Qwixx Strategy

How to win Qwixx, the fast, family friendly dice game by Gamewright.

I love Qwixx because it plays fast, the game mechanics are simple and there are just enough decision points involved to make the game interesting. It is especially useful as a tool to teach young gamers like my two kids (aged 5 and 9) about probability and strategy. When does it make sense to cross out a number vs. holding off?

Here are a few tips to help you win at Qwixx. You can also use these as helpful talking points to teach your kids how to improve their Qwixx game and learn some core game concepts along the way.

Lock outs are the key to victory

Sure it's nice to go for high scores, but the key to winning at Qwixx is scoring more points than your opponents. This may seem obvious but it's worth stating because you need to ask yourself

How do I score more points than my opponents?

The real difference maker is lock outs, specifically exclusive lock outs where you can lock out a row but your opponents cannot.

Consider the scenario where you and all other players have exactly 5 X's in the red row. You all have a score of 15 points.

Now imagine you roll a red 6 and a white 6 on your turn.

Now you are the only player to cross out the 12 and the lock, increasing your score to 28.

You just gained a 13 point edge on your opponents!

Magic number 7

Especially for young gamers, it may not be obvious that 7 is a special number on your Qwixx board. 7 is the most likely number to be rolled because with two dice, there are more combinations that will sum up to 7.

  • 1 / 6
  • 2 / 5
  • 3 / 4
  • 4 / 3
  • 5 / 2
  • 6 / 1

Dice roll probability

With 2 dice, you would have a 16.7% chance of rolling a 7. So if you rolled 2 dice 100 times, just over 16 of those are expected to be a 7. Compare that to rolling a 2, which can only be achieved with a 1 and a 1 and has a 2.7% chance of rolling.

In Qwixx, the further from the 7 you get, the less likely you are to roll that number.

2 on the left

Given the above probabilities, generally this means you want to get at least 2 X's on the left side of 7 to maximize your chances of gaining 5 X's in the row (remember you need 5 to lock out the row) and then wait until a 7 is rolled (if you can) before moving on to the right most numbers.

Fast or slow?

One of the key distinctions in one's Qwixx strategy is whether you choose play fast or play slow. You can play more aggresively crossing out numbers as quickly as possible or you can play more conservatively and allow your board to develop at a slower pace.

The fast game

I favor a faster, more aggressive approach for a few reasons. First, as mentioned above, you are more likely (though never guaranteed) to get an exclusive lock out. Second, you can catch conservative opponents off guard by quickly locking out or even ending the game before their boards have a chance to develop.

The downside to the fast game is that you run the risk of taking penalties before your opponents.

The slow game

At the very extreme, the slow game is when you cross out numbers only when you absolutely must or you have an ideal move (when you don't need to skip any numbers in a given row). With the slow game, you can score big so it's a good choice if you are going for highest all time score (my family posts the highest all time Qwixx score board up on our wall for all to see). The risk with the slow game is that it takes you longer to gain points, so another player may speed ahead and lock out a row or end the game before your board has a chance to develop.

2 fast 2 slow

This is an effective hybrid strategy where you choose 2 rows to be fast rows and 2 to be slow rows. Ideally you have one fast ascending (red or yellow) and one fast descending (green or blue). The other rows are slow rows so you have one slow ascending and one slow descending as well.

Choosing which rows are fast and which are slow really just depends on the dice rolls. If you can get one of the three left most numbers in any row (so 1, 2, or 3 on red/yellow or 12, 11, or 10 on green/blue), that might be good to designate as a slow row. On your fast row, you can start as early as the fourth or fifth number (4 or 5 on red/yellow, 9 or 8 on green/blue) and still have decent odds of getting 5 in that row.

Practice makes perfect

That's it for my Qwixx strategy tips. Remember, the best way to learn any game is to play it! Try different strategies and see what works for you. You can play Qwixx right here on this site with your friends no matter where they are in the world or try the real thing.