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Quicksand

The title of this game is a pun that represents both its theme and core mechanic. The game wears its theme lightly, however: a desert whirlpool has dragged the players to a forgotten underground temple (think Indiana Jones) and you need to disable its sand timer traps...


Quicksand is real-time cooperative game for 1-7 players designed by Hjalmar Hach and Lorenzo Silva where you need to keep all the sand timers running, which means flipping the timers before the sand has quickly emptied, but you need to be careful that in your excitement and enthusiasm you don't immediately flip a timer that's just been flipped as that could leave you almost no sand and time left to run...



The game comes with 21 levels, so you have a long way to incrementally progress once you think you've mastered its basic level. The first level just uses two 'slow' (≈60 seconds) and one medium (42 seconds) speed sand timer but the game comes with an additional medium and a fast (27 second) timer, used in more difficult levels, and there's a Quicksand: Danger Mode timer (also 27 seconds) available as an add-on mini-expansion from Horrible Guild that lets you replay all the levels at an even higher level of difficulty.


Quicksand comes with an array of 'gear' tiles. These come in three different colours and with four different shapes on them. The gear tiles are laid out in a track, with the timers placed on the first few tiles. The colours and shapes on the tiles correspond to those on the cards. Players each have a hand of three cards and on your turn you play a card and flip all the timers on 'gears' that match the colour or shape on the card. Flipped tiles are moved on to the next gear tile unless that tile is already occupied, in which case the timer stays where it was. There are also some 'wild' cards that let the player flip and move any one timer of their choice.



There are obvious similarities with Floodgate Games' Kites: Time to Fly and Skyrockets, tho' Quicksand is arguably simpler. It has proven surprisingly addictive with members of the Board's Eye View team, including some that normally run a mile from real-time games. Tho' the rules and mechanics are simple, the fact that the timers run for different amounts of time and you're having to look out for and apply both colour and shape pattern recognition, all in real time, requires a certain mental agility that some players may find challenging. The theme may be dry as the desert sand but Quicksand generates a lot of adrenaline as players often have to think and act fast to avoid a timer running out. And in the excitement it's all too easy to find yourself flipping a timer that's only just been flipped...


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