when to target them, there is also a bit of strategy on which gems to save and when to cash them in to maximize the profits from the bonuses.

The components in this game are top-notch. The boards and coins are a nice thick cardboard. I really like that they shaped the mine carts appropriately, instead of just giving players a square board, and the coins have a thematic look to them as well. The crystals themselves are vibrant in color and have a good weight to them. Pairing them with the rest of the glorious artwork really makes the game pop when displayed on a table.

I’m not generally a fan of games with direct conflict/take that mechanisms, and those are some of the main focuses of this game. The game plays quickly, but if you wanted to, you and a friend could target the same player round after round in this game and make their experience miserable. Now, I don’t know, nor do I play with, someone who would do that but the possibility exists. Luckily, the rounds and game both play quickly enough, so it cuts down on some of the potentially negative experience. Another negative for me was that a minimum of three players are needed. My gaming is either 2-player, 4-player, or 6 and unfortunately the 4-player group wouldn’t enjoy this game. I think with the right group of people this could be a fun game and with the quality and price, I wanted to like this, but it was not for me.

Learn more about how to set up and play the game.

When I first got into the world of modern gaming, CV was one of my first experiences. It was like combining Yahtzee and The Game of Life in order to have the most well-lived life at the end. It had everything I wanted in a game — familiar mechanics, fun theme, and great artwork. The only “complaints” I had about the game were that it could only play four people and that I wish there were more cards to choose from. There was an expansion released for it called CV: Gossip, which solved the problem of more cards, but it was a little too mean for my group. However, when I heard about the sequel, CVlizations, being released, I knew I wanted to try it. In CVlizations, you are no longer trying to build the best life, but instead your a tribal leader trying to create the most advanced and prosperous civilization. CVlizations is a game for 2 to 5 players, ages 10+. It takes about 45 minutes to play and retails for $35.

Anyone who has ever played CV before will recognize the familiar symbology and hilarious artwork present within CVlizations too. The game mechanics, however, are vastly different. Instead of rolling dice and pressing your luck, you are practicing hand management. By reading your opponents and reading the board, you hope to gain an advantage over them. I am glad they added an option for a fifth player to this game, but now I find myself wanting a sixth player too. (A gamer is never satisfied, I guess.) As with CV, I did find myself wishing for more cards in this game. Hopefully, there will be an expansion soon that adds some to increase replay value in the game.

What I like best about this game is the theme. There is nothing more satisfying in a game (to me) than to build a glorious civilization that reigns supreme over all the others. Unfortunately, most civilization-building games take hours to play and my group won’t play a game of that length. CVlizations is the perfect length, gives you the same satisfaction of building a civilization, has great artwork, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Highly recommended!

Learn more about how to set up and play the game.

These games were provided to me by Passport Game Studios in exchange for an honest review.

See all the Favorite Games for Family Game Nights reviews here.

Copyright 2017 Stuart Dunn
Your purchase of the resources mentioned here through this author’s Amazon link personally benefits the author of this article.


About Author

Stuart Dunn was born and raised in Mobile, AL and received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Alabama. Stuart primarily does accounting and logistics at the Port of Mobile. He married his wife, Mary Katherine, in 2011 and welcomed their first child into the world in 2013. Stuart reviews all things Catholic including adult books, children’s books, Bible Study series, Catholic Courses, CDs, and DVDs in addition to board games at his blog Stuart’s Study at

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